The Spirit Case

An object created to honour the time of transition from hospital to futures institute and act as a touchstone for memories and future dreaming.


Materials: Slate, Pine and Elm Wood, Sandstone, Nails 

The Spirit Case is an object created out of materials that were once part of the Old Royal Infirmary, namely slates from the roof and boards from the floor, as well as from part of an elm tree that once stood on the premises and was rescued during renovation of the building. A piece of the hospital’s sandstone and original nails also form part of the object. The Spirit Case was conceived and designed by Dr Jimmy Turner, Binks Hub Research Fellow and Woodworker with EFI colleagues Jennifer Williams, Creative Projects Manager and Gintare Kulyte, Creative Projects Intern, and in collaboration with Jon Slight and Campbell Deeming, Wood Workshop Manager and Assistant Manager at the Grassmarket Community Project. It was carved and built with the help of a team of community trainees at the Grassmarket Community Project Wood Workshop. The poetry on the slates and sandstone was written by JL Williams, poet, and members of the community with experience of the hospital, including Pelican Nurses who trained and worked there. The design, carving and gilding, and attachment of the slates was completed by Gus Fisher, artisan stone carver. 

The Spirit Case was created through the Recycling a Hospital project, which took place over two years preceding the opening of the Edinburgh Futures Institute in 2024. It sought to act as a meaningful engagement with the community during this time of transition from hospital to futures institute, and to create this object which is intended as a touchstone for memories and future dreaming. 

Recycling a Hospital team members also included Gintare Kulyte, photographer, Dr Ekaterina Shurkova, Teaching Fellow in Psychology, and Dr Patricia Erskine, Director of Culture and Community, Edinburgh Futures Institute. 

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