Arts Press is the blogsite of the UK-based freelance arts journalist and writer Tim Cornwell.

In August  2019, I was covering the Edinburgh festivals, reviewing 65 theatre shows for The Scotsman and filing arts news coverage for the Sunday Times.  I also wrote features and reviews for four other established web publications.

I rarely post on this Arts Press site.    Any  posts will have no second editor’s eye, so in the event of inaccuracies or other comments please contact me.

Year round I write on visual arts to The Art Newspaper, in London,  and on Scottish art stories for the Sunday Times in Scotland.    I review London theatre for The Arts Desk and contribute articles, mostly on Scottish art, to the Art UK website.

Current projects include editing the magazine for the inaugural 2020 Open Art Fair in Kensington.   I am studying the history and fabrication of mosaics at the wonderful London School of Mosaic, from an interest sharpened after visiting several major mosaic sites and museums around the Mediterranean.

My other specialist area beside the Scottish art scene is the visual art of the Middle East region, but my writing has ranged well beyond this in a long career.  I have reported in recent years from the Kochi and Venice Biennales, on exhibitions and art fairs in India, South Africa, and Iran, from Art Dubai,  the Beirut Art Fair, and the Tunisian art event Jaou Tunis.

Recent outlets for writing on art and culture include  Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Canvas ,Sorbet, and Tribe magazines, all published in Dubai; Selections magazine in Beirut,  Kayhan Life, and Middle East Eye.

My work is typically searchable on the web and I update links here from time to time.   Some will be behind register or paywalls and other older ones may have lapsed.

In 2019 my coverage from Edinburgh for the Sunday Times included articles on whether the festivals still had the power to shock and the role of theatre in the Fringe as comedy and circus acts grow in popularity.

For The Scotsman almost my first review of the Fringe was of Mustard, a stunning production which subsequently won a coveted Scotsman Fringe First award.    Other favourites included Gone Full Havisham,  another solo woman’s production from Ireland.  For the second year, I was assigned a round-up of Brexit shows including a particular favourite The People’s Boat.

I was also on the judging panel for the Mental Health Fringe awards, for the second year, reviewing several shows that appeared on the short list.    One round up review of several mental health shows included a particular favourite A Short Cut to Happiness.

Recent articles by me for The Art Newspaper appear on their own site here, and for the Art UK website here.

I use Arts Press as an outlet between paying gigs for occasional writing on culture and particularly the visual arts in the UK and beyond.   I focus on delivering exclusive and original news and features,  and as a struggling freelance I am always in the market for new commissions.      Please feel free to contact me through this site.   As well as journalism, recent work has included artist profiles, catalogue writing and the occasional press release for significant commercial  galleries in the Middle East and Scotland.

In August 2018,  I reviewed more than 45 theatre productions at the Edinburgh festivals for The Scotsman and other publications,  from  shows comically reinterpreting Brexit to those exploring the subject of mental health, and was on the judging panels for two theatre awards.  I have worked on close to 15 Edinburgh festivals since 2004.

For the Sunday Times in Scotland in 2018 and before  I reported on the “silver Fringe” and interviewed the Dundee-born film and theatre star Brian Cox about the new Dundee V&A museum.   I reported an exclusive story on how sprinklers had not been fitted at the Glasgow School of Art before a second, disastrous fire gutted the building while it was under renovation from a previous fire.   The story was widely followed up in the Scottish press,  as was a repor in which the extraordinary and admirable former Scottish poet laureate Liz Lochhead spoke on the subject of the poet Robert Burns and a  “Weinsteinian” episode.   I also interviewed    the world-famous Scottish stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill  ahead of his performance at the Celtic Connections festival, and broke the story of the Dutch photographer who obsessively pursued the trail of a mysterious 17th Century Scottish portraitist.

Some stories for the Art Newspaper have garnered some attention, on the role of family art foundations in the Middle East and  on fakes of some Middle Eastern modernist artists, alongside pieces ranging from the new Emile Hannouche museum in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and new plans for the Calouste Gulbenkian museum in Portugal, to   a new lease of life for  life drawing in Britain.

In Edinburgh in 2017 and 2018 I was on the judging panel of the first Filipa Braganza Award,  for a new solo piece of theatre acted by a young female performer.   Amid strong competition, particularly from a wave of shows that brought a new level of ethnic diversity at the Fringe,  the 2017 winner was Salt, by Selina Thompson, whom I interviewed early in the festival.    In 2017 I  was also on the judging panel for the first  Behnam Bakhtiar award for Iranian art.

Festival  articles for The Scotsman in 2017 included  this piece on the lost art letter-writing, this review of virtual reality shows in the digital festival FuturePlay, and this feature on  CanadaHub, the hugely successful slate of Canadian shows centered on a single venue.    In the Edinburgh International Book Festival, I previewed an appearance by the novelist Omar Robert Hamilton.   I reviewed a slate of shows from both India, and the Arab world, while one of my favourite individual plays in the festival, playing a tiny venue,  was The Sleeper.

If you feel an Arts Press article is inaccurate or unfair, or encounter broken links, typos, plain bad grammar or spelling, please get in touch. The site aims to operate under the National Union of Journalists professional guidelines for journalists and bloggers.

Alternatively if a piece catches your fancy please, please share it via social media and the like.

A few more links below include other past work.

In August 2016 I reported on the Edinburgh festivals, with articles in  The Scotsman, the Art Newspaper, the Sunday Times and  The Times’ Scottish editions.    The Scotsman kindly commissioned a series of reviews and features including on the dramatic “Deep Time”  opening show and  this round up of 12 Shakespeare shows of all shapes and sizes.

As a fan of the thoughtful, evocative and catchily tuneful Scottish folk singer Karine Polwart I was delighted to meet and interview  her on her sell-out festival show Faultlines.    For the Sunday Times I reported on the UNESCO deputy director speaking out on the Old Royal High School plan, and calls for a new commemoration of the festival founder Sir Rudolf Bing.

Arts Press is a WordPress site but with the formidable help of  the excellent Alison Neathey of www.stuffandcontent.co.uk.  If you are an interested reader, any feedback or thoughts are welcome.