The programme for Edinburgh Art Festival’s 18th edition has been announced and will include three major commissions, the Associate Artist programme, Platform: 2022, the festival’s annual showcase of early career visual artists, and thirty-five exhibitions across its partner galleries. 

A city-wide celebration of the very best in visual art, the festival brings together the capital’s leading galleries, museums and established spaces. From photography documenting Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe to carnival-inspired performance art, the programme features international artists alongside exciting new voices from Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond. 

The festival’s Commissions programme including their Associate Artist programme supports renowned artists to create ambitious new work. Marking the 200th anniversary of the Union Canal, the programme takes inspiration from ‘The Wave of Translation’ – a scientific phenomenon discovered in Edinburgh. 

Edinburgh Art Festival at the Union Canal Flotilla Day, May 2022. Photo Julie Howden

In 1834, engineer John Scott Russell watched as a horse-drawn canal boat came to a stop at Hermiston on the Union Canal. This abrupt stop created a single wave which continued along the waterway holding its shape and speed. Russell’s recording and research of this phenomenon influenced the development of modern fibre optic technology. He described the wave as his ‘first chance encounter with that singular and beautiful phenomenon which I have called the Wave of Translation’. 

The programmes unfold along the Union Canal, from the Lochrin Basin to Wester Hailes. In collaboration with local residents and WHALE Arts, Edinburgh Art Festival has been supporting new opportunities for art creation and learning since 2019. 

For the festival, a major commission with a group of residents from Wester Hailes and local surrounding areas will be presented. The Community Wellbeing Collective present Watch this Space – a space for all to develop together and to experience what community wellbeing is and could be.

Throughout the festival the space will host activities and gatherings led by C.W.C. members, alongside weekend anchor events by invited guests expanding upon the context of community wellbeing, discussing its wider politics in relation to: democratising social care, healing through creativity, who wellbeing is for in an unequal world and collectively imagining the future of community. Anchor events by Care and Support Workers ORGANISE!, Grass Roots Remedies, Jess Haygarth, The Spit it Out Project, and more. 

The activity will take place in Westside Plaza and online at (live from 28 July), including short films capturing the essence of the project presented at the French Institute for Scotland and online. Follow @communitywellbeingcollective on Instagram for more. 

Janice Parker, research image for Edinburgh Art Festival 2022. Credit Sally Jubb Photography

Jeanne van Heeswijk – a renowned a visual artist who initiated the project – will also present this year’s Keynote Lecture – in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland and British Council Scotland – as a highlight of the festival’s opening weekend. (The commission is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands).

Jane Connarty, Programme Manager at Edinburgh Art Festival, said: “As Edinburgh marks 75 years of festival culture, we are proud to collaborate with our partners across the city to present the 18th edition of Edinburgh Art Festival, and are delighted to welcome to the city our new Director, Kim McAleese.

“A celebration of the unique ecology of visual arts in our city, our 2022 programme brings together independent galleries, world class collections, and production spaces across the city to present the work of more than 100 artists from around the world.

“The 2022 Commissions Programme invites artists and audiences to explore the site and histories of the Union Canal and includes two artists projects in Wester Hailes on the west of the city – both developed from close working and co-production with local residents.” 

 Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland said: “The Edinburgh Art Festival is a highlight of Scotland’s cultural calendar and always a joy to experience. This year is no exception with the festival bringing together an amazing array of art and artists in a really rich and dynamic programme.

“We’re especially excited to see the festival working with communities in Wester Hailes to create new work celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Union Canal. It’s a really tremendous opportunity for people to discover more about the canal’s histories and to re-imagine its future.

“We wish all the artists and partners well as they begin the final countdown to the festival and we look forward to exploring the great range of exhibitions and events taking place across the city this summer”.

Edinburgh Art Festival Art Buds workshops at Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden, 2019. Credit- Sally Jubb Photography

Joan Parr, Service Director for Culture and Wellbeing at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I’m very excited about this year’s programme and look forward to the full return of artists from all over Scotland and the world showcasing their work in Edinburgh’s art galleries and unusual exhibition spaces. The Capital has a long history of promoting the value of culture and as we mark the 75th year of our August Festival’s, the EAF’s programme of 34 exhibitions will celebrate contemporary art across our ancient city.

“I’m delighted the Council is yet again able to support this year’s innovative festival. We’re also proud to host two exhibitions in our City Art Centre. With National Treasure: The Scottish Modern Arts Association, visitors can discover the story of this pioneering 20th century organisation and the outstanding collection it created. And Will Maclean: Points of Departure, provides a fresh insight into one of the most outstanding artists of his generation with many pieces going on public display for the first time.”

For a full programme and more information, please visit or follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @EdArtFest #EdArtFest 

Opening image – Barbara Hepworth at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern 2), exhibition view. Credit_ Neil Hanna. Courtesy of National Galleries of Scotland