Edinburgh Local

Curious Edinburgh photo presented to US President

A photo taken by a University of Edinburgh staff member has made it to the White House. The photo is of a mural that is part of the BLM Mural Trail.

The Curious Edinburgh app, created by Niki Vermeulen, Senior Lecturer in History and Sociology of Science, allows users to complete virtual walking tours across Edinburgh, sharing stories from the city’s colourful history.

One such tour is the BLM Mural Trail, which was created in response to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests happening across the world last year. The trail was curated by Creative Producer Wezi Mhura, who wanted to provide a platform for creatives of Black and Asian heritage to celebrate their work. More than 30 artworks – in a wide variety of formats and genres – were created by Scottish-based artists, writers and musicians and installed across Scotland.

The mural can be found in Gilmore Place. Photo taken by Melissa Highton.
The mural can be found in Gilmore Place. Photo taken by Melissa Highton.

Although not all artworks are still available, through the Curious Edinburgh app, the entire Edinburgh trail of 17 installations can still be viewed virtually. A few longer-term works are still in place including a mural painted of Frederick Douglass in Gilmore Place. A prominent abolitionist, Douglass campaigned for social reform both in Edinburgh and the United States.

The image was painted by local artist Ross Blair to mark one of the places Douglass stayed whilst in Edinburgh.

Earlier this month, a photograph capturing this mural was presented by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to President Joe Biden when he visited the UK. The Bidens have a strong interest in the life of Frederick Douglass. The original photograph was taken by Melissa Highton, Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services and Assistant Principal for Online Learning, and shared on Wikipedia.

You can find out more about the app on the Curious Edinburgh website.

A new BLM Trail across Scotland is planned for October 2021. You can find out more about it on their website.