‘For me, the question of democracy also opens up the question of what does it mean to be truly human. And it seems to me that we need to recognize that to develop the best humanity, the best spirit, the best community, there needs to be discipline, practices of exploring. How do you do that? How do we work together? How do we talk together in ways that will open up our best capacities and our best gifts?’ (Vincent Harding)
Looking back, looking forward
Our first foot into the New Year might seem like little has changed. With a new spike rolling in with the first snowfall of January, a third lockdown begins. And as we huddle further into our little worlds the news cycle spins and bounces off the walls with the discovery of a vaccine. And for now, we carry on.
2021 marks ten years of the Stove’s work. And we’re immensely proud of what’s been achieved in that time; from festivals and events to community buy-outs and river races. Together with our community, we’ve shaped a new vision not only for the arts but also for the vital role that communities and creativity play in the shaping of our town.
This year, we’re focused on sharing and learning together again so that we can build and support new and ambitious ideas from the voices hitherto unheard across the region.
As of December, the Stove has been focused on building a programme of new projects that will allow us to delve deeper into connecting communities, ideas and creativity together. We want to build new connections, routes and opportunities for learning across our membership and wider region.
This year we want to discover new voices, train and support new ideas as well as deepen our relationship to the places beyond the town center.
We will do this by:
- Creating new spaces for people to learn, share and take part in conversations to map the future of our region.
- Continuing to explore and promote bold and innovative projects that connect people in a time of social isolation.
- Finding the new stories and storytellers to help us navigate a world spinning further out of reach.
- Focusing on localism and power by providing the tools necessary for communities to realise and shape their identities and futures.
Our programme will stretch across sharing skills in digital communication to help communities and artists reach further and more meaningfully to people, regional projects to support bold ideas concerned with community ownership and place-making and a responsive series of events and conversations open to all.
We are committed to exploring, developing and sharing how we work with other places and people and to continue the conversation online through our new podcast channel and other outlets.
Throughout January the Stove will be planning and organizing for the year ahead, so we encourage you to keep an eye on our website and social media for announcements, job opportunities and activity.
We’d like to once again thank our membership and community who have helped to shape our ideas for the year ahead by taking part in our projects, events, consultations and conversations throughout 2020.
And to celebrate ten years of the Stove we’ll be sharing the stories of those who have come through our doors, sharing their favourite memories as well as finding out what lies next for us over the next 10 years.
Whilst the road ahead looks rough, we’re hopeful our work will cement a new vision of community and creativity that seeks to support a fairer society for all. We can’t wait to see what comes of it.