A Big Thank You from Us

2023 was a whirlwind for Aberdeen's cultural calendar. We look back at an exciting year.

A Big Thank You from Us
Where Ideas Are Born photography exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery

We look back at a brilliant 2023 Aberdeen cultural calendar

Hey You 👋

Although we said that the December edition of Your Aberdeen would be the last of the year, we wanted to reach out just one more time to extend our heartfelt thanks to you for your support and engagement throughout the year. You’ve been the lifeblood of this newsletter. We flippin’ love it when people tell us they’ve found something new to do in Aberdeen because of the newsletter, or when an event organiser tells us that a few extra people have found their show through our social media channels.

2023 has been a whirlwind of cultural highlights and community events, and sharing these with you has been great fun. In January we took part in Aberdeen Art Gallery’s wonderful Hidden Histories and Shared Stories exhibition. The team at the Gallery did a brilliant job of sharing how stories behind art wor are brought up to date, especially when it comes to race and progress in cultural attitudes.

Hidden Histories and Shared Stories exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery

Spectra is always a great kick off to the year’s big events. It serves as a bridge of light between Christmas and spring. Every years brings us spectacular installations to light up the night and this year was as good as ever. We cant wait for its return in just a few weeks.

The Save the Belmont campaign took huge strides forward throughout the year, but for us, the pivotal moment we knew that this community would not take the closure lying down was a screening of ‘But I’m a Cheerleader” at Aberdeen Uni. Hundreds of people turned up to watch a late ’90s queer cult classic that would never be shown at a big chain cinema.

In March Aberdeen’s creative community came together to show Aberdeen City Council that cuts to the cultural programme would rip the heart out of the city. The council listened to the #SaveCulture campaign and cuts were kept to a minimum. Libraries and sports facilities didn’t fare so well, but there is hope through active campaigns that these can be restored.

Sara Shaarawi performing at Rise Up!

Our highlights of the months included a visit to the Aberdeen Treasure Hub and a screening of the wonderful documentary, From Scotland with Love at what is now called Harbour Film Nights. Look out for their regular screenings. Film fans also got to finally see Jon S Baird’s Tetris, much of which had been filmed in the city back in February 2021.

April saw the first birthday of the Grayhope Bay Centre, a fantastic space that has brought new life to the Torry Battery. Their focus on creativity through their natural surroundings has been brilliant to see evolving. The Worm Gallery hosted Dreams and Dangerous Ideas, a fantastic showcase about Aberdeen’s Women’s Lib movement. It was a real throwback for me (Chris) I half expected to see an old picture of my mum misbehaving in the best kind of way.

Rise Up! returned in May with a brilliant opening night keynote from Yahya Barry followed by a cabaret featuring poetry, comedy and dance. A particular highlight was Sara Shaarawi performing an excerpt from her play Sister Radio. As big fans of photography, it was great to see Where Ideas Are Born at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Some of the best portrait work that’s been on display in the city-truly remarkable images with stories to match.

The Naked Emperor by Edward von Lõngus

June meant the return of Nuart, and this year was an all-time classic with work from Tamara Alves, SNIK, Thiago Mazza, Murmure, Manolo Mesa and Nespoon some of the highlights. It’s always great fun to see these brilliant artists at work, transforming boring walls into tremendous works of art that again had the city captivated. This year we had the bonus of the Hello Mr Police Officer exhibition at The Print Room, as well as the Estonian visitors’ humour-filled art on city walls. The same weekend saw the launch of the Gray’s Degree Show. It was hugely popular as always and just as in every year, we were left astounded by the talent and creativity on display.

With trips to the central belt to see the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh and the amazing Banksy exhibition in Glasgow, we neglected Aberdeen a little in the summer, except for some live music, seeing The Little Kicks at The Lemon Tree. Those guys always put on a great show.

After a summer break, the events scene exploded back to life with fantastic shows from Craig Fischer, Carla Smith and Newton Errata in quick succession. Alongside them, the Wayword Festival’s lineup of poets, novelists, artists and other creatives captivated the imagination with readings, performances, workshops and discussion panels. Dough and Co opened on Belmont Street bringing doughnut culture to its pink-hued pinnacle and the wonderful HOURS returned showing off a new collaboration with Aberdeen Performing Arts and shining a light on the local Hip Hop scene.

Cardboard Robots by Beth Edgar at Gray’s Degree Show

Wry smiles were quickly replaced by appreciative nods as Abdulrazaq Awofeso presented The Cock, the sixth instalment of New Aberdeen Bestiary. Mae Diansangu launched Symphony in Grey, a poetic exhibition at The Music Hall. Art Pints returned to The Lemon Tree, giving the city’s creatives the chance to get together and compare notes about the sector and Citymoves Dance Agency brought their amazing DanceLive festival programme back to the city.

