We’re Hiring!

Finance & Funding Development Manager

The Stove Network is seeking to recruit an ambitious, and forward-thinking person to join our senior management team to spearhead the strategic development of our Finance, Funding and Governance.

As Finance & Funding Development Manager, you’ll work directly with the core team running an award-winning, community organisation that is playing a leading role in creative placemaking initiatives in Dumfries and the South of Scotland.

Over the last ten years The Stove has built a national and international reputation for using creativity to engage and involve people in taking an active part in re-imagining and shaping the places they live through an innovative programme of activity across artforms, sectors and communities. We are in receipt of Regular Funding from Creative Scotland, have established working partnerships with regional and national agencies and generate additional income from commissioned and self-initiated projects.

We are looking for someone with the ambition and ethos to use their skills in finance, organisational and strategic thinking to make a fundamental contribution to the way The Stove Network works with our partners, those we employ and the community we serve. We care deeply about those we work with, and the way we work with them, if you are looking for an opportunity to really make a difference and join an inspiring team of like-minded folk then please get in touch to find out more.

The Finance & Funding Development Manager is a full-time permanent contract in Dumfries. The salary will be £32,000 – £35,0000, dependent on experience.

Please download the Job Pack with job description and further details by clicking on the button below:

To apply for the position, please send a covering letter and your CV FAO Matt Baker to We will confirm receipt as soon as possible.

Deadline for applications: midnight Sunday 15th August 2021

Interviews will be held on Friday 20th August, most likely via Zoom. We would like to make sure that our recruitment process is as open as possible, so if you’d like to discuss any accessibility requirements, or have questions about the opportunity in general, please get in touch with Matt via or phone him on 07855 957401 (weekdays 10-4pm)


Door Handles of Change

By Sam Gonçalves, Digital Producer for Soap Box

Sam Gonçalves

Back in March I started a short term freelance contract with The Stove Network to help them set up Soap Box: a series of events, panels and workshops. The programme, alongside a whole host of extra resources, has now been brought together in an easy-to-use toolkit. 

The team asked me to write about my experience, but I have to admit the last few months have felt very different to the professional experiences I’m used to having. To give you some context, I have never met any of The Stove’s team in person! This whole journey I’ve just been working with disembodied heads on varying zoom calls. It wouldn’t take too much evidence to convince me none of them are actually real.

That was the biggest hurdle, in my opinion, to the development of Soap Box. An excellent programme focusing on the development of digital skills, ran entirely online and designed by a remote team. Suddenly all the strategies you learned to galvanise a team, work with people, create bonds and make together are not quite as applicable to an entirely digital world. 

I arrived at The Stove aware of the ‘newness’ of this challenge and interested on how it would be faced. As time went by, it was a pleasure to see how the team did it: with open minds and a keen sense of curiosity.

The remote nature of the programme was seen as an opportunity rather than a barrier. I don’t think a single one of our weekly meetings went by without a member of the team asking, “Who can we bring in?” about any given part of the project. Collaboration was an essential building block and it involved people in all sorts of career stages, of different ages, backgrounds and perspectives. 

When faced with the fresh challenges arising out of lockdown, I saw The Stove team open up to other experiences and expertise. They sought answers, as oppose to assuming they already had them. As a result, the programme hosted an incredible variety of people – from facilitators to attendees – who brought in knowledge that would not have been there if these events had been run in a business-as-usual way.

Here’s a humiliating metaphor I can use to explain this – Portuguese is my first language and when I moved to Scotland from Brazil at the age of 17, I discovered a cruel linguistic twist. The word ‘pull’ translates to ‘puxe’ in Portuguese, which sounds exactly like the word ‘push’. For years I’d read the work ‘push’ on a shop door and my brain would short-circuit and make me pull it. I’ve walked into my fair share of doors. 

I tarnish my otherwise flawless reputation to say – sometimes the main barrier is being unable accept a piece of knowledge is no longer relevant. What I really take away from the handful of months working with and observing The Stove is their unrelenting drive to learn more, bringing people in who will show them a new perspective and respecting what they have to say – whether they may be the head of an organisation or a young freelancer. 

