Categories
News Opportunities Projects

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? 

Categories
News Opportunities Projects

Call Out for Eight Commissions


We believe that a creative voice is vital in the conversation about the futures being planned for our communities. To that end, we are gathering together creative practitioners, from all walks of life, to work collectively on a project that will examine the way our society is reacting to the COVID pandemic and make creative responses to what is happening and what could happen in the future.  

SOLIDARITY   +   OPEN-HEARTEDNESS   +   PERSEVERANCE   +   INSIGHT 

 
The pandemic is both local and global as it is lived by individuals and communitiesAbove all, it is a collective experience, and one that must be looked at through different scales of magnification to reveal the different truths and insights about relations between individuals, communities and the larger influences in our lives; and some of the inequalities embedded within these, as well as the positive possibilities. 
Over the last few months we have all seen and sometimes participated in many, many examples of cooperation, generosity and care.  Maps to a Kinder World is a means of creatively learning and building on these informal networks and gestures of human solidarity. Can an Atlas Pandemica help reveal the real power of the local for the way we live together with each other and the environment into the future? 
Atlas Pandemica: Maps to a Kinder World is one means to support creative voices to be heard and offers an opportunity for new thinking, actions and innovations. 

‘Plan of Organization of New York and Erie Railroad’ by Daniel Craig McCallum (1855)

We are looking for eight people to work on the project. Each will be given a separate commission to explore a theme. Projects will be of an action research nature – working alongside people, groups, organisations and agencies to learn and engage, then making creative responses to the research that deepens understanding and the potential for further participation and development of ideas. Each of the eight creative journeys will be seen as a map (in the widest sense) that will be gathered together in an atlas of Maps to a Kinder World that can be used to help our region navigate to a new future from the COVID pandemic. 

We very much hope that you will be interested to take part in the project, if so, please do get in touch. We would like to hear from creative practitioners with an initial response to the project and proposal of what they would like to research and with which communities, people and organisations. We have identified a list of a themes that are intended to give an idea of the direction we imagine the project going in.We’d like you to respond to one of these and propose an approachyou would take to developing this. All options that engage with local activity and aim to enhance the future for communities are valid – we are committed to the idea that we are navigating uncharted territory.Supporting the greatest diversity of approach and people is our aim. 

Please follow this link for the proposed themes for Atlas Pandemica.

Helen Walsh ‘Feathers for Hope: Homegrown commission for Stove Network’ 2020

The Commissions: 

We are offering eight separate commissions to take part in the project. These are available to individual creative practitioners or teams (see Background and Criteria below). Each commission will receive an all-inclusive fee of £3,500 and the project is planned to last for approximately 5 months (NB we live in times defined by uncertainty). 
Commissioned practitioners will be supported by The Stove Network in terms of project management, partnership working and personal support. This project is about kindness and mutuality and we aim to create a collective support network around Atlas Pandemica with regular group check-ins and opportunities to share insights and learning across the group for the benefit of all. Sharing of work in progress will be an important feature of the project as it exists within an incredibly fluid and changing context. Commissioned practitioners will be working with the project’s co-curators (Robbie Coleman and Matt Baker) to develop their work in a form that can sit alongside the work of others to be presented as part of a collection of ‘maps’ in the Atlas Pandemica.
 

Please download the background and criteria for the project here.

‘Notabilia’ Visualising Deletion Discussions on Wikipedia. Moritz Stefaner, Dario Tarabelli and Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia

To Apply: 

Please send us: 

  • A statement of no more than 500 words stating how you would propose to approach being part of this project. Please include your theme of study and whom and how you would propose working with to explore this. 
  • Current CV 
  • Up to 4 examples of past work that you feel best supports your application – this can be in any form (images, films, texts, testimonials etc, links to online video or other online resources, etc) 
  • Please send by email to info@thestove.org with a maximum file size of 10MB 
  • The deadline for receiving submissions is 5pm on Wednesday 17th June 
  • Interviews for the commissions will be held virtually on 30th June and 1st and 2nd July. By applying you are deemed to be making yourself available for interview on one of these dates. 
  • We will always send an email acknowledging receipt of any applications. If you do not receive an email, please contact us again by email. 
  • If you require specific support when making an application please let us know 

Atlas Pandemica: maps to a Kinder World is supported by Scottish Government’s ‘Supporting Communities Fund’ 

Categories
Musings

Thank you Blueprint100!

