The Forest collective has pledged to use the sale of its current
premises as a means to transform the organisation. In late May, the
“For Sale” sign over the entrance to the building in Bristo Place was
removed and the Forest was told that a buyer was found for the
building. The sale is not yet complete, sources say the missives
should be finalised soon. Despite this, the Forest is determined to
still provide an arts space in Edinburgh that is free and accessible
While there is a possibility that the Forest may stay at its current
location beyond 31 August, the arts centre has begun the search for a
possible new location. The Forest has not heard from the as yet
unidentified buyer about their intentions towards the building,
Requests to Pricewaterhouse Cooper, Edinburgh University Settlement’s
administrators, to discuss the buyer’s plans for the building have not
been responded to.
In the meantime, the vegetarian cafe, and all events set throughout
the summer, including the award-winning Forest Fringe, will be held as
Harry Giles, the Forest’s Fundraising Officer, said:
“This is an opportunity to run an even more amazing free arts space,
so there’s no better time for people to get involved with The
Forest. The collective welcomes people to help and actively decide
Forest’s future by finding a new premises. This is a chance to
develop new arts projects.”
Ryan Van Winkle, long-term Forest volunteer and Reader in Residence at
the Scottish Poetry Library, said:
“We’ve moved before and thanks to both the financial and moral
generosity of so many people we’re in a great position to find a
suitable and awesome location. While it won’t be the same Forest
we’ve come to know and love, change is an opportunity. It is the
opposite of death.”
People can help support the Forest by volunteering their time or
services to help find a new premises. The organisation is looking for
a suitable vacant location to become the Forest’s new home, as well as
people with the skills and qualifications to evaluate any property.
Once a new location is found, volunteers will be needed to help
refurbish and redecorate it.
Volunteers can also help by joining the Save the Forest campaign team
to raise funds and awareness. For those who don’t have the time but
still want to help the Forest, there is the opportunity to make a
monthly donation by direct debit from as little as £3 per month.
For the latest updates from the Forest, or to get involved, visit the
organisation’s web site at http://www.theforest.org.uk/, or contact
The Forest Cafe, one of the few remaining independent art centres in
the city, has been running a campaign to raise funds to secure its
future since October, when Edinburgh University Settlement (EUS), who
owns The Forest’s premises at 3 Bristo Place, was declared bankrupt
and forced into administration.
So far, over 1,500 people have pledged their support in the Save the
Forest e-petition. The Forest has raised £25,000 towards future rent
and moving costs—- halfway towards the goal of £50,000.
Artists and celebrities who have pledged their support so far include
Stephen Fry, musicians Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, Guardian
theatre journalist Lyn Gardner, playwright Lucy Kirkwood, and artists
Andy Field and Deborah Pearson.
The Forest was originally located in the Grassmarket. It relocated to
its current premises in 2003 after the fire in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
The volunteer-run charity operates an art gallery (Total Kunst), a
theatre, performance and rehearsal spaces, a darkroom, a publishing
house, a swap shop, a record label, a hairdresser, and a thriving
vegetarian cafe. It has inspired like-minded projects and people all
over the world, from Switzerland to Korea.
The Forest is not sponsored by the government, city council or the
arts council. It has been been running a successful alternative
business since it was established in August 2000, thanks to the
commitment of a large and enthusiastic team of volunteers. It is a
registered charity (SC038234), funded mainly by the Forest Cafe, and
by the rental of facilities and the sale of books from Forest
Publishing and music from Forest Records. In keeping with their ethos
that art should be accessible, all of their events and workshops are
The Forest, 3 Bristo Place, Edinburgh
Fundraising Officer / Media Contact
A detailed press pack about the Forest’s work is available at: