The Library of Legends

The Library of Legends was a public art installation by artists John Martin Fulton and Russell McGovern that took place at Potterrow Plaza, Edinburgh from 1-7 November 2023, as part of the To Absent Friends festival's 10th anniversary edition.


About the Library of Legends  

The Library of Legends was a place where people could go to remember and share stories of people they have lost.

It welcomed anyone who wanted to share a story or make art  about someone who has died.

Visitors were also welcome just to relax, reflect and explore  contributions made by previous visitors.   

On hand to help people find their creativity and share their stories were artists John Martin Fulton and Russell McGovern. 

Even if visitors had no experience or confidence in art they helped them find a way to tell the story of their lost loved one if they wanted.


People who have died remain a part of our lives – their stories are our stories.  But sometimes life moves so fast, it can be hard to find opportunities to share those stories.

We wanted to build a Library of Legends to share as many of these stories as we can. Because dead ordinary people live on in the memories and stories we share.

How People Took Part

During the week, passersby were welcome to come into the the library, whether to browse the shelves, or to contribute their own story or art work. Art workshops with community and school groups were also arranged in advance.

Ideas and inspiration were also shared here: Library of Legends activities to try

People were also encouraged to send in artwork online or by post to take part from anywhere in Scotland, and to follow the project on Instagram.

What Happened Next?

John Martin Fulton wrote up his and Russell's reflections at the close of the project. You can read those here.

The physical library has closed, but the Library contents are in the care of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, where they will be looked after and shared in the future.

Drawings by John Martin Fulton and Russell McGovern for the Library of Legends

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