Our current Blueprint100 team, Jordan Chisholm, Kyna Hodges, Claire Bell and Blossom McCuaig are all coming up to the end of their year with us and we’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the team for all of their contributions this past year. It has been an incredible 12 months working with Jordan, Claire, Blossom and Kyna and we’re excited to see what the future holds for these talented individuals.

The current team have been reflecting on their time with the Stove and are sharing their highlights, their triumphs and what they have learned on their year-long journey with us.

Jordan Chisholm

After a 4 week university placement at The Stove, Jordan joined the Blueprint100 team in August 2018 for an initial 6 months and continued for a further year with the new Curatorial Team. Jordan’s practice stems from both an interest in care and a performance art background and is deeply rooted in having conversations.

“My time with blueprint100 and The Stove Network has been incredible. It has been testing, eye-opening, uncomfortable, safe, uplifting and warm. I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime, to try and fail and try again and get some things right whilst learning how to respond to the things that don’t go how you once wanted them to.

Some highlights, for me, were being given the lead artist role for the Nithraid 2019 Salty Coo Parade; this project allowed me the opportunity to pay many young artists to contribute to this day (some from my own uni class, which felt liberating!)”

Read Jordan’s ‘Looking Forward’ blog post by clicking here.

Claire Bell

Claire joined the Blueprint team last year after hosting a series of Life Drawing classes as part of the Blueprint100 regular programme of activity. Claire’s creative practice is grounded in drawing and mark making, as she observes, captures and plays with these to uncover the hidden patterns and connections within.

“A big part of my experience, for me, has been the huge amount of varied learning experiences I have had; through getting involved with a great variety of events and activity. There was Nithraid, in which I assisted the running of workshops such as flag making, as well as making costumes for the procession, which I also took part in through the town centre. Other events I’ve contributed in both big and small ways, are: Drawing Queer, Behavin? Festival, Mental Health Week and our monthly ‘Open Studio’. Although brilliantly varied, this work was very different to previous experience I had had. I felt at times that my overall ‘journey’ lacked focus, however, I ultimately found such value in not thinking too much about ‘is this exactly what I want to be doing’ but just doing it anyway. I encountered so many interesting moments along the way and learned much more than I ever would have by staying with what I already knew.”

Read Claire’s ‘Looking Forward’ blog post by clicking here.

Categories
Opportunities

Micro Commissions for Stove Members

In response to recent current events, and what we know will be a very challenging time for many artists and creative freelancers, The Stove is offering a number of micro-commissions to our Stove membership.

We would like artists to make a creative response to one of four themes:

Open heartedness
Solidarity
Insight
Perseverance

The response could be in any art-form, including but not limited to, poetry, music or sound art, film, collage, painted or visual approaches, sculptural or digital but ask that you consider the work to be shared in the first instance on our online platforms as part of our new homegrown project, more information about homegrown is available here.

We will select and profile one artist or creative per week as part of an on-going series. Your work must be ready within a week of your award and it will also be a condition to make a short video in a Pecha Kucha style about your creative practice (full remote support for this will be provided) and share with us any online information about your work that we can use to promote you and your work to our audience and the wider region. You’ll need to be available to be in touch with us that week to supply information and content.

Selected artists will be offered a single payment of £75 for their responses. The Stove will award one commission per week with a quick turn around. There is no deadline, but new submissions will be selected on a weekly basis from the applications available.

To apply, drop us an email with a short proposal, to a maximum of 100 words to katie@thestove.org including your chosen theme in the subject heading.

You do not need to be based in Dumfries and Galloway to apply for these opportunities, but must be a Stove member. For more information on membership, visit our webpage here

Categories
Events Musings News

Solway to Svalbard: In Conversation with Stuart Macpherson

Coming up this Friday, 28th February as part of National Theatre Scotland’s Just Start Here festival in Dumfries will be the next development of Solway to Svalbard, an creative project led by composer and musician Stuart Macpherson, in collaboration with filmmaker Emma Dove and sound recordist Pete Smith.

