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News Opportunities

Some themes brought to the fore by COVID

Themes that The Stove have collectively been thinking about during the Lockdown and which we are proposing as areas of exploration for the commissions within the Atlas Pandemica: Maps to a Kinder World project.

 1. Decision-making 

What has been our experience of leadership? How has power in influence been balanced between local and centralised decision-making? What examples and lessons are there about how ordinary people and communities have played a part in influencing how we are coping with the pandemic in South West Scotland? What new relationships have been formed between the formal and informal networks around us? Maybe a research residency within Dumfries and Galloway Council? 

2. Stories 

COVID is something we will be talking about for many generations – what stories we tell and how we tell them is a vital role of culture and the arts in society. What are the stories relevant to life in a post-pandemic society? Who are the storytellers? What stories bare the most relevance for our locality? What are the myths/folklore we can rely upon to help instruct, warn and guide our lives through this? What do stories do? What functions do they fulfil and what ways can they be used now? 

3. Food 

Food is so much more than fuel – it is central to gestures of care and hospitality. Finding new ways to share food has renewed old relationships, maintained existing ones and created new ones. The reality of how our food supplies work and their production processes have never been more clearly revealed, or, the contrast with local food production and infrastructure – where next for how we nourish ourselves as a society? What are the possibilities in the local supply? How do we nurture a responsibility towards sustainability in the purchase of food? What is the ‘growing culture’ locally and how do we develop this?
  

4. Travel 

Cars have been off the roads and bikes and people have been on them. The distances that separate our communities, regions and communities suddenly seem similar to how they must have appeared a hundred years ago. Yet, public transport now seems dangerous and cars a protective bubble – does this herald a new era of even starker divisions between those who can afford to be safe and those who cannot…or is this an opportunity to rethink how we move about from first principles? 
Particularly in a region whose sparse population is geographically spread out, what do digital technologies mean to our ideas of distance and proximity? 
 

5. Communities 

Mobile communities, communities of interest, geographic communities, temporary communities…our separateness and connectivity as groups of people has been questioned, revealed, side-lined and speculated upon by COVID. Yet fundamentally our future has to work for all of us – what can an understanding of particular groups and their relationship to how the structures of our shared existence function tell us about how we re-organise ourselves from here. 
 
 

6. End of Life 

Funerals, grief, how people reach the end of their lives and the role of communities, families and the state. How we die, how our families and friends mark death, and how our society supports our passing. Mapping and understanding a culture of death. 

7. The Public Sphere 

What are public spaces for now? Do we still need town centres and public places to gather and express our commonality and our difference? What will activate public places now with traditional retail in even sharper decline? What uses can we find for newly empty buildings and other public places? How do we maintain social cohesion through the act of gathering in the aftermath of the pandemic? Can our public spaces be re-purposed in a time of time of social distance? 

8. Care 

COVID has shone a light on care in our society from care homes to hospitals, from public health to mental health from education to families. We have seen how deeply we depend on those who care in our society – what have we learned and where do we go from here? What a does a localized approach to care in our communities mean? What are the resources currently available and how does our society seek to nurture our wellbeing and engrain mental resilience in tackling the problems before us? 
 
 

9. Diversity and under-represented groups 

In times of extreme urgency, it is all too easy for the needs and opinions of the ‘majority’ to dominate. But if the voices of less represented groups are not heard now and heard with as much urgency as other voices, how do we hear those voices and their essential messages and build a future that celebrates diversity and difference?  
 

10. Hospitality 

Welcoming places and communities are crucial to economic industries like tourism – and much of our social code as a society is built around ancient principles of hospitality. How do we re-imagine hospitality in an age when people entering a place or group potentially bring a health risk with them or put themselves at risk by travelling. Has this traditional behaviour found new meanings and value in a time of crisis? 
 

11. Nature and the natural world 

Awareness and appreciation of the natural world has been one of the universal experiences of COVID. What new understandings have been revealed about our relationship to the natural world, when it can both support and endanger us. 
We have seen unprecedented reductions in carbon emissions and immediate impacts in the environment around us. Possible themes of preservation, resource, healing and the boundaries of the human and non-human world. How do we embed this new learning in our common future?  
 

12. Creativity – creative structures and processes 

What is the role of creativity in times of crisis? What are the implications of COVID for creative practice? What will be the future function of our cultural buildings? What part can creativity play in the new world and communities that we are all making together? 

13. Relational vs Transactional systems 

To date, the world we have all shared has been overwhelmingly been based on the logic of transactions – attributing monetary value to things and then exchanging, goods, services etc on that basis. COVID has exposed the fundamental importance of the way things make us feel – how we relate to each other and the world around us. Could we strike a new balance between the relational and the transactional in a new future? 
 

