College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Soothing exhibition on show in city gardens

A collection of photos designed to improve mental health is to go on display at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The series of more than 100 images have been selected as part of a collaboration between the Botanics and Project Soothe, a University initiative to study how pictures affect emotional wellbeing.

The photos have been selected from more than 600 submitted by the public for their calming properties. Landscapes, water, animals, and sky feature prominently.

Public vote

Visitors are invited to vote for the most soothing images and will enter into a draw to win an afternoon tea for four in the Botanics’ restaurant.

A poem commissioned from the former Edinburgh Makar, Ron Butlin, will also be on display.

Visitors can mark on an interactive magnetic map of the Gardens the places they find most soothing.

Improving wellbeing

The ultimate aim of Project Soothe is to develop a bank of calming photographs that can be shared with others to improve mental health and wellbeing.

The free exhibition is located in the Botanics’ John Hope Gateway and runs 7 to 4 October.

Project Soothe is funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.

In our latest research, we found that people's mood improves after viewing just 25 of these photographs. We hope this exhibition will allow people to explore our research in the soothing backdrop of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Dr Stella Chan Project Soothe leader

Related links

RGBE Project Soothe Exhibition

Project Soothe

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Listen to Dr Stella Chan on the BBC