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Travelling Gallery Visits Dumfries & Galloway

Travelling Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in a bus in collaboration with The Stove Network, will be bringing its latest exhibition, Take Care, to Dumfries & Galloway this November.

The exhibition is a group show featuring artists such as Uma Breakdown, Gwenan Davies, Ellie Kyungran Heo, Laura Wilson, and Joy Baek, along with the Sculpture Placement Group. Take Care explores our relationship with non-human things that we care for in our often isolated society.

The artworks showcased in the exhibition explore a wide range of mediums and subjects. For instance, Laura Wilson‘s new video, “You would still almost expect to find it Warm”, focuses on the intimacy of baking, presenting fresh dough as a living organism that is alive with yeast. In contrast, Ellie Kyungran Heo‘s moving image work, Plantarians: appendix, delves into our care of house plants and questions “Why is it that we place a plant in a pot, constricting its ability to grow and occupy physical space?”.

Continuing our relationship with non-human things, artist Uma Breakdown presents their video game Animal Agency, the multi-layered click and point game invites the player to work with animal-like creatures to move between a number of rooms and spaces. Gwenan Davies’ paintings then explore our ‘in-between’ times as she observes the ritual and social function of the coffee break, turning a sea of abandoned coffee cups into a surreal landscape.

Artist Uma Breakdown has created a video game called Animal Agency, which continues the exploration of our relationship with non-human things. The game is a multi-layered click-and-point adventure, where the player works with animal-like creatures to move between a number of rooms and spaces. In addition, Gwenan Davies’ paintings capture our ‘in-between’ times by observing the ritual and social function of the coffee break. She turns a sea of abandoned coffee cups into a surreal landscape, creating a unique perspective on our daily routines.

Finally, Travelling Gallery is collaborating with Sculpture Placement Group (SPG) to exhibit the sculpture, Here, My waiting by Joy Baek, from their Loan scheme. The SPG Loan scheme works with artists to extend the life cycle of artworks that are currently in long-term storage, allowing people to care for and enjoy an artwork, often outside of a gallery context. 

Finally, Travelling Gallery is collaborating with Sculpture Placement Group (SPG) to showcase the sculpture titled “Here, My waiting” by Joy Baek, which has been borrowed from the SPG Loan scheme. This scheme aims to prolong the lifespan of artworks that are currently in long term storage. It enables people to appreciate and take care of the artwork, sometimes outside of a traditional gallery setting.

Graham Rooney, Operation Director at The Stove Network shared the following:

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the travelling gallery on its tour of Dumfries & Galloway. Connecting people and places through creativity is fundamentally at the heart of what we aim to do here at The Stove, and this project is a fantastic example of where we can support access to the arts in an exciting and meaningful way.”  

Travelling Gallery will be visiting the following venues, in partnership with The Stove Network:

  • Wednesday 1st November – Outside Stranraer Library, North Strand Street (Supported by Creative Stranraer)
  • Thursday 2nd November – YMCA, Lochside Dumfries (Supported by LIFT D&G) 10 am – 4 pm
  • Friday 3rd November – The Lockerbie Old School, 10 am – 4 pm

The gallery is free to visit, and everyone is very welcome. 

As well as visiting Dumfries and Galloway, the Travelling Gallery has toured the following areas:

Stirling University, in partnership with Stirling University 

West Lothian College, in partnership with West Lothian College

North Ayrshire, in partnership with North Ayrshire Council 

East Ayrshire, in partnership with East Ayrshire Council 

South Ayrshire, in partnership with South Ayrshire Council

Inverclyde, in partnership with RIG Arts

News Project Updates

Meet the Creative Spaces Team

Creative Spaces is an exciting collaborative project at The Stove which offers both paid and voluntary opportunities for the under 30s in Dumfries & Galloway.

The project brings together young creatives, from different disciplines, to facilitate an annual programme of events, activities and workshops, all designed to explore and develop artistic responses to cultural issues that impact young people in Dumfries & Galloway.