14. Enterprise and localised economy 

As we emerge from lockdown it is likely that many, many people will find themselves newly unemployed. There will be newly empty premises and many people will be forced to move home. What are the opportunities and ideas for creating the conditions for new initiatives, projects and businesses to start? As a region can we create a new economy based on our local assets – one that retains prosperity locally and forges a new relationship with urban centres and countries? 

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Musings Opportunities

Behavin trials a new kind of experiment for Just Start Here 2020

Behavin?
In July of 2019, a micro-festival of performance art, live music and spontaneous creative action took place across the High Street of Dumfries. Set-up to agitate, disrupt, celebrate, poke fun and play, Behavin’ invited performance artists, the local community, musicians and local artists to contribute to a new kind of scene for Dumfries. 2019 featured the world’s smallest music venue, drag performance, Kung Fu master-classes, a band of seagulls, plays in our elevator theatre and a madcap day of extraordinary work from artists throughout Scotland.
And since then, it’s all gone a little bit quiet. The streets have resumed their normal operation of passers-by, people watchers, the school run, lunch- time meetings, chai latte soirees and bank appointments, all this alongside the looming avian threat of a hungry, sausage-roll-loving-seagull. Colloquially known as ‘Rats With Wings’ (also a good name for a death metal band).
Until now.
Behavin’ have been invited to take part in Just Start Here 2020 with the National Theatre of Scotland. And this year, we’re doing just that, starting right at the beginning. Our troupe (if you can call it that) is banding together once again to play, chat, explore ideas and perform, in the very heart of the High Street.
Welcome to Elsewhere, bring a chair.
We don’t know what it will be. We’re sure we’ll be sitting on a chair. We’re sure it might rain. We’re certain it’s in Fountain Square. Something is starting.
With Just Start Here, we’re in the most unique position as local artists to explore, create, start, challenge and expand our creative horizons. And we invite you, our community, our network to start something too. Join us on the 28th and 29th of February and explore how we can start a new kind of creative ambition for Dumfries.
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Just Start Here is a two day festival of bold new work, taking over shop-fronts, working men’s clubs and the streets of Dumfries this February. Organised by National Theatre of Scotland, Just Start Here will take place on 28th and 29th of February 2020. Tickets are available now, for details on how to get yours along with the full line please visit the NTS website:
Tickets and General Information
Festival Line Up

Artists Kerry Morrisson and Helmut Lemke perform a durational piece as part of Behavin 2019.
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News Opportunities

Your Invite to Our Foundation Gathering

The Stove needs your help!

The Stove is getting itself properly organised for the future and needs your help to do this – we’re asking folk who are interested in the arts in D+G to join us for an informal evening to let us know how we are doing so far and what we could be doing better in the future. After we have all agreed a way forward everyone will be offered membership of The Stove (free).

So what has this got to do with you?

We believe The Stove can make a genuine contribution to the future of our region – for both the creative sector and the wider population.

Still wondering what it has to do with you?

The Stove is two things:

  1. A Building:
  • … you need to come to this gathering if:
    • You’d like to see a place in the centre of Dumfries where you can meet other creative folk, get info about what is going on locally and further afield.
    • You’d like to be able to hire affordable space to hold workshops/events.
    • You’d like to show/present/gig in a space dedicated to multi-disciplinary contemporary arts.
    • You’d like to rent a small serviced space in the centre of Dumfries.
    • You’re interested in being part of the artist team to work on a series of commissions integrated into the building
    • You want to know about progress with the building (we aim to have completed the necessary building work by the end of 2013 btw)

2. An Organisation:

  • You should come along if you are interested in:
    • Collaborating with other artists as part of teams to take on large commissions.
    • Bringing forward new ideas for projects/initiatives that need an ‘organisation’ to carry them forward (NB – one of The Stove rules is ‘if you have an idea you need to be prepared to do it yourself’).
    • If you are an organisation yourself and are looking to collaborate and share resources/expertise
    • Learning new skills by taking part in Stove projects
    • Building a creative career in Dumfries and Galloway
    • Encouraging early career folk to get started locally
    • Growing the ‘arts scene’ in D+G
    • If you are not part of the ‘creative sector’ but you are interested in working with our sector in your work (we can be pretty handy like).

The aim is find a creative solution that works for all of us to set up The Stove as the best thing it can be. By attending you will be offered the chance to build yourself into the Stove network from the beginning of this exciting new phase of the venture.

You do not need any expertise of any kind to take part – just enthusiasm and an open mind and heart.

Informal workshop led by Andrew Lyon till 7.30, refreshments and chat after

Please RSVP to thestove1@gmail.com so we have an idea of numbers