Opportunities Project Updates

Creative Commission – What We Do Now: Lockerbie

WWDN: Lockerbie

Lockerbie Old School (LOS) in collaboration with the Stove Network are seeking to commission a creative practitioner(s) to work with LOS, its board, and local partners in engaging the community through an arts project exploring themes of possibility, identity, and re-connection.

Fee: £3,500*

Time: Flexible. To be agreed in early stages of the commencement of the project.

*There is a separate production budget associated with the project for materials and other expenses.

The Brief:

The creative practitioner(s) will work in Lockerbie, based at their High Street location, and use their practice to develop a project/series of events/artwork which invites the involvement of local people. The creative practitioner(s) will lead this co-created process to inspire new connections between people in the town and through this for possible future identities for the town to emerge which can be part of LoS’s ongoing work for the local community to take charge of its own future.

Following the key themes of; Possibility, Identity, Re-Connection, the creative practitioner(s) will work with key partners, community members and the residents of the town, it is expected the creative practitioner(s) will connect with individuals and groups in skills-based activity and conversation to understand, interpret and explore the future identity of the town.

LOS are eager to collaborate with a creative practitioner with a ‘hands-on’ practice in textiles, design, or craft to engage the community in new skills, utilising a dynamic creative practice to inspire and awaken new perspectives, ideas and hopes for the future. The project, it is expected, may serve as a prototype for forthcoming arts and community activities involving the wider community locally and regionally.

The commissioned artist will work with the Stove Network and LOS in determining the direction and approach of the project through a research an development period agreed by all parties, outlining key interaction points and determining the most beneficial approach to realise the project’s aims.

WWDN: Lockerbie, contributes in part to the ongoing ‘creative place-making* network’ of Dumfries & Galloway entitled What We Do Now. A collaborative project placing creative practitioners with community anchor organisations across Dumfries & Galloway, working with communities in a co-created process to explore and develop imaginative possibilities for residents, communities, and groups across the region.

The project, initially funded by Culture Collective, is one within a national network of socially-engaged, community-based creative practice across Scotland. LoS alongside the Stove Network are eager to hear from practitioners with experience in community-embedded practice, workshop facilitation and production.

*We define Creative Placemaking as: a community led approach that uses creative activity to support collective decision-making and positive change for people and the places they live.

About Lockerbie Old School:

The Lockerbie Old School Community Hub (LoS) are an anchor organisation for change within the town of Lockerbie and the DG11 postal region, aiming to put local people at the heart of regeneration efforts for their town. The Trust is run by a Board of volunteers who are working towards a number of significant projects in Lockerbie. Having been successful in gaining ownership of the former Academy through a Community Asset Transfer they have advanced plans to develop a not for profit but financially viable Community Venue where the people of Lockerbie can gather, learn and grow as a community. LoS are in the process of acquiring a permanent base on the High Street. It is intended that the space be a test-bed for future activity and will feature a community workshop space as well as act as a ‘front door’ to the Lockerbie Old School project for the local community to engage in.

How to Apply

To apply please send the following before 5pm, Wednesday 15th December 2022

  • Letter of Interest. This should tell us why you are interested in the commission, why you think you and your practice are suited to this opportunity and give us an outline idea of how you might approach the project if you were successful (NB we are NOT looking for fully formed project proposals at this stage – we are committed to arts practice whereby a project is formed by being in a place and working with the people there)
  • CV. This should tell us about your personal history, your experience and to date and give us an idea of the skills that you have.
  • Up to 5 examples of previous work. If you do not have 5 don’t worry – we are committed to making opportunities for people at all stages of their career, this is exactly the kind of thing we can discuss in an initial chat. We are looking for you to show us what you do in the way that you are most comfortable and happy with and can accept submissions in weblinks, photo files, sound files, or physical works (though please don’t send us original artworks!).

Please send your application to [email protected]

Submissions should not exceed 10MB in size. If you want to send or deliver a physical submission our address is: The Stove, 100 High Street, Dumfries DG1 2BJ

Selection Process

We are keen to hear from practitioners at all stages of development and from all disciplines. We’d encourage anyone interested in finding out more about the opportunity to get in touch for an initial informal chat – particularly people at earlier stages of their careers as we can explain more about what is involved in a project like this and what to include in an application. Please email [email protected] and we’ll arrange a time to talk (BSL interpretation is available)

It’s important that our people reflect and represent the diversity of the communities and audiences we serve. We welcome and value difference, so when we say we’re for everyone, we want everyone to be welcome in our teams too. Wherever you’re from, and whatever your background, we want to hear from you. We will accept applications from anyone and everyone who feels they have the skills required to fulfil this role.