I long to see the skill of un-learning being used in the creative and cultural sector more often, it would open many doors…

Sam Gonçalves // @SidlingBears

Want to learn more about Soap Box and check out the digital resource toolkit? Visit our webpage:


The Tortured Artist

By Jenna Macrory, Creative Producer of Creative Spaces

The stereotype of the tortured artist is ingrained in Western culture. With this trope remaining so pervasive for such a length of time the archetype of the tortured artist has adapted with society over time. With the societal perception of mental illness changing, how has the relationship between creativity and suffering progressed over time?

Historically, mental illness and creativity have always been closely associated. In ancient Greece, madness was perceived as a state of other-worldliness. Madness to the Greeks could be interpreted in two ways: divine or demonic.* Demonic madness was seen as bad and therefore perceived in a negative light similar to how mental health is often stigmatised today.

Conversely, divine madness is a spiritual pursuit that permits an individual to act out with conventional societal standards. For the ancient Greeks, creativity was derived from this subversion of social norms. In other words, creativity comes from madness, albeit a specific type of madness but for numerous centuries creativity and madness have remained intertwined.

Few things have remained as prominent through human history as the trope of the tortured artist. Spanning centuries and infecting every single medium of art, prominent creatives appear to use suffering to their advantage.

Author Sylvia Plath channelled her depression into her only novel The Bell Jar; Louis Wain’s paintings of anthropomorphic cats transformed into psychedelic subjects upon his descent into schizophrenia; Kurt Cobain publicly professed his battles with mental health through many of his songs. The list of creatives battling with mental illness goes on but this alludes to a link between creativity and mental health particularly considering that this trope has remained over centuries.

As such a culturally pervasive topic, recent decades have seen the rise of studies investigating mental health in creatives. Despite the empirical evidence of a link between creativity and mental disorders, several studies have exhibited little to no link between the two.

Creative professions proved no more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders according to a study involving 1.2 million Swedish citizens.** Contrarily studies that do exhibit higher rates of mental disorders show only a marginal difference.*** With the link between creativity and mental illness seeming arbitrary, why has the archetype of the tortured artist remained?

Although creativity itself does not correlate with mental wellbeing, many artists find themselves in conditions that allow psychiatric disorders to manifest. A passion to create leads many artists into situations that can be mentally straining such as low-paying career paths, job instability, or substance abuse.

This sentiment is reinforced by figures suggesting that as many as 60 percent of workers in creative industries spoke of having suicidal thoughts. Although the sole act of being creative does not denote an individual to madness, the environment and social networks we are part of contribute to our psychological wellbeing.

While the tortured artist trope was conceived from the concept of a suffering introspective soul, recent years have seen the narrative of this trope shift. The tortured artist is no longer tormented by an inward pain, the suffering of an artist is now amplified by an economic climate that makes living as an artist increasingly difficult.

Despite this shift, the stereotype of the tortured artist will remain although as we continue to witness the gradual destigmatisation of mental health we can address the issues at the core of this trope. As a result, we can begin to move away from this romanticised image of the tortured artist toward a healthier stereotype.

As humanity progresses how will the tortured artist stereotype change? How will changes to the wider society impact on this persona? Will the art economy, already struggling in a post pandemic world plunge more creatives into mental instability?

If you have any thoughts on these and you are under 30 you can join Creative Spaces for our conversation around the tortured artist persona at 7pm, 8th July. For more information and to book a space please click the link below:
The Tortured Artist Stereotype: An Open Conversation

* John Matthews, Creativity and Mental Illness: Exploring the ‘Tortured Artist’,
** Simon Kyaga, Mikael Landen, Marcus Boman, Christina M Hultman, Niklas Langstrom, Paul Lichtenstein, Mental illness, suicide and creativity: 40-year prospective total population study,
*** Stephen A. Stansfeld, Jenny Head, Farhat Rasul, Occupation and mental health: Secondary analyses of the ONS Psychiatric Morbidity Survey of Great Britain,


Testing, testing… anybody there?

Welcome back Dumfries. This month we’re ready to open our doors once again with a month-long programme of inspiring events from conversations to workshops, creative activities and talks alongside the long-awaited return of our monthly film night Reel To Real, as well as the unmissable Brave New Words. We want to be extra safe as we navigate our way back into the world of live events so the way of doing things is a little bit different. First of all, you’ll need a ticket. You can see the full list of events here, so if you’d like to attend, you’ll need to book your place. And we’re not out of the woods yet so we’ll have some extra safety measures in place when you arrive, to protect everyone in our community. 

