Lockdown activities: Edinburgh’s one hundred year old tapestry studio launches free virtual tours
A fine art studio established more than a century ago has been able to create and share its work with the world despite lockdown, thanks to new virtual tours.
The capital’s internationally-renowned centre for contemporary art, craft and design, Dovecot Studios, was founded in 1912 by the 4th Marquess of Bute, and is now free to attend online.
The tapestry studio’s first home in Scotland was Corstorphine, which was only a small village on the outskirts of Edinburgh at the time.
Today Dovecot’s is based in the city’s historic former Infirmary Street baths and regularly displays the work of world famous artists such as Grayson Perry and Mary Quant.
The studio usually welcomes tens of thousands of visitors per year, eager to see the stunning tapestries and art on display, but lockdown has forced Dovecot’s to close its doors to the public.
Now, in an effort to safeguard the historic studio’s future Dovecot’s has harnessed the latest hi-tech technology to keep virtual visitors flocking in, helping to engage audiences and raise vital funds.
The project is a collaboration with the newly-launched 360 Virtual Studios, which is rolling out a suite of new products and services for galleries, museums, events spaces and retailers – aimed at helping them recover from the pandemic, which has hit those sectors disproportionately hard.
Director at Dovecot Celia Joicey revealed how this shift to virtual viewing has helped them adapt to the pandemic.
She said: “Dovecot normally welcomes tens of thousands of visitors per year, including artists and tapestry partners. Lockdown forced us to shut and look at how to make our work accessible online.
“The collaboration with 360 Virtual Studios highlights what is possible when creative people collaborate to overcome the odds.
“ Instead of despairing about the closure, we’ve brought our building to life in new ways for an international audience at home.”
Ms Joicey, who moved to Dovecot from the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, said the technology has helped the venue to weather the worst of lockdown.
She added: “Crucially, we can record the exact number of visits and collect information about geographical reach, which is extremely helpful when it comes to exploring further international interest.”