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OPPORTUNITY: Artist/Maker Commission – Symbol of Community Support

Midsteeple Quarter is a community-led project to breathe new life into the centre of Dumfries. The Stove Network is working in partnership with Midsteeple Quarter  to commission an artist/maker to create an innovative and changing artwork that demonstrates the support of local groups, businesses and individuals for the Midsteeple Quarter project. The artwork will be sited in the window of ‘The Smithy’ – one of the community owned shops on Dumfries High Street. As the project develops the artwork must adapt to incorporate the names of sponsors as they get involved.

In the first instance, the artwork will form part of a Crowdfunder campaign that will raise money to purchase more buildings for the community; but, the intention is for the artwork to have a life beyond this first campaign and become an enduring symbol of community support for Midsteeple Quarter.

The commission is open to artists and makers working in any medium. The developing nature of the work must be practical and achievable without additional expertise or expense. The total budget for the commission is £1000 inclusive of all fees, materials, expenses and VAT.

To apply please submit the following:

·      A sketch design of your idea

·      Images of up to three relevant examples of your recent work

This is a short turnaround project; applications must be received by 5pm Friday 15th January. The Commission will be awarded on Monday 18th January and the artwork will be in place in by 5th February.

If you would like to discuss the opportunity please contact Scott Mackay on [email protected]

News Opportunities

Beauty in the Broken: Call Out for Community Gardeners

As part of Atlas Pandemica, local artist Peter Smith is seeking local people to become ‘gardeners’ in the town.

‘Beauty in the Broken’ is a project which has been commissioned by The Stove as part of ‘Atlas Pandemica: Maps to a Kinder World’, which uses creative ways to chart the changes that have happened around us recently and to try and navigate the way forward into a more hopeful and shared future.

Peter Smith is a Dumfries based artist who works in fields of interactive art and wood-based sculpture and design.

Peter has created a series of Zen Gardens that will be placed around the town and is looking for a people to volunteer to tend the gardens over the three weeks they are in situ.

The project looks at the way in which Covid-19 may have broken us, but there is always an opportunity to repair in a new, beautiful way. We don’t try to hide these breaks and damage, but we repair our town and community – creating something unique and powerfully beautiful.

Peter sees this project as a social ‘Kintsugi’ – a method of repairing broken things in a way that embraces flaws and imperfections – worked out through the mindful practice of rock gardens.

The gardeners will regularly tend a set of sand and rock gardens throughout Dumfries every morning for 10-20 minutes. Rocks are placed on the field of sand and rakes are used to mark patterns and shapes into the sand. They will then be left for the day and a new design created the following day.

This opportunity is open to anyone – you do not need to have any gardening experience or experience in the creative industries. The gardens will go live over a 3-week period, from 18th January to 7th February 2021. The only requirement is availability every morning for 10-20 minutes during the 3-week period and to be able to carry some hand tools. The project looks to include a diverse mix of people from the local community.

If you would like to volunteer or for further information, please email [email protected].

The deadline to get in touch is Monday 14th December at 12 noon.

For more information on Atlas Pandemica, please click here.

News Opportunities

Brave New Words: What Now?

A Brave New Words update from founder and director, Martin O’Neill

This year has been quite the rollercoaster, hasn’t it?

With next year looming round the corner, we’re asking ourselves, what will it bring? Global societal change for the better? Universal basic income? A fairer and more just world? Or, judging by this year, is it all going to go a bit belly up?

Well, we hope not. But let’s ask the questions.

What Now?

Over the next couple of months we’re holding back our usual Brave New Words Friday night mash-up live-streamed extravaganzas in favour of something a little bit different. To end our year, we’re inviting creative writing submissions around the theme of ‘What Now?’ with contributions making up our first ever printed newspaper publication. We’re looking for submissions from poetry, short stories, flash fiction to text-based art from writers young and older, professional or just dabbling. Think of it like an open mic, but as a newspaper!

You can submit up to three pieces to be considered.

That said, just like our open mic, whilst every effort will be made to ensure your piece ends up in the final print we will be limited on space and can’t guarantee that everything will make it through, so do think hard on what you’re sending in.

This is a completely open submission for anyone based in Dumfries & Galloway. You don’t have to have been at a Brave New Words before, and we’re always looking for new voices to showcase.As always, we encourage you to be brave and put yourself forward.

Submission Details

If you need any more information on the publication please get in touch through our social channels or email [email protected].
Submissions should be sent to: [email protected] in PDF or Word format (please don’t put your submissions in the body of the email)
Deadline: 1st December.
Get writing, & be brave.

With Love,
Brave New Words.

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? 

Musings Opportunities

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

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.
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.
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 [email protected] so we have an idea of numbers

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