This month it’s all about testing new activity. We want to see how we can have a blended approach to our live events. So whether that’s a mix of live streaming to walks outdoors, we want to play with new ways of coming back together, that’s both safe and creative. Who knows, some of it might stick. So why not join us as we retrace our steps back to the world of live events…

Dumfries Fountain Project

The Dumfries Fountain Project goes live this month with the first of our workshops with writer JoAnne McKay, and a conversation evening exploring the history and heritage of the fountain!

Creative Spaces

Creative Spaces welcomes you back to our blended model of bi-monthly workshops we shall be exploring the link between mental wellbeing and creativity through the concept of the Tortured Artist.

Brave New Words

You heard us right, it’s back! We’re going live on the last Friday of the month, in The Stove Cafe and The Stove Network’s Youtube channel.

Reel to Real Cinema

This month we are discussing film and food in The Stove Cafe with filmmaker Zev Robinson, and his short film The Glasgow Diet



Creative Spaces’ Associate Artists

From the back: Jenna Macrory (Creative Spaces Producer), Leanne Bradwick (Associate Artist), Jodie Barnacle-Best (Associate Artist) and Rachel Shnapp (Associate Artist).

From blueprint100’s consultation and development period, came Creative Spaces – providing opportunities for emerging artists under 30 to have the support and funding to explore and enhance their creative practice, while building professional confidence and developing a network of peers.

After promoting these opportunities and fine combing an extremely talented pool of applicants, we’ve now curated our own trio of Associate Artists, who introduce themselves below…

Meet the Team

Jodie Barnacle-Best

I’m Jodie…

While I’m wrapping up my Masters right now, I’m about to start honing in on my main practice in fashion knitwear (though, more generally speaking, I’m really excited by experimenting with colour and material!).

Most of all, I’m eager to start steering my practice more towards community-making/workshopping and interactive fashion making: demystifying the fashion space and encouraging connections between the clothing and the wearer.

Leanne Bradwick

I’m Leanne…

I am a travelling jewellery artist who makes narrative jewellery in my self-converted van that I live in and call home. I studied jewellery and silversmithing at Uni between 2014 and 2017, before going on to work within the industries in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. 

I’ve now moved to Dumfries and Galloway to begin my own practice of narrating folklore stories through silver coin pendants, which I’ll be selling alongside little books to keep the tales alive!

Rachel Shnapp

I’m Rachel…

I’m an early-career filmmaker and artist creating works across a variety of genres. In my practice, I aim to get as close as possible to subversive or hidden narratives – creating socially engaged, stylised films that tell lesser-known stories.

I am really looking forward to contributing to The Stove, and I’m excited for what lies in store.

Thanks Jodie, Leanne and Rachel, we’re thrilled to have you join the Creative Spaces team.

Would you like to know more about Creative Spaces and find out how you can get involved? Visit our webpage:


Cafe Opportunity

We’re searching for our next team member!


Job Title:

Barista/Café Team Member

We’re looking for an energetic and enthusiastic person, who’s full of beans, to join our busy café team. Are you a team player who loves communicating with customers and delivering the highest levels of customer service? You might just be who we’re looking for!

A Bit About Us

We are a not-for-profit, inclusive café based in the heart of Dumfries where we offer great food, amazing coffee, and the best service. The community is at the heart of everything we do, and we help support the wider aims and values of The Stove Network, a creatively led organisation which makes events and opportunities for our local community.

We’re proud to provide a warm welcome to every customer that walks through the door, and we work hard to create an enjoyable atmosphere for customers and staff. Would you like to work with us?

About The Job

We’re offering a minimum of 10 hours /week @ £8.91/hr over four days; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

About You

You’re a strong team player with a can-do, positive attitude with excellent customer service and communication skills. The ability to work under pressure and to prioritise in a fast-paced environment, able to multitask, follow instruction and have great attention to detail.


  • Establishing welcoming and relaxed atmosphere
  • Taking orders and engaging with customers
  • Coffee making
  • Food preparation (training provided)
  • Loading/unloading dishwasher
  • Maintaining a high standard of hygiene throughout the cafe, including the bathroom
  • Following all Covid-19 guidelines in place
  • Knowing and understanding the menu
  • Some light physical lifting will be required

Desired Experience (some training may be provided)

  • Barista/coffee making experience
  • Experience in food preparation
  • Food and hygiene certificate