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Events Projects Research

Feeding Creativity with Open Jar

From Open Jar Collective

Join the Open Jar Collective next Monday, 2nd February from 6 to 8pm at the Midsteeple, in Dumfries to discuss the role of 100 High Street and our new cafe, opening later on in the year.

What role can an arts space have in local food networks?

How can food bring people together in creative ways?

Whether you are a food supplier, grower, artist, cook, food activitst… join us for a bowl of soup and some discussion.

To book your place please email: contact@openjarcollective.co.uk

Categories
Musings Projects

The Young Stove’s Natural Christmas

Last November as part of the Dumfries Christmas Light’s Switch On, members of the Young Stove took on their first project, creating an interactive artwork on the High Street. Developing ideas for a less commercial, more natural Christmas, the group decided to gift live Christmas trees to those attending the Switch On in exchange for a Christmas wish of goodwill.

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Report on the Young Stove Christmas Lights project by Young Stove member Michael Moore

Originally two worries I had about the project was “Would we have enough time for the event to be a big hit?” and “Would the public really get a feeling of the non-materialist Christmas?” I was happy to find I’d been worrying for no reason as within an hour and fifty minutes all the trees had been “re-homed” and the Glowing Gifts with their attached wishes were all sat ornately on and all around the stand.

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Far from people simply saying something and getting a tree I found that the majority of people involved were both really interested in understanding how to get their tree to flourish and even struggled to choose of a thoughtful wish/hope. People really thinking about what they would give if they could was brilliant to see.
The only thing I was more impressed with than the public interest was my fellow Young Stove members. They were straight into interaction with the public from the get go and never showed a second of stress even when the public crowd gathered around our stand waiting keenly to see what the event was about. All of the members went into a fantastic operational mode where no “ordering” was needed. We all interacted with each other as equals and there could be no question of a lack of respect for anyone present that’s not just supposedly rare with young people, but also rare with people generally!

YS christmas lights email-7


I’m impressed and happy to see all the work that was put into the project become a success but I’m happier still to be part of a group of creative and ambitious people working in a naturally co-operative autonomous way. It’s really great to see individual artists collaborating happily to create an event in bringing the community together even on a cold dark winters day.

I’m excited to see what we think of next and I’m (almost) hoping it’s nothing too easy to make happen as it seems its sometimes better to be overambitious!

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To see the full set of photos from the event head to our Flickr page here

Categories
Musings Projects

The Young Stove's Natural Christmas

YS christmas lights email-15
YS christmas lights email-5
YS christmas lights email-7
IMG_7362

Last November as part of the Dumfries Christmas Light’s Switch On, members of the Young Stove took on their first project, creating an interactive artwork on the High Street. Developing ideas for a less commercial, more natural Christmas, the group decided to gift live Christmas trees to those attending the Switch On in exchange for a Christmas wish of goodwill.

Report on the Young Stove Christmas Lights project by Young Stove member Michael Moore
Originally two worries I had about the project was “Would we have enough time for the event to be a big hit?” and “Would the public really get a feeling of the non-materialist Christmas?” I was happy to find I’d been worrying for no reason as within an hour and fifty minutes all the trees had been “re-homed” and the Glowing Gifts with their attached wishes were all sat ornately on and all around the stand.

Far from people simply saying something and getting a tree I found that the majority of people involved were both really interested in understanding how to get their tree to flourish and even struggled to choose of a thoughtful wish/hope. People really thinking about what they would give if they could was brilliant to see.
The only thing I was more impressed with than the public interest was my fellow Young Stove members. They were straight into interaction with the public from the get go and never showed a second of stress even when the public crowd gathered around our stand waiting keenly to see what the event was about. All of the members went into a fantastic operational mode where no “ordering” was needed. We all interacted with each other as equals and there could be no question of a lack of respect for anyone present that’s not just supposedly rare with young people, but also rare with people generally!

I’m impressed and happy to see all the work that was put into the project become a success but I’m happier still to be part of a group of creative and ambitious people working in a naturally co-operative autonomous way. It’s really great to see individual artists collaborating happily to create an event in bringing the community together even on a cold dark winters day.
I’m excited to see what we think of next and I’m (almost) hoping it’s nothing too easy to make happen as it seems its sometimes better to be overambitious!

To see the full set of photos from the event head to our Flickr page here

Categories
Musings Research

What did we eat before baguettes, toasties and Panini?

From Open Jar Collective

Dumfries, in common with most Scottish towns, has a particular lunch time snack – the toasted Panini.  First referenced in a 16th Century Italian cookbook, Panino (which comes from the Italian pane meaning bread) is traditionally a grilled sandwich made with slices of porchetta, that is popular in Central Italy.  Panini became trendy in Milanese bars called Paninoteche in the 1970s and 1980s, and then subsequently in New York.  Paninaro came to mean a fashionable young person who was very image conscious.

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Through the dominance of American fast food culture, Panini have become ubiquitous in Scotland, alongside white sliced bread toasties, and french baguettes. All of these breads are made from highly refined strong wheat flours which are very difficult to produce in Scotland.  Due to our shorter growing season, the wheat grown here has a much lower protein content which is fine for baking but lacks the elastic gluten required for conventional bread making. Scotland’s most successful cereal crop is Barley, once used in almost every home to bake bannocks.

According to the NFUScotland, out of the 2 million tonnes of Scottish barley produced in 2013, 55% was used as animal feed, 35% went to Whisky malting, and only a small proportion was sold as pearl barley or milled as flour for us to eat.

Bere (pronounced ‘bear’) is a form of six-row barley which has been grown in Scotland for thousands of years. Bere is quite possibly Britain’s oldest cereal grain still in commercial cultivation and was likely to have been brought here by Viking settlers. It has adapted to growing in soils with low pH and in areas with long daylight hours which makes it particularly suited to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. It grows rapidly, being sown in the spring and harvested in the summer.  Beremeal was one of the earliest flours to be used to make bannocks.

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Robert Burns once described southern Scotland as a “land o’ cakes”. He didn’t mean desserts, but oatcakes and barley bannocks that would have been baked on an iron girdle over the fire.

“In Scotland, amongst the rural population generally, the girdle until recent times took the place of the oven, the bannock of the loaf.”  F. Marian McNeil, 1929

In The Scots Kitchen, F. Marian McNeil suggests that the name bannok occurs in 1572, and derives from Latin panicum, probably through the influence of the Church. It may have referred originally to Communion bread.

Bannocks can range from soda breads, scones, or pancakes to a sweet fruity tea loaf in the case of the famous Selkirk bannock, but they usually have some barley meal in them.  After testing numerous recipes, I think the best turned out to be F. Marian McNeil’s “Modern Method” using Beremeal from Barony Mills in Orkney (which is available through Greencity).

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Bannocks o’ bear meal, Bannocks o’ barley,
Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Wha, in a brulzie, will first cry a parley?
Never the lads wi’ the bannocks o’ barley.

Bannocks o’ bear meal, Bannocks o’ barley,
Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Wha, in his wae days, were loyal to Charlie?
Wha but the lads wi’ the bannocks o’ barley!

Bannocks o’ bear meal, Bannocks o’ barley,
Here’s to the Highlandman’s bannocks o’ barley.

Robert Burns, 1794

Categories
Events

Artist Talk and Film Screening with Emma Dove and Mark Lyken

Our artists in residence, Emma Dove and Mark Lyken will be giving an artist talk about their practice and current project, Hame, as will as screening their award winning film Mirror Lands next Friday 16th January at 7pm in Auchencairn Village Hall.

Come along to hear about how their residency is progressing and shake off the January blues with us!