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Dumfries Is What We All Make Together – Charter 14 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 venerable 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.

Musings News Project Updates

‘Making Dumfries’ – a new Charter

Members of The Stove Network are gearing up for Guid Nychburris again. We have been involved in the festivities for the last 2 years and are finding it a brilliant opportunity to work with and talk to people in Dumfries about the future of the town.

Recently we have been inspired by some of our researches into local movements of people working together to make the places that they live in better by thinking creatively and taking practical measures like pooling skills.

Guid Nychburris celebrates the granting of a Royal Charter to the Burgh of Dumfries in 1395. We thought it would be interesting to speculate about the sort of Charter the people of Dumfries might grant themselves for the future prosperity of the town.

For absolute clarity…this idea of a popular Charter is NO way ‘official’ – it will have no formal status at all…it has not been ‘commissioned’ in any way. A group of local artists just thought this could be an interesting contribution to the conversation about the future of the town.

We plan to launch the Charter on Guid Nychburris Day (21st June) – getting people to help us ‘unveil’ it in a typically Stoveish manner and offering people special memorial copies that they can also add to and edit as they choose.

We are getting in touch now to invite you to contribute to the new Charter – our idea is that the Charter should focus on people and what is important to quality of life… to paraphrase the US constitution ‘ Each Citizen covenants with the whole people and the whole people covenants with each Citizen that all shall respect certain principles for the common good.’

The Stove already has long standing partnerships with groups and individuals working in these areas – over the next couple of weeks we will be asking people to help us come up with a phrase (20 words max) for their particular area of interest that we can add to the new Charter.

We propose that the Charter begins with the statement that:

We promise each other that our making together will be shaped by these values, for the common good

  • Our idea is that this opening is followed by a series of statements about how the town regards the following:
    • Young People
    • Diversity
    • People with disabilities
    • Enterprise and opportunity
    • Culture and creativity
    • Heritage
    • Environment
    • Belief
    • Civic society and local democracy

This is also a completely open invitation to anyone with an interest in this project to take part….please either leave a comment at the bottom of this post, drop us an email at [email protected] or contact us through Facebook or Twitter.

Also let us know if you are interested to be involved in being part of the project team to bring all this to fruition for Guid Nuychburris Day and beyond

We are not intending crediting individual contributions on the Charter itself – but we would hope to list everyone involved as part of the project documentation. Please include with your contribution the way you would like to be credited or a confirmation that your contribution should be anonymous

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