Events Projects

The Stove @ South West Picture Show

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Sat 3rd Oct – 6pm

The Moo Man (U) £2/£4MooManBannerFinal

With recent protests saturating the news, we open up a discussion on the local dairy industry. In ‘The Moo Man’ Stephen Hook decides to turn his back on the cost cutting dairies and supermarkets, and instead stay small and keep his close relationship with the herd.

A facilitated discussion will follow the screening, alongside freshly-made milkshakes.

Tickets can be bought here.


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Tues 6th Oct – 6pm

The Lunchbox (PG) with Daksh Indian Restaurant  £2/£4the_lunchbox_bruk_dette

Spices not only excite your taste buds, but also come with an impressive list of health benefits unknown to some. The Lunchbox follows Ila, a middle class house wife to add some spice to her failing marriage, this time through her cooking.

We are delighted to be joined by Daksh Indian Restaurant who will not only give a presentation on the roll of spice in our daily lives, but also provide you with your very own Indian lunchbox.

Tickets can be bought here.

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Thurs 8th Oct – 6pm

The Vanishing of the Bees (U) £2/£4bee-10_1435346i

Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfil pollination contracts across the U.S.

Our special guest for this event is Luisa Gonzalez, a local sustainable bee farmer, who will talk about the downsides of commercial beekeeping practices and bring along some beautiful honey to sample.

Tickets can be bought here.

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Sat 10th Oct – 6pm

Social Bite Talk FREE

All the participants were keen to come back to the Stove for other events "I'm coming back to eat off my own plate", said one, "my mum will be so impressed"

Running 4 sandwich shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh, 100% of their profits go to good causes. Social Bite founder Alice Rebecca Thompson will tell us of the ideas behind ‘Social Business’ and how this model could help tackle homelessness and poverty, whilst also serving damn tasty food!  With The Stove’s new catering venture on the horizon, we proudly welcome the first ‘pop-up’ Stove Cafe at this event and introduce our new creative catering collaborators!

Tickets can be reserved here.

News Projects Research

Thinking Differently About Our Town

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Dumfries is a town at the gateway to Scotland. Famous for its relationship with Rabbie Burns, the town is the nodal point of the region (Dumfries and Galloway) and has a strong heritage past, and an even stronger cultural potential.

Cities, towns and villages throughout Scotland are reimagining their centres and what function they serve within their urban setting.

Inverness is creating different artworks along its River Ness ranging from simple signage installations through to engineered viewing platforms; Oban is reinventing its waterfront and becoming a hub for the Hebrides; Helmsdale has centred its village around arts and heritage with a wonderful cultural centre that is growing leaps and bounds; and even rural Scotland is getting involved in the act with initiatives such as the Scottish Scenic Routes, Spring Fling and the North Coast 500 aiming to reinvent the landscape that they find themselves within.

Dumfries has a similar ambition to reinvent, reimagine and reactivate its high street, its town centre and its entire region. The Stove Network working in collaboration with Lateral North and creative organisations throughout Dumfries would like to invite you to contribute your ideas for a future Dumfries and ultimately towards creating new ideas within the town to showcase the heritage, cultural, environmental, industrial and creative communities that thrive within Dumfries.

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Join us to design these interventions, contribute your ideas and find out about the Dumfries you don’t know; yet.
If you’re someone with a passion for the town of Dumfries, and a commitment to being part of its future, then join us for the Cultural Wayfinding Workshop on the 15th July at The Stove. Full information about the event can be found here.


Catering Scoping Project for The Stove – Open Jar Collective

Catering Scoping Project for The Stove – Abridged version to accompany Catering Tender
Original version by Clem Sandison, Alex Wilde and Hannah Brackston

The Catering Tender Opportunity information is available here.


Outline of the project

The aim of Open Jar’s work with The Stove Network was to gather ideas and viewpoints about the creation of a catering enterprise at The Stove. Following a period of targeted conversations with key stakeholders and pop-up engagement activities with the public, Open Jar Collective produced a report. This will now inform how the space is developed and used by the public, and forms part of tendering process to appoint someone to deliver the catering enterprise at The Stove. From Dec 2014 – Feb 2015 we surveyed the food businesses local to the Stove building, spoke to eleven individuals / group and ran a public feeding creativity event, which 20 people attended.