Following a successful starter residency supported by NTS, and a recent trip to Svalbard on the trail of the barnacle geese – the project has continued to grow and develop, so we are so excited to find out more about how the work has been developing! Ahead of Friday, Stuart tells us more about the project:

_

How did it all begin?

Well… funnily enough it all started off with a commissioning opportunity through the Stove Network for one of their members to create a piece of work responding to the brief of Migrating Birds, to coincide with the opening of Kathy Hinde’s Luminous Birds installation that was coming to Dumfries.
At the time there was another Stove project exploring Dumfries’ ties to Norway and I thought I’d explore the avian link between Norway and Scotland.  I knew the barnacle geese that came to the Solway each year had something to do with Norway but didn’t realise that was just their spring staging point and they in fact came from Svalbard. Pretty impressive… there’s also loads of really cool mythology surrounding the geese which is fascinating.
Anyway, the resulting piece that I created was “Flight” – a migratory soundscape incorporating field recordings and free triggered samples.  Pretty early on in the process of making that piece I started to think about where they stop on their journey and the idea of exploring those environments.  I really liked the idea of incorporating visuals and some proper field recordings.  Also, I guess I had grown a bit of a fondness for the geese through working on “Flight” and felt that I wasn’t quite finished with them yet!

Its important to me that I make work that has a relevance to where I am and with what is around me.

I also wanted to work on this project with other artists that have ties to the region, Emma and Pete were an obvious choice, I love both their work, they’re really good at what they do and in fact both had been involved in some level with “Flight” too.

What about geese particularly sparked your inspiration?

Initially the folklore surrounding the barnacle geese was the bit that got me hooked, the idea that folk actually thought they hatched from barnacles on bits of driftwood… totally brilliant!  But I guess very quickly there was an admiration that grew for them, it is amazing what they do – the distances they travel each year.  They evoke a lot and represent all sorts of different things to different folk, all the while they’re just being a cool wee goose flying between here and the high arctic trying to eat the best grass when it grows and raise a family… I like that.

I believe you’ve visited Svalbard twice now, along with your key collaborator Emma Dove to record the geese as well as the natural surroundings. How has this affected the work?

I’ve actually only visited Svalbard once… and that was with key collaborators Emma Dove and Pete Smith.  We also have spent a fair amount of time at Caerlaverock filming and recording the geese and last April/May I spent a month on a wee island in Northern Norway (just in the arctic circle) where the geese spring stage on their way north.
So yeah, a lot of this project has been about filming and recording the environments that the geese pass but also about talking to people and what place means to them.  It was particularly important for the three of us to make it to Svalbard as that has really put things into context, to be able to explore the furthest extents of the flyway and get a perspective from both ends.

Its been an interesting one as a project that started off with the geese has ended up with lots of chat about people, its been a very organic process.  We’ve learnt a lot from each other.

How’s it been working with the National Theatre of Scotland?

I’ve been really enjoying working with NTS on the project, they’ve been incredibly supportive, not just with the narrative development of the work but also with the technical/practical side of things and being able to help hold the production elements of the project… something that I personally find pretty overwhelming.
They’ve got a huge amount of experience and all this resource that we have been able to access, so its been a really great process for us.
We’ve been working closely with director/playwright Davie Anderson and he feels very much like part of the Solway to Svalbard team now, having that outside lens to look at a project has been a really helpful.  He’s been encouraging and supporting us to explore different ways of presenting the work… its definitely been a change from what we are used to within our own practices and at times a little daunting but actually it has been really refreshing and enjoyable and genuinely feel the work will be the better for it.
Its also been great to work up at Rockvilla, to have a bit of separation to properly focus on a project has been super helpful, not to mention that it’s a really cool space to work in.

What should we expect?

