Powerful exhibition offers glimpse inside Scotland’s sex industry

Published: 6th September 2017


A powerful exhibition providing a rare insight into the hidden world of the sex industry in Scotland opens at Old Gala House this month.

The Scottish Borders Violence Against Women Partnership and Encompass Network have teamed up to bring the Inside Outside exhibition to the area on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 September.

Inside Outside Borders includes films, podcasts, stories and photos from women involved in street prostitution, escorting, brothels and saunas across Scotland.

It is part of a series of events being held in the Borders to raise awareness of the national issue.

Inside Outside was co-ordinated by Linda Thompson from the Women’s Support Project on behalf of the Encompass Network. Photographer Kathryn Rattray supported the women to take their own images which chronicled their background, journey in sex work and their struggles to exit it.

What's On

  • Borders College is holding a taster event for students and staff on Monday 18 September at its Netherdale campus in Galashiels
  • Woodside Garden Centre also hosting a promotional event on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September.
  • Inside Outside exhibition, Old Gala House, Friday 29 and Saturday 30 September - 10-4pm both days.
  • A short film and art exhibition at the Heart of Hawick on Wednesday 4 October - short film is screened at 7pm, 7.30pm, 8pm and 8.30pm.

Linda Thompson

“Inside Outside has been an incredible piece of work which highlights the reality of inside the sex industry, which many people don’t get the chance to hear about.

“The women were honest in telling their stories and we are privileged as outsiders to be allowed into their lives. These women have been and still are incredibly brave, having experienced violence and abuse. 

“They are also one of the most creative, insightful and warm groups of women I have ever been lucky enough to work with.” 

Katie, one of the Inside Outside participants

“I think the idea of getting women to tell their stories in such an individual way and using our minds to create something so beautiful that is going to reach so many people is amazing, and shows why we shouldn't be ashamed of our stories – they are our stories. They have made us who we are."

The exhibition has been supported by Scottish Borders Council, Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre, Borders College, Border Women’s Aid, Woodside Garden Centre and Heart of Hawick.

Councillor Watson McAteer, Chair of the Police, Fire and Rescue and Safer Communities Board

“There is a perception with some people that the sex industry is not an issue in rural locations such as the Borders.

“However, Inside Outside highlights that it is an issue across Scotland and the women who have been involved in this powerful exhibition should be respected for their bravery in stepping forward to share their stories.

“This is an important exhibition which I am pleased Scottish Borders Council is supporting.”

Further information

Please note that some of the content in the exhibition deals with sexual violence, abuse and exploitation which some people might find upsetting. However, no images are sexually graphic.

More information on Inside Outside is available.

Images are available at our Flickr page.