Identified needs

By the Stove:

  •  To provide a welcoming space that is a community resource, a hub for the arts community, a space for people to share and connect
  • To provide a flexible space that be used for a range of events, workshops, meetings or other ways of engaging people
  • To have the functioning of any cafe element of the space operated autonomously
  • A catering enterprise would be a stepping stone to the wider programme of the Stove and activities within the building. A way of signposting people.
  • An income stream as part of the social enterprise of the Stove Network Ltd charity and an integrated part of the activities of the charity.
  •  A desire to offer something different with its own unique identity
  •  A desire for the approach to be ethical in terms of operation, production and supply
  • Connected to the wider aim of regeneration and attracting people into the town centre
  • To connect with the street outside the Stove and activity in the square

In the meetings:

  • Training opportunities in the hospitality industry for college students
  • Somewhere to go after 5pm in the town centre
  • There is very little for 14 – 21 year olds in Dumfries
  • For people to work together to rejuvenate the town centr
  •  To create a destination

In the feeding creativity event:

  • Place to meet and space for groups to hire
  • Connecting with local food and food producers
  • A platform for exchange of knowledge or produce between small scale growing
    projects/allotments/community gardens
  • Mindfulness of food – simple menu, good food, affordable price, nourishing environment, sharing table / space
  • A space that is accessible to young people
  • To promote transparent and ethical buying
  • Collaboration – support a range of other local businesses
  •  Not displacing existing business – offering something new or distinct

What are the opportunities?

  • There is a lot of goodwill towards to Stove and excitement about the new building and what it can offer.
  • Offer something different, most places in the town centre are the same
  •  Work with the college to cook food off-site
  • Multi-functional arts venue – meet needs of lots of different groups
  • Alcohol free? – Stricter drink-drive limit – pub atmosphere in a cafe environmen
  •  Experiment with the waste food catering model
  • Growing Hub – connect allotments, exchange/barter schemes, information and knowledge about growing, seed banks
  •  To provide education about growing produce and cooking methods
  • Bringing food production into the town
  • Profit share with pop-up guest chefs / food producers
  • To create a community of people/organisations within the building which has it’s own momentum and draws in different audiences


  • If you have a specific offer in order to be a viable business (eg. local food focus), how do you avoid alienating people who aren’t attracted by that particular focus?
  •  Quality is really important
  •  Is it possible to have a social objective of local, fairtrade, ethical and make money?
  • Not to be in direct competition with other food businesses in the town
  • Need a shift of mindset to encourage people to support small, independent business over the chains and multi-nationals
  • To ensure that an operator didn’t crash and burn due to lack of revenue or energy after a year
  • To create a viable enterprise opportunity given the lack of space and kitchen facilities

Considerations / restrictions

Restrictions of prep/serving/storage area:

  • The limited space available for preparing food, cold storage and serving means that it is fairly impossible to do much more than hot and cold drinks, cakes and maybe soup.
  • Catering for pop-up events would still need to happen off-site as there are not the facilities to make cooked meals.
  •  The conversion of the space off the courtyard into dry storage is essential to enable a catering enterprise to operate.
  • A double prep/washing up sink (in addition to the hand wash sink) will need to be permanent fixtures in the space along with the coffee machine, and electrics to power fridges.
  • Ideally the double sink and additional cold storage would be in the courtyard but this doesn’t seem feasible given potential building restrictions and the pillar blocking access.
  • Design will require counter area for serving, preparation and till. Cold storage required, recommend 3 undercounter fridges minimum – for milk, cold drinks, and food. Additional dry storage space for daily stock.
  • Need to be able to reconfigure the space on a regular basis for events so you will want to limit fixed items and have units on wheels.

Design / fit out:

  •  How do you balance the brand of the cafe with the aesthetic vision of the Stove for the space?
  •  Coffee machine would be expected to be part of the equipment that came with the space.
  • Due to space limitations, it may be difficult to fit in a dishwasher in the proposed set-up. This means that all drinks and food would need to be served in compostable paper plates/cups, essentially like take away. This may not appeal to all customers. If an industrial dishwasher was integrated into the prep space and china serving ware was used, additional staffing would be required to clear tables and manage washing up and additional storage space would be needed for china.

