This project was produced during my time as a Talbot Rice Resident in Edinburgh from 2020-2022.
The body of work cumulated into an exhibition looking at HIV/AIDS histories specific to Edinburgh through working with the Lothian Health Services Archive and meeting local residents hearing their stories of both greif and joy. The final exhibition contained archival footage, interviews and printed matter within an installation.
A big part of this project was meeting Maggie McKeown who linked me up with her wider community and taught me about the activism that was taking place in the city at this time when folk were going through this collective trauma. Special thanks to Maggie McKeown, Michael Tonner, Ian Van Tillo, Ally Van Tillo & Dr Roy Robertson for their contributions to the oral history element. And to Kristina Glitters for access to her archival footage of the legendary club night JOY.
Eothen Stearn brings together her research into the University’s Lothian Heath Services Archive and presents the first in an ongoing series of interviews she is conducting with key figures that lived through the epidemic in Edinburgh – dubbed the AIDS capital of Europe in the 1980s. An AIDS activist, DJs and a GP and Professor of Addiction Medicine recount their specific adjacency to the crisis, recalling moments of grief, kinship, resilience and solidarity. Alongside these first-hand accounts, Stearn weaves her own screen-prints, materials from the archive and original footage from JOY – a legendary Edinburgh club night that united marginalised communities in reaction to the discriminatory Section 28 (2A) instated by the Thatcher government to prohibit the "promotion of homosexuality" by local authorities.
Feel my love, 00:12:43
Warp & weft: remembering Edinburgh's HIV/AIDS histories. Duration *2 hr 15 mins reel
Interview one Dr Roy Robertson 00:00:00 - 1:08:53
Interview two Michael Tonner and Maggie Mckeown 1:08:53 - 1:52:11
Interview three Ian Van Tillo 1:52:11 - 2:24:31