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Conversing Building x The Stove Cafe: One Day Away

June 10 @ 9:00 am June 22 @ 3:00 pm

“One Day: Away” is an exhibition that offers a unique glimpse into the lives of New Scots through a participatory photography exhibit capturing 24 hours from their perspective.

Thirty disposable cameras were distributed among charities supporting New Scots and resettled communities, offering a poignant look at their experiences fleeing conflict or persecution.

Explore the resulting works displayed across shop-fronts, High Street windows, and the Stove Cafe. One day… away.

100 High Street
Dumfries, DG1 2BJ United Kingdom
01387 252435
View Venue Website

Access Information:
 Level Access in rear of building through adjacent close to left-hand side of the Cafe (facing the front of the building). To ensure your experience with us is as best as it can be, please do let us know if you have any specific access requirements and we’d be happy to help. Please email Kevin or Sal on: [email protected] or phone 01387 252435 and speak with one of our team. We are able to provide walk-throughs of the building before attending our events as well as assign seating before your arrival.

Conversing Building X AccessArt: Face to Face

May 6 @ 9:00 am May 18 @ 3:30 pm

AccessArt Turning Point Scotland has been part of the creative community of Dumfries and Galloway for over 20 years, facilitating creative opportunities for individuals and communities who have experienced barriers to inclusion.

Our commitment to this continues through our program of sessions & workshops we deliver out of the Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. We offer a wide variety of creative opportunities to individuals with learning disabilities and/or autism.

This year, the theme for Learning Disabilities Week is Digital Inclusion, as part of this week of awareness, our participants have produced a collective artwork to exhibit at the Stove Cafe, from the 6th to the 18th of May.

Technology is shaping our daily lives more than ever and the question of digital inclusion has become increasingly vital.

This was most apparent during the lockdowns when video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Teams replaced face-to-face social interaction with digital connection. ‘Face to Face’ explores the quality of the connections we make online It investigates the notions of “poor connection” and “good connection”. Just as a digital connection can vary in quality, so can social ones; our artwork attempts to visualise this idea.

The exhibition takes the form of a series of three-dimensional heads varying in size and levels of complexity. Each head is wrapped in a hand-drawn map that has been semi-abstracted through a process of drawing, collaging and re-drawing.

For more information about the exhibition or AccessArt, Turning Point Scotland please contact us by email, [email protected] Tel No 01387 950428

Face to Face is on display from Monday the 6th of May till Saturday the 18th of May in the Stove Cafe (closed on Sundays).


01387 950428

View Organiser Website

100 High Street
Dumfries, DG1 2BJ United Kingdom
01387 252435
View Venue Website

Access Information: Level Access in rear of building through adjacent close to left-hand side of the Cafe (facing the front of the building). To ensure your experience with us is as best as it can be, please do let us know if you have any specific access requirements and we’d be happy to help. Please email Kevin or Sal on: [email protected] or phone 01387 252435 and speak with one of our team. We are able to provide walk-throughs of the building before attending our events as well as assign seating before your arrival.

Musings News

Martin Hamblen on wakeupand (2024)

Artist Martin Hamblen shares an insight about his current exhibition at The Stove Cafewakeupand (2024). This guest exhibition was commissioned by the Stove and is part of our Conversing Building Project.

By Martin Hamblen

When is an exhibition, not an exhibition?

Google ‘exhibition’ and the definition that drops down states “a public display of works of art or items of interest, held in an art gallery or museum or at a trade fair.” Conversing Building is not that.[1]

I was feeling sceptical about the project until I read about this year’s Artes Mundi prize winner, Taloi Havini. “An artist from a small Pacific Island who has found unexpected resonances with her work in the mountains […] of Wales […] Hyena (day and night) […] dominates the wall of the bustling cafe at Chapter Arts Centre.”[2]

Usually, an artist writes a statement to accompany an exhibition. But this, unusual business, demands questions: buildings? conversing? Obviously, bricks and mortar can’t talk so what does The Stove mean?

Late last century, curator Nicolas Bourriaud published a book called Relational Aesthetics. He defined the term as “artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.”[3]

So, the chairs are talking to the tables, the tables to the walls, the walls to the windows, the windows to the street. Sometimes, the process of thinking about asking a question, and anticipating answers, stops the question.