In May 2022 we were joined by 4 new members to The Stove team:

Mia Osborne as our Emerging Producer, Emma Forsyth, Morgan Love and Alice Griffin as our three Associate Artists for this year’s Creative Spaces programme. You can find out a bit more about each of our new teammates here.

We asked them a few questions so you could get to know them! Here’s what they had to say…

Q) What is your practice?

Mia – “I wouldn’t say I have one singular defined practice however, my skills lie in the production and facilitation of events and community engagement work. I hope to communicate these throughout the year as CS producer in order to aid the associates with the programming and delivery of meaningful community events.”

Alice – “I studied illustration at ECA and during my final year I started screen-printing, which I totally fell in love with. I like to make prints from found objects or textures which I combine with hand drawn and photographed elements, either digitally or by hand. I like to experiment with different printmaking techniques and my work is mostly a tool for me to explore social issues and connect with others.”

Emma – “My studies and knowledge are in theatre, and I feel I am still working out my practice! I love documentary drama and finding new fun ways to engage people in their own talented community.”

Morgan – “I don’t have a creative practice per se, my interest rather lies in the development of the local region and how the creative sector can contribute to it. I am also a Business student, specialising in Marketing, and I hope to utilise and develop the skills I am gaining in my degree and apply them to the Creative Spaces programme.”

Q) Where are you from? What draws you to D&G as a young creative?

Mia – “I grew up in rural D&G in a tiny wee village called Durisdeer. After leaving the area to go off to uni and circumstantially having to return, I was instantly drawn to a lot of the creative organisations in Dumfries because of the beneficial work they were doing for the community and it’s where I found I aligned best.”

Mia – “I grew up in rural D&G in a tiny wee village called Durisdeer. After leaving the area to go off to uni and circumstantially having to return, I was instantly drawn to a lot of the creative organisations in Dumfries because of the beneficial work they were doing for the community and it’s where I found I aligned best.”

Alice – “Originally I’m from Guildford, Surrey. I moved to Edinburgh in 2015, then to Dumfries in 2021. I moved down to Dumfries to join my partner. Aside from that I was looking forward to a slower pace of life and having more outside space. I had heard of The Stove before moving down but didn’t quite realise just how creative the region is.”

Emma – “I am originally from Dalbeattie, but moved up to Glasgow to study theatre. Even though I moved to the city to find opportunities in the arts, I resonate with all the work and projects down at home. The amount of good work getting created by talented people in D&G was what drew me back down.”

Morgan – “I am local to the area – I grew up in Lochside but have spent the last few years living close to the town centre. My main attraction to D&G stems from having a large root system in the local region, and I have a great passion surrounding the development of the town to become a place that is attractive and viable for young people. I believe that creativity in the region can act as a gateway to the retention of young people and hope that our cohort of Creative Spaces can begin to engage with young creative and build a lasting impact that entices young people.”

Q) What do you like to do outside of work?

Mia – “I love spending time with my family, partner & pals, specifically my wee niece. I get so much joy from exploring the countryside and swimming or paddle boarding when weather permits me to do so!”

Alice – “Most weekends I’ll be visiting friends or family, they are scattered up and down the UK so that takes some time. I’ve got two dogs, so I like to take them on walks and there are so many beautiful beaches nearby. I like gardening, we’re watching our first lot of potatoes and onions grow in our vegetable patch which is exciting. Lastly, I love food so I spend a lot of my time cooking and baking.”

Emma – “ love to cook when I have the chance! I also love to discover new craft beers, hit me up with recommendations.”

Morgan – “When I’m not working I like to work through my to-be-read/to-be-watched list, get out in the car and visit the Lake District or the Borders, spend time with my little sister, and combat burnout by taking ridiculously long naps!”

Q) What are you hoping to get out of Creative Spaces?

Mia – “I hope to make some great connections within the team & assist them through the CS programme. I can’t wait to showcase the work that we do to a wider audience across D&G in order to inspire young creatives across the region and promote D&G as a viable option for young creatives wanting to develop their practice.”