That’s a hard one as we’re still working that one out ourselves… I guess showing the work through Just Start Here allows us to properly test for the first time all the different elements of the work, that up until now we have been unable to.  As well as figuring out how to actually make this work we’ve been focusing a lot on the narrative of the project, and feel we’ve got to a really strong place with that.  There’s obviously elements that will be missing for this showing, but we’re hoping that folk will be able to get a good idea of what the finished work might be like.
For lots of different reasons this is a pretty complicated show, we’re combining multiple screens with surround sound design and live musicians as well as dialogue and other more theatrical elements.  So on that side of things it looks and sounds pretty cool… not the kind of thing you see very often… especially in a social club.

What are the future plans for the work?

What is great about Just Start Here is that it is an opportunity to test ideas and to see how folk respond to those ideas.  There will no doubt be things that need tweaked afterwards as well as other elements that we simply have not had time to get to yet.  We have a rough diamond here.

As I’ve said previously I’m really enjoying working with NTS on the project, so would like to continue that journey and see where we end up.  But the idea would be to create a touring work… it makes perfect sense to me that a work based on migration should travel itself.

Solway to Svalbard will be a part of Friday evenings Just Start Here festival, in Dumfries on Friday 28th February. Limited tickets are still available for the evening are £5 per person, and available online here

Ease: Badge-Making Workshop and Discussion

Emily Tough, at We Agree on Eggs, will be holding a badge making workshop – developed with the support of a Blueprint100 commission.

A lot of us have intrusive thoughts, thoughts we feel uncomfortable with and try to hide. However, it is likely that we are not alone getting caught worrying. This workshop is a space for us to share and confront these ways of thinking. By making a badge which reflects some of your worries, you are not only getting it out of your mind, but are helping the wider community by realising we are not as isolated as we can sometimes feel.

By sharing with each other we will see how these thoughts, that can seem so frightening, are actually much more common-place then we would expect. Anxieties over socialising, upsets over appearances, struggles with our own sense of worth; all very troubling concerns which seem to affect a lot of us today. By sharing with one another, and the wider public by wearing these badges, we will open up the discussion about where these irrational thoughts come from and how best, as a society, how we can manage them.

At this first workshop taking place on Monday 4th at 7.30pm, there will be a collection of art making materials to help you make badges. One for yourself, and hopefully, more that you would like to make and share with the people in Dumfries. We will be putting donated badges in baskets around town, in hope that more people will pick them up and spread the conversation further. On Saturday the 9th people are welcomed back to converse and offer support to one another. We will ask how people felt wearing the badges, any learnings and if there were any special moments to share. Your ticket entitles you to both events in the hope you can make both.

We hope to see many of you there. Biscuits and tea shall be offered.

Ease: Badge-Making Workshop and Discussion

Emily Tough, at We Agree on Eggs, will be holding a badge making workshop – developed with the support of a Blueprint100 commission.
A lot of us have intrusive thoughts, thoughts we feel uncomfortable with and try to hide. However, it is likely that we are not alone getting caught worrying. This workshop is a space for us to share and confront these ways of thinking. By making a badge which reflects some of your worries, you are not only getting it out of your mind, but are helping the wider community by realising we are not as isolated as we can sometimes feel.
By sharing with each other we will see how these thoughts, that can seem so frightening, are actually much more common-place then we would expect. Anxieties over socialising, upsets over appearances, struggles with our own sense of worth; all very troubling concerns which seem to affect a lot of us today. By sharing with one another, and the wider public by wearing these badges, we will open up the discussion about where these irrational thoughts come from and how best, as a society, how we can manage them.
At this first workshop taking place on Monday 4th at 7.30pm, there will be a collection of art making materials to help you make badges. One for yourself, and hopefully, more that you would like to make and share with the people in Dumfries. We will be putting donated badges in baskets around town, in hope that more people will pick them up and spread the conversation further. On Saturday the 9th people are welcomed back to converse and offer support to one another. We will ask how people felt wearing the badges, any learnings and if there were any special moments to share. Your ticket entitles you to both events in the hope you can make both.
We hope to see many of you there. Biscuits and tea shall be offered.