SoundFestival saw another successful year, returning with a diverse offering of new music spanning classical, jazz, electroacoustic and sound art. Also in the mix were a trip to the Courtyard Artspace to enjoy some fantastic pottery from Gray’s School or Art graduates and the premiere of Nights, a movie shot and produced right here in Aberdeen.

A full festive card of events including the return of SNUG at The Anatomy Rooms, Joyce Davies’ Da Broken Parts at The Print Room and the MAK-KIN Open Studios event at Deemouth Artist Studios took us through to the end of another amazing year in the city. Who says nothing ever happens in Aberdeen?

Craig Fisher’s Popcorn Octopus show at The Print Room

This year we made the difficult decision to pause posting to Twitter…and in doing so left behind nearly 19,000 followers. We’re sorry about that. We couldn’t continue to be part of a community where the big boss was actively promoting racist and antisemitic content (and yes…we’ve got our eye on you too Substack). If he sells up and moves on, we’ll be back to help rebuild what was once an amazing online space. In the meantime, you can find us on Threads, Facebook, Instagram and Mastodon.

Looking towards 2024, we’re brimming over with excitement! Aberdeen’s cultural calendar promises to be richer and more diverse than ever. We hope you continue this journey with us. Your enthusiasm and support are the pillars of our endeavour to highlight Aberdeen’s cultural treasures. Whether you’re seeking weekend inspiration or a deep dive into our city’s cultural offerings, we’re here to deliver the best of Aberdeen to you

We’ve share a handful of events taking place in January, but if you are hosting an event in the weeks ahead, reply to this email letting us know what we’ve missed. We’ll share with our communities on Threads, Telegram, Facebook, Mastodon and Instagram, and send them your way.

Chris & Kevin 💛

What’s on in January

Martin Bell presents COLLECTION

Until 12 Jan
Arcade Gallery

Martin Bell is shaking up the scene at Arkade Gallery with COLLECTION, his unique take on record covers, posters, and book pages. With just under 100 works, his exhibition showcases a diverse range of styles and qualities, all running until January 12th.

This collection is a playful reimagining of Bell’s personal items, creating art that’s both engaging and laid-back. Arkade Gallery sets the perfect scene for this — it’s a grassroots venue that’s all about the art, without any airs and graces.

Swing by and immerse yourself in this quirky and relaxed art display. It’s an unpretentious spot to enjoy some unconventional art that’s created with passion but doesn’t take itself too seriously.


Every Friday
Anatomy Rooms

SNUG offers a wonderful opportunity to spark your creativity during the colder months in a comfortable and inviting setting. It’s an ideal place to chill out and delve into your artistic pursuits.

Every Friday, from 10 am to 5.30 pm throughout the winter season, you’re welcome to access to art materials, engage in assorted activities and enjoy complimentary hot beverages. An ideal haven if you’re looking for a artistic outlet. Relax, unwind, and unleash your creativity!

Sabotage Hogmanay

Sun 31 Dec

Welcome in the new year with the Sabotage Hogmanay celebration at Spin!

This party isn’t just about fun-it supports a great cause, with all profits going to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

A spectacular night of love, respect, and vibrant queer spirit with four fantastic DJs: Thought Criminal, Dama Ged, Just Beth, and Inner Saboteur.

Speakin’ Weird

Wed 10 Jan

Speakin’ Weird’s monthly spoken word open mic at Spin is a celebration of community and creativity.

Hosted by Orla Kelly, with special guest Rachael Beedie, this gathering is a cornerstone for Aberdeen’s word enthusiasts. Bring your poems, stories, and inspiration to share in an electric environment with loads of camaraderie and support.

It’s the perfect platform to express yourself, find inspiration, and bond with like-minded individuals over the power of words. Join in, share, and be inspired!

Polish Scottish Mini Festival 2024

From 19 Jan
Venues Across the city

The Polish Scottish Mini Festival 2024, kicking off on 19th January across Aberdeen, is a vibrant celebration of Polish and Scottish cultures.

Now in its seventh year, the festival weaves a rich tapestry of music, dance, and tantalising flavours from both countries.

Embrace the cultural exchange between Poland and Scotland, and be part of a cultural extravaganza that brings two distinct heritages together in a beautiful blend!

We want to thank you again for being an integral part of our community. Your passion for Aberdeen’s culture and events drives us forward. Here’s to 2024 being filled with joy, creativity, and an abundance of cultural experiences!

Wishing you a Happy New Year. We’ll drop back in your inbox again as we head into February.

K&C xx