PERIPHERI: tending to corners
Elise Ashby & Stephanie Whitelaw

Further expanding upon their ‘Peripheri’ project (May 2021), artists Elise Ashby and Stephanie Whitelaw have developed a walking route that connects a series of peripheral places in Portobello. The project explores the ecology of place, turning our attention to what grows within unmanaged places.

The places being connected through walking and mapping are unmanaged sites on edge lines; which are allowing for new possibilities. The artists are interested in perceiving these sites as wild, peripheral gardens within our cities, with the potential to awaken dormant possibilities, as well as stimulating a collective approach to caring for damaged spaces within cities.

Through sensory engagement within each site, peripheri invites us to look towards what is possible in the inbetween, bringing into focus the agency of non-human life.

Over the course of six months, the four sites will be joined together through the act of walking and sensory mapping of the site. The mapping will involve sensory drawing and the individual and collective naming of each place.

Walking through the unfolding of the seasons, participants will be invited to return to each site, noting the changes that have taken place. Over the second half of the project, repeating the walk in reverse, peripheri opens up a dialogue with the passing of time in a specific landscape. With a landscape that is subject to alteration, the project will remain flexible to the changes that may occur over time to these specific sites.

Over the course of the project, the artists will archive encounters with carefully considered drawing materials, using handmade and repurposed paper, and drawing with sustainably sourced inks and charcoals, as well as creating works using materials found on site. The archived responses will form a collective map that connects the peripheral places.

The group will be invited to explore a practise which acknowledges its active participation in a landscape, ecosystem, and community. Speaking to the larger global concerns of climate change and holding space for discussion surrounding the local-global impacts we are facing.

It is planned that the project will culminate with a small exhibition in Spring 2022, at a Portobello location.


As a collective, Elise Ashby & Stephanie Whitelaw, focus on ecological themes, in particular care for liminal spaces within communities and how they can activate dormant possibilities. Their practice is led by care, developing site responsive works that seek to support the agency of living life forms through reciprocal walking.

Elise Ashby is interested in the fundamentals of drawing – the interaction of materials leaving traces of activity and how this echoes the material relationship between our sensory bodies and our environment; She is interested in how drawing can explore the moral questions we encounter on the basis of existing materially now and historically.

Stephanie Whitelaw cultivates through her art practice personal engagements with local landscapes, both physical and digital, encouraging a deeper sense of understanding. Exploring themes of reciprocity, her work explores our dialogue with nature in both urban and rural contexts, through walking, site-responsive art and object making.


The route links together four sites on the edge of Portobello, with a series of 6 monthly events taking place (one per month, third Sunday):

Sundays, 2-4pm
Nov 21st, Dec 19th, Jan 16th, Feb 20th, Mar 20th, Apr 17th

Followed by collating of drawings and responses
May 15th

The first session (Sun, Nov 21st, 2-4pm) starts at the vacant/car dealer site, where Fishwives Causeway (from Portobello High St) meets Sir Harry Lauder Road.

Listening and responding to each place; activities will involve sensory drawing and archiving of plants and other life forms. Followed by walk to Location 2 (A1 Industrial site, accesssed via Stanley Street).

Participants will be invited to care for the places we walk through litter picking, with each month rotating responsibility.

We will provide: equipment for clearing and gloves for handling materials
Max participants: 10 people

*Some of the sites involve uneven ground/steps. We therefore ask that you are aware of these aspects before signing up.*

Please email Stephanie & Elise to sign up and for any more information concerning the project.

Also view the project blog page here 

Peripheri is supported by Paths for All: Smarter Choices Smarter Places fund & Hope Scott Trust; part of Art Walk Projects 'Landscapes for Change' 21/22 programme.

Photographs: Elise Ashby & Stephanie Whitelaw