Ease: Badge-Making Workshop and Discussion

Emily Tough, at We Agree on Eggs, will be holding a badge making workshop – developed with the support of a Blueprint100 commission.
A lot of us have intrusive thoughts, thoughts we feel uncomfortable with and try to hide. However, it is likely that we are not alone getting caught worrying. This workshop is a space for us to share and confront these ways of thinking. By making a badge which reflects some of your worries, you are not only getting it out of your mind, but are helping the wider community by realising we are not as isolated as we can sometimes feel.
By sharing with each other we will see how these thoughts, that can seem so frightening, are actually much more common-place then we would expect. Anxieties over socialising, upsets over appearances, struggles with our own sense of worth; all very troubling concerns which seem to affect a lot of us today. By sharing with one another, and the wider public by wearing these badges, we will open up the discussion about where these irrational thoughts come from and how best, as a society, how we can manage them.
At this first workshop taking place on Monday 4th at 7.30pm, there will be a collection of art making materials to help you make badges. One for yourself, and hopefully, more that you would like to make and share with the people in Dumfries. We will be putting donated badges in baskets around town, in hope that more people will pick them up and spread the conversation further. On Saturday the 9th people are welcomed back to converse and offer support to one another. We will ask how people felt wearing the badges, any learnings and if there were any special moments to share. Your ticket entitles you to both events in the hope you can make both.
We hope to see many of you there. Biscuits and tea shall be offered.

Ease: Badge-Making Workshop and Discussion

Emily Tough, at We Agree on Eggs, will be holding a badge making workshop – developed with the support of a Blueprint100 commission.
A lot of us have intrusive thoughts, thoughts we feel uncomfortable with and try to hide. However, it is likely that we are not alone getting caught worrying. This workshop is a space for us to share and confront these ways of thinking. By making a badge which reflects some of your worries, you are not only getting it out of your mind, but are helping the wider community by realising we are not as isolated as we can sometimes feel.
By sharing with each other we will see how these thoughts, that can seem so frightening, are actually much more common-place then we would expect. Anxieties over socialising, upsets over appearances, struggles with our own sense of worth; all very troubling concerns which seem to affect a lot of us today. By sharing with one another, and the wider public by wearing these badges, we will open up the discussion about where these irrational thoughts come from and how best, as a society, how we can manage them.
At this first workshop taking place on Monday 4th at 7.30pm, there will be a collection of art making materials to help you make badges. One for yourself, and hopefully, more that you would like to make and share with the people in Dumfries. We will be putting donated badges in baskets around town, in hope that more people will pick them up and spread the conversation further. On Saturday the 9th people are welcomed back to converse and offer support to one another. We will ask how people felt wearing the badges, any learnings and if there were any special moments to share. Your ticket entitles you to both events in the hope you can make both.
We hope to see many of you there. Biscuits and tea shall be offered.

Ease: Badge-Making Workshop and Discussion

Emily Tough, at We Agree on Eggs, will be holding a badge making workshop – developed with the support of a Blueprint100 commission.
A lot of us have intrusive thoughts, thoughts we feel uncomfortable with and try to hide. However, it is likely that we are not alone getting caught worrying. This workshop is a space for us to share and confront these ways of thinking. By making a badge which reflects some of your worries, you are not only getting it out of your mind, but are helping the wider community by realising we are not as isolated as we can sometimes feel.
By sharing with each other we will see how these thoughts, that can seem so frightening, are actually much more common-place then we would expect. Anxieties over socialising, upsets over appearances, struggles with our own sense of worth; all very troubling concerns which seem to affect a lot of us today. By sharing with one another, and the wider public by wearing these badges, we will open up the discussion about where these irrational thoughts come from and how best, as a society, how we can manage them.
At this first workshop taking place on Monday 4th at 7.30pm, there will be a collection of art making materials to help you make badges. One for yourself, and hopefully, more that you would like to make and share with the people in Dumfries. We will be putting donated badges in baskets around town, in hope that more people will pick them up and spread the conversation further. On Saturday the 9th people are welcomed back to converse and offer support to one another. We will ask how people felt wearing the badges, any learnings and if there were any special moments to share. Your ticket entitles you to both events in the hope you can make both.
We hope to see many of you there. Biscuits and tea shall be offered.