Gather was an annual festival at the University of Edinburgh, running from 2014 to 2017. It celebrated the diverse community and cultures at the University.
Originally inspired by tea, a common yet diverse connection between cultures, the festival was a space to come together, cross boundaries in new ways, showcase global culture, harness new opportunities and skills and connect with our individual or collective identities.
Events were independently run by students, staff, societies, collaborative groups, and members of our local community at The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh University Students’ Association.
Over the three years Gather held more than 180 events which was attended by over 5000 people. The events covered food and drink, music, art, sport, film, language and dance, with the Film Focus celebrating film centred on community and culture and including a range of shorts, animations, documentaries and feature films.
Although Gather mostly attracted students, Film Focus helped to bring together the local community, encouraging people to try new things outside their comfort zone, to learn about other cultures and to be creative.
The first Gather Festival saw more than 2,500 attended 50 events that were held over a week. The Tai Chi Chai Tea event saw nearly 100 people gather to take part in a Tai Chi workshop and learn about its role in Chinese society from the Confucius Institute.
Afterward participants had a cup of chai and learned about the role of masala chai in Indian culture from the Indian Institute.
The festival also had various sporting events where over 200 participants completed to win the Tea Cup. The sports included the CamoMILE relay run, a football world cup and a tug-of-war.
Festival goers had the chance to take part in stargazing workshops held by experts from the Royal Observatory.
The student led cooperative Shrub, ran a swap shop in Guthrie Street allowing people to swap they’re unwanted goods for something more desirable items.
As Gather was about learning about other cultures the language café gave people the chance to try learning a new language in a relaxed setting.
Film Focus included animations shorts created by Edinburgh College of Art alumni and an evening with the filmmaker Mark Cousins, who discussed his project which was based in Northern Iraq.
The 2016 festival saw STV Edinburgh broadcast live from two events, the Bollywood dance workshop and the Edinburgh Soup event.
Festival goers had the chance to learn how to mend and customize their clothes at the Love Your Clothes event held with Changeworks and to swap them at the Shrub pop-up swap shop.
Every Picture Tells a Story was a series of events which included a photography exhibition, a story telling workshop and an anthropology discussion.
In collaboration with Zero Waste Scotland, Film Focus held the screening of The True Cost, which gave an insight into the world of ‘fast fashion’.
The last Gather Festival had six students interns and 40 volunteers to help with 34 events, 12 of which were held off campus.
In 2017 Gather Festival was attended by almost 400 members of the wider community.
The Make Your Mark Workshop was presented by Gather’s lead designer, Edinburgh College of Art student, Yasmin Serrano-Price.
The workshop explored new creative methods and gave participants the opportunity to create their own artwork.
The event Around the World in 80 Pancakes allowed visitors to learn about cultural diversities through pancakes from around globe.
Film Focus saw free film screenings and discussions focusing on the theme of community and culture which were held throughout the city.
The film screenings included BAFTA Scotland award-winning animation, No Place Like Home, by Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Cat Bruce.
The percentage of events run by students increased over the years with 50% of events being student run in 2017.