Aberdeen (Things to do), Event Reviews

Exploring local Arts & Culture: Look Again Festival, Etsy Showcase & Gray’s Art Show 2018

The events and arts & culture scene in Aberdeen has really improved lately… there are so many things to do and so much creative talent to explore locally. I’ve got to say I absolutely love it recently!
Let’s take this weekend for example… As well as the Aberdeen Highland Games which I’ve heard was great (unfortunately I missed this one) there were 3 fantastic arts events that I attended all in the one day… What an amazing day it was!

• Look Again Festival

• Etsy Aberdeen Summer Showcase

• Grays school of Art Degree Show

Look Again is a visual art and design festival showcasing some amazing talent that encourages you to “be a tourist in your own city”. This is a concept which seems to be growing in popularity recently and is one I am fully on board with… Perhaps because I can’t afford to be a tourist elsewhere (ha!) and simply because it’s great fun to explore and support your local area.

This years festival theme was ‘serious play’ celebrating the ‘year of young people’ in Scotland.

Look Again Festival Aberdeen 2018

Look Again Festival

I attended the festival with my 9 year old son and we would definitely say it was a fun family activity.

We liked the little pink house in the Marischal Quad – I just wanted to make it full size and move right in! Mackies were offering a free special gingerbread ice cream for festival goers – we’re not fans of gingerbread so we opted out of this one but I’m sure it was lovely if that’s a flavour you enjoy!

Look Again Festival Aberdeen 2018 Pink house Look Again Festival Aberdeen 2018 Marischal quad

The next part we explored was the Pop-up Playschemes by The City of Play and the Wonder Chamber which both had a range of interactive play items which my son enjoyed playing with. It would be amazing if different pop up play areas appeared on a regular basis… Kids can get a little bored of the same play parks all the time and this would certainly encourage more creative play.

Look Again Festival Aberdeen 2018 pop up play

Wonder Chamber (by Ellie Turner) aims to highlight different ways to stimulate your senses through play which is of particular importance to individuals with Autism (but fun for all kids too!) so I was really keen to see what this part of the festival was like. My son really enjoyed himself creating his own ways to play with the materials which all had different textures and sounds etc.

Look Again Festival Aberdeen 2018 wonder chamber

The roof garden on top of the St Nicholas Centre featured a range of flags with interesting quotes from people within Aberdeen… I loved this one: 

“I think Aberdeen is a city full of potential for greatness”

Look Again Festival Aberdeen 2018

Etsy Aberdeen Summer Showcase

As part of the festival local makers and artists gathered together for the Etsy Aberdeen Summer Showcase to promote and sell their fantastic work. Aberdeen has some really talented people and I love to shop local and homemade. The showcase was inside the St. Nicholas shopping centre which was a great location and it was decorated really well, it looked great considering it had previously been an empty shop unit – well done to those involved as I’m sure it took a lot of time to create.

Etsy Aberdeen Summer Showcase 2018

I didn’t want to spend too much money so we only bought two items at the market but there was a wide range of lovely items on offer. My son loved the illustrated postcards from Madeleine Edwards so I got him his favourite one, this cool seagull dude which he’s stuck up on his bedroom wall now. My favourite stall was Rose-Tea and Rabbit Jewellery, so many beautiful pieces of vintage style jewellery so I took my time deciding which one I would go for. I opted for the skull ring which I love and I’m sure I will be purchasing more from them again in the future!

Etsy Aberdeen Summer Showcase 2018 new vintage ringEtsy Aberdeen Summer Showcase 2018 shop local

If you can shop local and support small businesses in your next purchases you absolutely should do.

 Gray’s School of Art – Degree Show

Lastly, on our day of exploring local art, we headed up to Gray’s School of Art for their degree show displaying final year students art work. This show is held at the end of each academic year however I have never attended before but with all the local art surrounding us this weekend I fell fully into the atmosphere and wanted to see even more!

Grays school of art degree show 2018

I must admit my son was a little reluctant at first, he thought it would be a little dull just looking at paintings on the wall etc. However once we got there he really enjoyed it and we are already planning to go back again next year. The art work on display includes contemporary art, paintings, fashion, photography and more so something for everyone and the variety keeps things interesting. Now I am going to admit I don’t really know much about art so at times I was looking at some pieces and having NO idea what the ‘message’ was meant to be. It was nice that there was information about each piece and some of the students were there too but yeah I would say there was art there that I didn’t ‘get’. That being said other pieces were amazing, beautiful, interesting and even those ones that I didn’t understand or were not my kind of thing were worth looking at and I could see the students behind each one were talented.

Grays school of art degree show 2018Grays school of art degree show 2018

Well done to all the students involved in the 2018 degree show and happy graduation! The show is open to the public until June 24th so if you get the chance before then it is definitely worth visiting.

Grays school of art degree show 2018

Three fantastic creative events and all were free and accessible to everyone…. That’s my kind of event! Well done Aberdeen, you did good this weekend! 💕

Aberdeen Festivals

You can read about more of our exploring the local area here or our review of another fun festival: Enjoy Music Festival.

3 thoughts on “Exploring local Arts & Culture: Look Again Festival, Etsy Showcase & Gray’s Art Show 2018”

  1. Looks like you had a great time at these events! I wish there were more things like this close to home for me to visit on weekends I’d love to go to them! That Wonder Chamber looks great, I work with children so I know how much they’d love something like that.

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com


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