A PEP Talk event is an opportunity to hear inspirational speakers.  To explore your ideas and aspirations for positive change in your local neighbourhood.  To be inspired by talks on themes relevant to the places you see or walk through every day.  To meet other people living nearby who are interested in what can be achieved together.  


A PEP Talk is an inspiring event that enables a community conversation about place.  An event brings together the community - including local residents, business and other organisations, but also design professionals and experts on relevant topics to share their knowledge from further afield.  It is a platform that connects, inspires, enables people to meet each other and form on-going relationships,  and which helps catalyse local action.

PREPtalks on the street and in Rodney St tunnel - talking to the people that use a place - the local experts - about their ideas and aspirations for Canonmills

PREPtalks on the street and in Rodney St tunnel - talking to the people that use a place - the local experts - about their ideas and aspirations for Canonmills

But a PEP Talk is more than just a one-off event.  Each event is the result of a much longer engagement process talking to local people and listening closely to what their challenges, ideas and aspirations are for their local neighbourhood.   The themes that come from talking and, more crucially, really listening to local people in the weeks before a PEP Talk event - whether through short interviews in the street or targeted conversations with local businesses or organisations - is what sets the themes and agenda for the PEP Talk event itself.   We call these the 'PREP Talks'!

This preparation and research means each PEP Talk event is relevant and specific to that community - their aspirations, issues of local importance, ways different groups might work together, and tailored to their skills and strengths. The end result is a community brief -  this comes straight from the community and shows the ideas they support and have already started discussing together at the PEP Talk event. 


We piloted the first ever PEP Talk in Canonmills, Edinburgh, at The Yard on 24th April 2015. 

Themes from the PREP Talks stage of talking to local people ahead of the event included more creative use of city spaces, improvements to walking and cycle routes and the potential for community events and public art in Rodney St tunnel.  This is what set the agenda and informed the choice of speakers and programme for the PEP Talk event itself. 

A massive thank you to everyone who made the Canonmills PEP Talk such a success: 



Mural Artist:

We were also joined by Chris Rutterford - an Edinburgh based mural artist - who live-painted during the speakers and event.  Chris created a 5m x 2.5m mural during the afternoon and evening of the PEP Talk - demonstrating how quickly some of the ideas from the PREP Talks can be realised. 

Over the last 4 years Chris has produced 6 paintings over 15 meters long and specialises in crowd compositions.  He has also forged a satellite career as a leading exponent of live mural creation. His belief is that the creative process is often as interesting as the mural itself.

Local partners:

Also big thanks to The Beerhive and Joyce's Cake Shop on Rodney St in Canonmills for sponsoring refreshments, VegWare eco-friendly packaging for donating compostable cups, Jewsons for supplying the plywood, and The Yard for hosting the event as key local partner! Also thanks to Architecture & Design Scotland for their support.


What next?

The ideas and aspirations discussed and contributed by the Canonmills community have been summarised in the form of a community brief.   This is a combination of both the engagement with local people ahead of the Canonmills PEP Talk event - via informal conversations with people in the street, mini public exhibitions open to all or speaking to other local businesses, stakeholders and organisations - and the ideas which were developed on the night by people attending the PEP Talk event.

We also facilitated a post-PEP Talk meet-up for anyone interested in taking any of the ideas that had come out of the PEP Talk further - self-organising as a community to start developing this further.  At this meeting the idea of a record-breaking Arcadian Strip-the-Willow down the Rodney St tunnel, in combination with a community lunch one weekend was very popular... Get in touch with #PEPtalking, via the PEP Talks Facebook page or by emailing us to be put in touch with others that are interested in progressing this or any of the other ideas into action!

In September 2015 the conversations started at the PEP Talk event lead on to a co-created community photography exhibition and month-long installation in Rodney Street tunnel, initiated by HERE+NOW and local community partners. Find our more here.

Community Brief of key ideas for Canonmills

Community Brief of key ideas for Canonmills

HERE + NOW take to the streets to do some face-to-face user research about how people local to Canonmills feel about their local area. We call this a 'PREP Talk' - preparation and research ahead of a PEP Talk event. At a PEP Talk we then bring stakeholders together through discussion and talks to help kick-start action for improving their local places.

Join the conversation!

Tweet #PEPtalking or get involved in discussion on the PEP Talks Facebook page!

The conversation doesn't stop at the end of each PEP Talk event.  The discussion continues and can grow by allowing people who met at a PEP Talk to stay in touch and also for those not at the PEP Talk to become involved  via the PEP Talks  Facebook page  or by conversation on Twitter with  hashtag #PEPtalking.  You can also find resources below on this page to help you progress any ideas that have come out of a PEP Talk.

PEPtalks canonmills


Inspiration, information and websites to help you take the PEP Talk conversation forward.

CivicCrowd - The Civic Crowd is a community action platform. Its aim is to map amazing citizen-powered projects and ideas and provide the means for communities to come together and drive positive change in their area.

CommunityMatters - How to set up a community organisation plus other information and resources.

Stalled Spaces -  a national programme delivered by A+DS to facilitate the temporary use of under-used green spaces, stalled development sites or vacant and derelict land throughout Scotland.

Planning Aid Scotland - Planning advice to support community projects across Scotland

VoluntaryActionScotland - Funding grants to support community projects

Pozible - Crowd-funding for creative community projects.

Crowdfunder -  UK's largest crowd-funding network. 

Scottish Government Community Funds - funding programmes to support community-led regeneration of their local places.

Take One Action -  Using film to inspire and generate change.


What did we miss? Tell us what resources, tools or websites you have found helpful or think might be useful for other people and we will add them to the list! Email:


Photographs and film from conversations with local people in the street in Canonmills about their local area.  We call this the 'PREP Talks'. These set the agenda for the PEP Talk event.


Take a look at other examples of HERE+NOW's project work  and the team's experience.