Further thoughts

Sourcing / Pricing policy:

There is a direct tension between local/fair trade sourcing and affordability/accessibility of the cafe (i.e. having a more expensive menu than other local cafes and therefore being seen as niche market). The general trend in food businesses in Dumfries is to sell at a very low price (e.g. £1.40 for a take away toastie). This results in food that is not locally sourced, organic, ethical, and is often quite highly processed. Some people in Dumfries may be willing to pay more for better quality ethically sourced food (making it a unique selling point for the cafe), but not everyone. The Stove need to make a decision about how important local food is to them, and define what they mean by ‘local’, ‘ethical’ and ‘sustainable’ in the tender document, as these terms can be very widely interpreted. The Cafe manager/operator may need to charge more than other cafes in the area to fulfil this brief. It’s quite simple to serve organic fairtrade tea and coffee, because the mark-up is much greater on hot drinks than it is on food. There is good profit margin on seasonal veg soups, so this would be a good item on the menu to showcase local produce. Sourcing good quality meat, cheeses, and bread, and keeping prices competitive with other local establishments will be more difficult. The Stove could consider developing a “prefered supplier” list e.g. cheese from Loch Arthur, bread from Earth’s Crust, dried goods from Greencity Wholefoods. The Cafe Manager/Operator would then need to price the menu accordingly based on these suppliers. We think seasonal soup using local ingredients could be the unique food offer, and the best option with limited prep/storage space. This could be a springboard for creating a local food hub, engaging with local growers and setting up fruit and veg bartering schemes. This requires a creative and competent cook/cafe manager to make use of available seasonal produce to prepare fresh soup each day. Alternatively the cafe manager could research other caterers/local businesses that could supply fresh soup, sandwiches, and cakes on a daily basis.

News Opportunities

Catering Tender Opportunity – 100 High Street


We are seeking someone to work in partnership with The Stove Network to deliver an innovative catering enterprise in Dumfries Town Centre. The Stove is accessible public arts resource run by a group of artists who are delivering a high quality arts programme for the town and region. The Stove building is conceived as a flexible space that can change to accommodate a wide range of arts and creative activity.

The vision for the ground floor of The Stove is a welcoming and social space with a consistent catering offer that is open to a general public, participants/audience at arts events, creative businesses occupying the building. Many of The Stove Network’s events involve a catering element – for example we might want to provide a Tapas evening to accompany a dance performance. It is important that The Stove stays open past office hours for 2-3 nights per week in order to help boost the night time economy in Dumfries – we will be looking to work with the successful bidder to develop a food offer appropriate to these late opening periods and the operations of The Stove generally.

This is an exciting opportunity for the right person who is creative and forward thinking about food to be part of the Stove team in changing the town centre in Dumfries!


  • We have funding in place to fit out the catering equipment and décor for the catering operation, for the purposes of budgeting, assume £15,000 capital investment. Our creative team will work with you to develop the vision for the space and deliver this vision (within the budget we have available). In addition to this there is also a limited allowance in The Stove budget for tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery. NB all of the above investment will remain the property of The Stove Network Ltd.
  • We can offer half the ground floor space (35 square meters + an annual charge (rent/rates) of £6,000) for the bidder to develop as a flexible catering enterprise in partnership with The Stove Network. We are offering this on an ‘at cost’ basis in the first instance to allow the catering enterprise the best chance to grow imaginatively.
    • assist The Stove in catering for arts events, assume two per month,
    • accommodate flexibility over the occasional use of the ground floor for arts events etc.,
    • support and grow a wider vision for food as part of The Stove (e.g. working with community food growing projects, hosting pop-up events in partnership with other caterers etc.),
    • open past office hours for 2-3 nights per week in order to help boost the night time economy in Dumfries
  • There will be a rent review after 12 months which will take into account the success of the venture in all the areas listed above.


If you are interested in tendering for this opportunity please:
Send us an outline of your ideas for the venture. Tenders should include:

  • Outline Business Plan – covering at least the first two years of operations
  • Suggested food and drinks offer – daytime, evenings, and events catering – including suggested pricing and sample menu
  • Purchasing policies – including support for local food producers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the current food offer in the town centre and how you would propose to compliment that
  • Management structure and approach to partnership working with The Stove Network
  • Approach to staffing, including training and development
  • Environmental and sustainability policy
  • CV and catering management experience

Selected applicants will be invited to an interview at which point we will discuss your ideas and areas of common interest with The Stove programme and its current activities. We will  then select one tenderer to work with The Stove Network on an intensive design exercise for this project. If this process is successful for both parties we will enter into a contract with the successful tenderer.


Deadline for submission of initial interest and vision for the café – Friday 24th July 2015 5pm.
Provisional café opening date – 4 months from submission of tender


If you would like to visit the café space and speak to someone at The Stove please contact
A report into the Stove Café (Stove vision, potential partners, possible ways of the café operating) prepared by creative consultants ‘Open Jar Collective’ is available here.