Festivals, Cultural and City Events

Festival Fringe - Sustainability Hub

Within the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Kerry Cheek, Projects Coordinator of Sustainability & Festivals, has been working hard to coordinate the Sustainability Hub at this year's Festival Fringe. We speak to her, with just over a week to go before opening, about the department's ambitious quest to make the Festival Fringe a more sustainable place for everyone involved.

Sustainability Hub Logo
This is the first year the University of Edinburgh has had a Sustainability Hub at the University of Edinburgh. Can you describe the Hub’s main purpose and motivations for its Festival Fringe debut?

"The University is dedicated to promoting social responsibility and sustainability throughout the year, and there is no reason that the festival season should be any different! For the 2019 Fringe, the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS) has created an online platform, coordinated sustainability events, and provided festival tenant support.

The festival environment is tons of fun, but can also consume excessive energy and create waste. To help counter this, one of the things we are most proud of in this year’s Festival is the new Sustainability Hub. This will be a space dedicated to supporting the community and the sustainability of the Fringe, hosted by a range of local organisations and our Department throughout August."


What events are you most excited about that are open and available for anyone to drop by and get involved with?

"It’s too hard to pick just one! The Hub is a completely new project and we have a range of activities and events planned – check the full schedule at www.edin.ac/festival.

As a shameless plug, I will say that every Thursday throughout the Festival, SRS will be hosting the Hub. This would be a great time for anyone to drop by and find out more about the University, our department, festival sustainability… you name it!"


Who are you hoping to engage with these projects?

"Everybody, it just depends on the day!

Some hosts, such as the Greenhouse Initiative, will be running events for Fringe performers and participants. Others, such as Fringe of Colour and Somewhere at the Fringe, are open to everybody but looking to support specific communities in the Festival.

SHRUB Coop and Festivals Edinburgh will be hosting a day each geared towards the public, where everyone is welcome. We will also have a sustainable shopping weekend from 16-18 August, which would be a great time to drop by and sample local products and fair trade goods."


“One of the great things about the Fringe is all the amazing street food on offer! Many vendors will let you use your own tupperwear and water bottles, which is an effective way to avoid the single-use products that are used to serve takeaway food. Search #trashlesstakeaway on Instagram to be inspired by how other people are collecting different types of food without any waste, or show off your own ideas!”

James ConwayFestival Sustainability & Plastics Assistant

What are the concepts behind the physical design of the Hub?

"While designing the Hub, we considered the full lifespan of each product. The tables are 100% recycled plastic, the storage container is rented, and decorations are largely sourced from the Edinburgh College of Art’s Free-Use Hub.

The planters in the Hub offered a particularly special collaboration opportunity. The University’s Landscaping and Maintenance Teams were able to build them are from recycled wood pallets, and will fill each with herbs and plants to attract local pollinators. Some of the soil is even sourced from coffee grounds recycled in our cafes! After the festival, these plants will be rehomed elsewhere in the University."


When and where can people come and find the Sustainability Hub?

"The Sustainability Hub will be in the Bayes Centre Courtyard, tucked right in the middle of the main Festival grounds along with the Informatics Pavilion. It will be open from 1 - 23 of August, 11am – 6pm daily. Come along and find out more!"


2019 Festival Sustainability Hub

Kerry Cheek

SRS Department Logo