Alice – “I’m looking forward to planning and working on some exciting projects. I’m hoping to meet a network of other young creatives in the region. Also, I’d like to learn as much as I can about marketing and how to run a creative business.”

Emma – “I hope to help at least one young person to find a creative outlet in their hometown.”

Morgan – “Beyond hoping to develop the skills and interests I am coming into the programme with, as well as discovering some new ones, I have a keen interest in engaging with the wider region, hoping to incorporate the “G” in D&G as much as possible. I also hope to foster a link with the local schools to promote CS to local young people who are looking for a future in the creative sector.”

Q) And finally, what’s your Stove Cafe order?

Mia – “It’s definitely an extra crispy bacon sandwich on chia bread & a decaf tea with oat milk or a big glass of water (because hydration is key).”

Alice – “A flat white or an iced coffee depending on how I’m feeling. Food wise, either a bacon sandwich or some form of toastie.”

Emma – “Vegan toastie, side salad or salt and vinegar crisps and coconut latte.”

Morgan – “Recently, it’s been a bacon roll and a small caramel latte.”

News Opportunities

Emerging Producer

Deadline for Applications extended to: Sunday 1st May, midnight

Emerging Producer

Part-Time: 2.5 days per week (17.5 hours)

Fixed Term 12 months

Salary: £20,000 pro-rata (equates to £10,000)

Holiday entitlement: 17 Days

Start Date: May 2022

Are you looking for an opportunity to develop your skills in the creative sector?

Know how to connect with and inspire people under 30?

Are you looking to work with a community focussed team to deliver innovative projects and activities?

Then you’re in the right place…

We’re on the hunt for an Emerging Producer to join our team, primarily to support the work of the Creative Spaces (CS) project.

This is an exciting role that will work to support the Creative Spaces Associate Artists on the design and facilitation of a programme of creative activities to engage and inspire people under 30 in Dumfries & Galloway.

As part of our dynamic and award-winning team, the successful candidate will work alongside us in shaping the over-all development of our community venue programme as well as support our vision to be an innovative organisation dedicated to a community-led future for Dumfries & Galloway.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Act as the first point of contact for all enquires relating to the CS Project
  • Identify engagement opportunities for the target demographic of the CS project within Dumfries & Galloway
  • Assist with the Design and facilitation of the CS Programme of events
  • Work with the CS team to design and implement a marketing and communications strategy for the CS project 2022 (with the support of the Head of Communications and Engagement)
  • Lead the planning and delivery of messaging on the Creative Spaces social media channels (with support from the Creative Spaces Associates and Stove Marketing team)
  • Research potential partners, external organisations, groups, and community initiatives that may be of interest to the CS team
  • Support the Creative Spaces Associates with identifying networking opportunities
  • Monitor and evaluate the CS programme of activity, including event details, participation/audience numbers, demographics, etc
  • Participate in creative and programming sessions with The Stove Team to develop the community venue programme
  • Lead the commissioning of a series of 6 short films spotlighting young creatives in Dumfries & Galloway

Desired Experience:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Good IT skills
  • Some experience in events and production
  • Some experience working in youth-orientated projects
  • Interest and/or experience in community development and the creative industries
  • Knowledge of the local area and existing network of connections
  • Ability to build positive relationships with colleagues, communities, and external partners

Person specification:

  • Adaptable
  • Engaging
  • Creative

How to Apply

Deadline for Applications extended to: Sunday 1st May, midnight

Please provide a CV and covering letter of no more than 500 words, identifying what interests you about this opportunity, why you feel you are suited to the role and any aspects you hope this opportunity will help you to develop.

Please send by email to [email protected] (max file size of 5MB) with heading Emerging Producer.


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,


Captive Art 3 Comes to The Stove Network

An exhibition of original artwork and poetry by inmates from HMP Dumfries opened on 3rd October at The Stove, Dumfries. Organised by emerging artists’ platform, blueprint100 and curated by local artist Morgan Hardie, the exhibition included creative contributions ranging from oil on canvas, pastels, watercolours, ink drawings, as well as a selection of written work.

An example of work from one of the inmates at HMP Dumfries.

