Back at the Edinburgh International Book Festival Press Launch in June guests were introduced to the Citizen project which began in December 2018 and has led to this coming together of participants and completed projects as part of the We Are All Citizens strand at the festival this year. Tonight is the culmination of months of work and gives residents from some of Edinburgh’s communities the opportunity to share with an audience their feelings on community, identity and what makes an Edinburgh citizen today.

Writers in residence Claire Askew and Eleanor Thom have led the project working in schools and community groups across Edinburgh and giving individuals a voice as part of the diverse city in which we live.

Tonight’s audience are treated to imaginative writing from Broughton High School who explored their creativity through art and books, poetry recitations, spoken word performances, videography and memories of people and places that perhaps resonated most with those in the Spiegeltent this evening. The participants span the generations and come with their own experiences of Edinburgh and of the world.

It feels like an important project. Often the arts are mistakenly seen as something which are only for the middle classes, those with the privilege to access them. Citizen aims to widen access to the arts and show people that anyone can use this medium to voice how they feel and to express their opinions, their thoughts, their beliefs. By bringing everyone to Charlotte Square Gardens, in an event which is part of the ‘pay what you can’ initiative, festival organisers are further promoting that the Book Festival is for everyone.