Midsteeple Quarter Update after Online Survey


Over 800 people have completed an online survey which asked for views on the future of the town centre. From the sign-up on the survey and the two consultation events held since November 2016 there is now a group 0f 483 people in a mailing group to support this local project to re-populate Dumfries High Street as part of efforts to revitalise the town.

Melissa Gunn (University of the West of Scotland – who are members of the community partnership leading the project) says, “We have been overwhelmed by the response from people; we were not expecting to receive as many as we did, considering the number of people we had through the doors during our Bakers Oven event. Online surveys often bring out more negative responses, but here the opposite was true. We were particularly surprised by 40% of people saying they themselves would be keen to live in the town centre.”

The Midsteeple Quarter survey was completed by a wide age range of people with 20% of respondents under 35, the majority between 35 and 60 and 23% over 60. People felt that a populated High Street was important for a vibrant town centre. There was also strong support for a mix of accommodation from affordable tenancies to student accommodation and private flats available in the upper floors above the shops.

Confirming previous work conducted by The Stove Network, the consultations revealed support for a more diverse approach to the future of the town centre with a very positive response to ideas of enterprise, education, live-work, health services and restaurants/nightlife all being available  as well as more events, festivals and markets to encourage more footfall in the town centre.

Next Steps:
The Midsteeple Quarter project is developing fast including progress with:

  • Transferring the Bakers Oven building to community ownership to be developed as a business/education innovation hub with residential accommodation above.
  • Dumfries & Galloway NHS have joined the community partnership as part of their plans to re-locate services and staff as part of the changes connected with the new hospital.
  • We are moving forward with the formation of a new community company called ‘Dumfries High Street’ to steward the Midsteeple Quarter project for the benefit of local people.
  • Preparations are underway for a national architectural competition to test out the public’s ideas and shape a vision for the project that can be delivered by the community partnership.
  • Working with DGC Planners to embed Midsteeple Quarter within the new Local Development Plan.

All in all there is very encouraging progress around the project – the local media are reporting very positively (see BBC here) and we have cross-party political support. If you would like to know more detail or get more actively involved please reply to this email or drop into The Stove Cafe for a chat.


Chapter One offers Doonhamers the chance to buy back High Street

Over 15th and 16th November, The Stove Network led a two-day event in the Bakers Oven on Dumfries High Street to talk to people about bold new plans for the town centre. Midsteeple Quarter is an innovative way to encourage people to live back in the town through a community-led company developing a section of the High Street as a live/work quarter. Over the past year The Stove has consulted with members of the community and a consensus has emerged that re-populating the town centre is a major part of any plan to bring new life back to the High Street.

Chapter One
Chapter One at The Baker’s Oven, Dumfries.

Over the last year we have noticed a real shift in attitudes – in the past people tended to look to the Council to do everything. Now the conversation has changed to ‘what can we do ourselves?’. This is a very positive change and one that has been confirmed by the number of local groups becoming part of the Midsteeple Quarter project – these include: Loreburn Community Council, Third Sector D&G, Unviversity of West of Scotland, NHS D&G, Crichton Institute, Upland, MakLab Dumfries and many more including the Council.

The Bakers Oven became a lively project hub over the 15th and 16th November, featuring a pop up living room, discussions and workshops. It also featured the exhibition, ‘People’s Dumfries’; a collection of Dumfries inspired artworks, including models of buildings within the town by Frank Brown. The Bakers Oven also played host to in house writer and Stove Curatorial Team Member, Martin Joseph O’Neill. Through the night of the 15th November, Martin spent 12 hours writing as part of ongoing project – Midnight Moonlight Smalltown Rain. Words and thoughts appeared in real time on the windows of the Bakers Oven. Come dawn, the story was complete.


Over 100 people signed up to ‘The Dumfries Pledge’ in support of community development in the town and people also shared their stories of old Dumfries and contributed to the vision for a Midsteeple Quarter. Suggestions included a focus on the Whitesands as a tourist destination and entry point to the town, affordable live/work premises in the town centre to encourage new enterprises, bringing services like healthcare and education into the town centre and more of a focus on the history of the town, with Tour Guides and History Tours throughout the region.

Chapter One

People’s comments and plans from the exhibition will be on show in the Stove Café from Tuesday 29th November for the town to continue to comment and get involved. The project recently received a boost at the beginning of this week with news of seed funding from The Scottish Government’s Activating Ideas Fund. This will allow the local community’s ideas to be taken to the next stage of reality and The Stove building will continue to be the information point for the project. Anyone interested in contributing or signing up to the Dumfries Pledge is encouraged to drop in or get in touch with The Stove – [email protected].

Chapter One
Skip to content