John Oates, Learning Centre Manager at HMP Dumfries, commented, “The Learning Centre at HMP Dumfries has an ethos in which we try to encourage positive learning and positive learning outcomes, including equality, tolerance, inclusiveness and development of community spirit. Through creative practices, we aim to enhance self-esteem and break down cultural barriers; in short, we want to positively change lives.”

The Learning Centre at HMP Dumfries regularly hold celebrations of learning achievement, and the Captive Art 3 Exhibition was­ a chance for the prisoners to gain public recognition for their achievements, through the attendance of invited guests from the local artistic and educational community. Local SNP member, Joan McAlpine, and Oliver Mundell MSP were amongst those present at the opening of the exhibition, as well as Andy Huntstone, the Deputy Governor at HMP Dumfries. The inmates also had the opportunity to display and sell their work at a recent Creative Art Exhibition at HMP Dumfries, with the proceeds from all sales going to a nominated local charity.

Captive Art 3 - The Stove Network
Captive Art 3 Exhibition Launch at The Stove Network.

One prisoner commented, “All year long, the poets and artists at HMP Dumfries look forward to this particular event, as it allows us the opportunity to show the positive work that we can produce. The Creative Art Exhibition this year was much bigger and more inclusive than before, and gave those outside the prison walls the chance to see first-hand that there is creativity and enthusiasm to be found inside. Art in its many forms has inspired those in custody to express themselves and contribute to their rehabilitation.”

Inmates at HMP Dumfries with their exhibition work.

Captive Art 3 will continue to be on display in The Stove Café until 19th October.


Blueprint100 Go to Edinburgh

From Emily Cooper – portraiture artist and blueprint100 Intern


Earlier this month a group of intrepid Blueprint Members undertook an expedition to the frozen rain-soaked streets of Edinburgh in search of inspiration. Following an excited minibus journey we arrived at our first destination.


Jupiter Art Land, a few miles outside of Edinburgh, hosts a vast array of large scale art pieces and indoor gallery exhibitions the first of which was the colourful and charming work Myth Cart by Hayley Tompkins, whose work did it’s best to brighten our spirits with its vivid display.

Soon though it was time to brave the weather and explore the grounds. We came across works from classical style structures such as Ian Hamilton Finley’s Temple of Apollo and Xth Muse, to the psychedelic Love Bomb by Marc Quinn.


Particular favourites of the group were Weeping Girls by Laura Ford and Landscape with Gun and Tree by Cornelia Parker.


Another thought provoking installation was In Memory by Nathan Coley a piece in which tall concrete walls surround a replica graveyard of apparently reclaimed gravestones.

All in all, despite the less than ideal weather conditions Jupiter Art Land proved to be a valuable and inspirational experience and certainly got our creative juices flowing and after something to warm us through in the onsite café it was time to head into Edinburgh and find our home for the night. The world’s first shipping container hotel! Some were excited…others were not.

As we pulled up into a slightly worse for wear, overgrown car park and were faced with the drab, grey corrugated iron walls, hearts began to sink and trepidation became rampant, however after hesitantly pushing open the gates, relief reigned supreme and what followed was a great night’s sleep in a warms comfy beds surrounded by friendly, colourful people. Our only regret was that we only had one night to stay.


The following day began (somewhat late, after some difficulty navigating through the excessive crowds of fringe-time Edinburgh) with a trip to the pop up Arts Festival Hub to view the exhibition Platform followed by a guided tour of some other points off interest as part of the festival including the fountain of youth, created with the help of local school children!


The rest if the day was free time to spend in whichever culturally education way we saw fit, for some that meant visiting the National Museum and exploring the various exhibits on offer whilst one group visited the National Portrait Gallery and experienced an impressive collection of self-portraits ranging from Matisse to Rembrandt.


Art viewed, feet drenched and overpriced coffee consumed to excess, it was time for us to head home. A much quieter bus journey followed, interrupted only by the odd snore from the bus full of sleeping creatives. Thanks for having us Edinburgh, you were great…if a little exhausting!

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