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Dumfries is what we All Make Together – Charter14 Unveiled

If you’ve never been to Guid Nychburris before, it’s too late – you’ll have to wait until next year. The annual event, which celebrates the 1395 Royal Charter for the Burgh of Dumfries, has become a regular in The Stove calendar (previous exploits here and here).

Drawing inspiration from the ‘original’ Charter (an update from the earlier 1186 Charter), which is read out on Guid Nychburris Day, The Stove embarked on the ambitious task of writing a new ‘People’s Charter’ for the town, inviting input and inclusions from community groups, organisations and individuals living, working and inhabiting Dumfries. Where the original Charter granted land and fishing rights, Charter14 set out a declaration, of values for the future prosperity of Dumfries. “Dumfries is what we all make together.”

We were overwhelmed by the response to the idea with contributions coming in from all walks of life – all underlining the depth of felling that people have about Dumfries. The first draft of Charter14 was compiled with the help of local writer and lecturer Dave Borthwick from the contributions of the public and was unveiled in grand fashion, with the Dumfries Fountain as the centrepiece on Saturday with lots of help and the handy adage ‘Just Add Water’….

Thanks to Mike for all his work on the Fountain’s new structure!

The text on the banners around the fountain changed colour when they became wet….buckets were filled from the fountain and people were invited to hurl wet sponges at the banners to reveal their message.

Charter14 is not intended as a finished document. Like the original, revisited and amended – The Stove invited Doonhamers from across the town to add their mark; editing, adding and signing over 150 variations of the new charter over the course of the afternoon.

The 1395 Charter was venerably sealed with the town seal, also celebrated in the Guid Nychburris festivities, and Charter14 was no different, with it’s very own seal created by artist David Ralston.

The project prompted discourse late into the evening, around notions of authentication and validity, as each charter was signed by a unique signatory, ranging in age from 5 to 85, including everyone from local politicians, to the Queen (of the South)’s attendants, and passers by.

The Stove has been absolutely overwhelmed with the amazing response to #MakingDumfries and the Charter14, and would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to the Charter, joined in on Saturday, helped facilitate the day and worked from our studio-in-exile in the run up to the event.

Dumfries is what we all Make Together.

Brave Enough to Take Risks and Surprise People.