tillydrone book cover

  • > A community with a reputation
  • > 9 women’s stories and visions
  • > A book of interviews and photographs

Tillydrone, a community of 4000 inhabitants, is one of six regeneration areas in Aberdeen, an area with high concentrations of social housing, unemployment, drug and alcohol misuse, crime and anti social behaviour – a community with a bad reputation.

During her six months Partners artist residency Eva Merz experienced the community close-up; some of the women she met are represented in this book: in nine interviews they speak about their personal lives, their work, and views on regeneration and social problems in the community. An overall theme is the stigmatisation of areas like Tillydrone, which seems to come primarily from the outside. The women agree that it is not the dangerous place it’s made out to be, on the contrary, there is a strong feeling of safety and community spirit in a place where people know each other.

The book does not look at Tillydrone in terms of problems and solutions; but is rather a discovery through listening to people. The women, ranging from 12 to 61 years of age, represent a diverse community; from a hairdresser to a community learning worker, a young mum, a drug dealer and a Masters student. Despite a general mistrust around the council’s plans for regeneration there is great belief and hope for the future.

The book is a follow-up from the ‘Love Heart Action’ on Valentine’s Day, which saw 60 prohibition signs in the community covered by love hearts – also the work of Merz.

Contains 80 pages with interviews and plenty of photographic illustrations.

‘Tillydrone’ is now available at Peacock visual Arts for £10

Copies of the book are also available in Tillydrone at the Lads’ Club, Portal Community Centre, Tilly Youth Project, the Family Centre and the Library.

  • Produced by New Social Art School
  • Supported by Peacock Visual Arts and Stationhouse Media Unit
  • Funded by Partners, a National Lottery-funded initiative giving communities with little experience of the arts new opportunities to engage with professional artists. Also funded by Aberdeen City Council.

“Councillors don’t live here… we need to say, ‘Okay, you’ve promised us this. We want it!’ Ken? It’s different than saying, ‘You’ve promised us this but we’re nae gonna get it.’ No. We want this! We want a better place to live… and we’ll have a community we can be proud of. In the future, when people ask where you stay, you can say TILLYDRONE, best community in Aberdeen!” – Pamela, 27, Mum, Student and Community Rep