This was an eclectic mix of art, music, performance and installation – all investigating, challenging, confronting or celebrating death. The festival investigated why we often find it difficult to talk about death in our society, and how art and artists can help.


Originally conceived as a tribute to artist, performer and Director of Mischief La-Bas, Ian Smith, who took his own life in 2014 after suffering with clinical depression, this was an expanded version of the festival that took place in Glasgow in 2015. The aim was to celebrate death, loved ones, art and life.


The festival happened at Summerhall, Edinburgh from 28 October – 27 November and included exhibitions of work by Ian Smith, Ross Fraser McLean, Graeme Wilcox and Colin Gray.  Performances over the opening weekend, 28 – 30 October included Ugly Chief by Victoria Melody, Privates by FMIN, Bright Colours Only by Pauline Goldsmith and Immortal by Andrew Tibbles.  There was also a Day of the Dead party with Our Ladies of Sorrow presented by Nothing Ever Happens Here…, a Death Café, and a shrine-making workshop.

Festival of Ian Smith: A Celebration of Death was supported by Creative Scotland, Luminate, the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care and Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief.

Full programme can be found at the Summerhall website.