Fun Palaces Scotland

“It’s about making culture, not consuming it”

Participant in Inverness Culture For All Workshop 2017

Fun Palaces celebrates culture (arts, sciences, heritage, making, sports, hidden talents and secret skills) that are led-locally by communities, free, accessible and for everyone – young people, adults, all!

Get involved with this year’s Fun Palace weekend, 5 and 6 October 2019! Anyone can get stuck in, with events big and small that celebrating the expertise already in your community, sharing skills and passions, a meal, running a small taster, a new collaboration or even try something totally new and learn together*

2019 Fun Palaces

There’s still time to get involved with the Fun Palaces weekend in 2019! Already there are plans from Stornoway to Culloden – check out our map to see if there’s any nearby to get involved with here or make your own!

We’re running our last workshops in September, including an online livestream

Online Livestream Tuesday 10 September 16.30 – 17.300 (On the Fun Places Scotland page, event here)

Orkney Wednesday 11 September 15.30 – 16.30 (Orkney Library, reserve here)

Aberdeen Thursday 12 September 10.30 – 12.00 (Aberdeen Science Centre, reserve here)

Online Livestream Monday 16 September 18.30 – 19.30 (On the Fun Places Scotland page, event here)

Dundee Monday 30 September 10.00 – 13.00 (Dundee Science Centre, part of a wider event, more info here)

If you have any community-led free activities or ideas, never to late to get involved and add it to the map – some of our best fun palaces are planned even the week just before. If you can’t make a meeting, please feel free to contact the Fun Palaces Scotland Ambassador Lewis Hou on

If you’d like other ideas, read below, or join the Fun Palace Scotland  facebook group and say hello.

Scottish Previous Fun Palaces

Some of brilliant Fun Palaces events from recent years include:

  • Sharing gaelic, science of microbrewing, yoga, banana pianos, knitting, tattoo art and cartoon drawing across Fife libraries and galleries! (2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Sharing some new moves with a deaf-accessible dance class and apple-pressing at Macroberts Arts (2018)
  • Releasing inner cave people exploring prehistoric art in Campbeltown Museum. (2017)
  • Warm welcoming to New Scots seeking asylum organised by New Scots who have found refuge in Edinburgh (2017)
  • Getting creative with art workshops at WHALE arts, Westerhailes (2017, 2015, 2014)
  • Get involved in everything from 3D printing & guitar playing in Orkney Library (2018)
  • A pop-up shopping centre dance hall & a “Little Shop of Memory” in Leith celebrating memories of entertainment along with free science and art activities linked with research in the shopping centre with Leith Labs (2018, 2017, 2016, 2015)
  • Immerse yourself in virtual reality and your brain at Bishopbriggs library! (2018)
  • A chance to become a spy and make Halloween themed art in Auchinleck Library, East Ayrshire (2017, 2018)
  • University of Edinburgh opening up its courtyards to choirs, maths-inspired sculpture making, clowning and celebrating the Kelpies in the Yard (2015)
  • Directing animation pieces at Tramways Art Space, Glasgow, as part of the Big Draw (2017)
  • Exploring the skies, biology tattoos, red squirrels or canine science whilst walking yourdog in the Midlothian Science Festival (2017, 2018)
  • Discovering the science of birds, robotics, coding and music at the Biggar Science Festival, East Lanarkshire (2017)
  • Exploring tie-die and arts with Blueprint100 in Dumfries (2018)
  • Laughing yourself silly with theatre, clowning and science with Learn Differently Theatre, Lochgelly,Fife (2017)
  • A Curiosity Forest with activities exploring squirrels, storytelling and research as part of the Scotland-wide Explorathon (2015, 2016, photos here)
  • A Mad Hatters Tea Party as part of Wigtown Book Festival (2015)
  • Reminisce around the unique brass bands heritage in West Lothian (2018)
  • A community “Science Ceilidh” with science-themed dances and performances (2015)

Fun Palaces Scotland 2017 Summary 

Overall across the world, in 2017 there were over 362 Fun Palaces, with 13,750 Makers and 126,000 Participants. You can see the full evaluation here. Read the Scotland-specific report here, or download it here.

Scotland Ambassador

Working to support grassroots cultural participation in Scotland year-round, Fun Palaces Ambassador Lewis Hou was appointed in November 2016 as part of a UK wide three-year action research project  on cultural democracy undertaking a residency with Voluntary Arts Scotland. With a background specifically in science-art engagement, he is particularly interested in bridging everyday creativity in communities with universities, institutions, arts organisations and art or science festivals (including the “public engagement”, “outreach” and “diversity” agendas) in a way that can continue to empower the community themselves. This includes projects such as Leith Labs residency, evaluating microfunding for communities, having conversations about best practice and challenges with grassroots groups as well as hosting talks and workshops to share learnings and challenge policy and practice.

You can hear him discuss his role here as a Pecha Kucha in Dunfermline here. If you would like support to run a grassroots event in Scotland, host a workshop or hear more about his work, please do get in touch directly by email ( or twitter. 

Get involved

If you’re interested in making your own Fun Palace or finding out more, check out the resources, toolkits and map on the rest of the website, feel free to join the Fun Palaces Scotland specific facebook group or connect on twitter, and get in touch with Lewis for a chat.


*Why are Fun Palaces not the same as a festival? 

*Whilst Fun Palaces can share many elements of festivals/open days, or public engagement/outreach events, the key differences lies in striving for more cultural democracy, including: 

  1. The Participation: Encouraging as much active participation and making, rather than having an “audience” 
  2. The Ownership: Not relying on external expertise or resources but unearthing that present locally/in the room
  3. The Power: The decision making is shared as equally as possible, not being curated but co-curated where possible – even encouraging people to think beyond their professional practice & share their other interests.   

That is not to say any of these concepts – e.g. being an audience or external experts – are a negative thing, but rather saying there may not be enough emphasis on the importance of active participation or celebration of expertise that is local (e.g. a mechanic sharing some of his understanding of the engineering behind cars, or passion for knitting or rugby)