Scientists hypothesise. To misquote Yoko Ono and John Lennon, they imagine. At The Stove’s AGM the guest speaker, Dr. Duckie, introduced the concept of “Homemade Mutant Hope Machines”.[4] The key concept being, believing that better worlds are possible.

The words on the windows, talking to the street, read ‘Colonial Cartography’. Sign written in a font akin to Coca-Cola (a famous fizzy drink that may be made of cabbage and caffeine). Fizzy sounds nice and innocent. But the process of carbonation means adding carbon dioxide. Sound familiar?

The ‘art world’ appropriates languages from other fields. Biologically speaking, plants pioneer places. The first plant colonises. Then, there is a process of succession and an ecosystem evolves.

According to the Tate “intervention applies to art designed specifically to interact with an existing structure or situation, be it another artwork, the audience, an institution or in the public domain.”[5]

This aesthetic intervention aimed to consider Cafe Culture, in the context of conversing buildings. I asked: Can we imagine a future (2074) when warmer temperatures enable landowners to grow coffee in The Highlands? Also, can we imagine a world without carbonated cabbage juice? Is it possible? Poetically, of course.

Further Reading;






News Opportunities

Cafe – Community – Creativity: Exhibition Call Out

The Stove Cafe x Conversing Building

We’ve spent more time at home than we ever thought we would. What sorts of things did you get up to during the past 14 months? Maybe you started painting again, or learned how to knit, or made collages to send to your friends or started taking photographs on your phone. We’d love to celebrate the little acts of creativity we have all made at home, and share them in our café.

The Stove Café and the Conversing Building project would like you to submit or loan your artworks to us for a Community Café Exhibition in June 2021. Works can be 2D or 3D, measuring no more than 60cm in any direction please. All artworks will be displayed in our public café so please make sure that the work you submit is suitable for all ages.

How to Submit

Artworks can be dropped off to The Stove Café during regular opening hours Wed-Sat, 10-3pm, but please make sure you have included your contact details so that we can return your work to you. If we receive a large number of submissions we may not be able to display all works. Please do not submit more than two artworks per person.

If you have any queries about whether your creative work will be suitable, please drop us an email to [email protected], or pop into the Stove café and ask one of our team.

All artworks must be submitted by Monday 31st May 2021.

The exhibition will run from the 2nd to the 30th June 2021.

Musings News

2021: The Stove at 10 Years

‘For me, the question of democracy also opens up the question of what does it mean to be truly human. And it seems to me that we need to recognize that to develop the best humanity, the best spirit, the best community, there needs to be discipline, practices of exploring. How do you do that? How do we work together? How do we talk together in ways that will open up our best capacities and our best gifts?’

Vincent Harding

Looking back, looking forward

Our first foot into the New Year might seem like little has changed. With a new spike rolling in with the first snowfall of January, a third lockdown begins. And as we huddle further into our little worlds the news cycle spins and bounces off the walls with the discovery of a vaccine. And for now, we carry on.

2021 marks ten years of the Stove’s work. And we’re immensely proud of what’s been achieved in that time; from festivals and events to community buy-outs and river races. Together with our community, we’ve shaped a new vision not only for the arts but also for the vital role that communities and creativity play in the shaping of our town.

This year, we’re focused on sharing and learning together again so that we can build and support new and ambitious ideas from the voices hitherto unheard across the region.

As of December, the Stove has been focused on building a programme of new projects that will allow us to delve deeper into connecting communities, ideas and creativity together. We want to build new connections, routes and opportunities for learning across our membership and wider region.

This year we want to discover new voices, train and support new ideas as well as deepen our relationship to the places beyond the town center.

We will do this by:

  • Creating new spaces for people to learn, share and take part in conversations to map the future of our region.
  • Continuing to explore and promote bold and innovative projects that connect people in a time of social isolation.
  • Finding the new stories and storytellers to help us navigate a world spinning further out of reach.
  • Focusing on localism and power by providing the tools necessary for communities to realise and shape their identities and futures.

Our programme will stretch across sharing skills in digital communication to help communities and artists reach further and more meaningfully to people, regional projects to support bold ideas concerned with community ownership and place-making and a responsive series of events and conversations open to all.

We are committed to exploring, developing and sharing how we work with other places and people and to continue the conversation online through our new podcast channel and other outlets.

Throughout January the Stove will be planning and organizing for the year ahead, so we encourage you to keep an eye on our website and social media for announcements, job opportunities and activity.

We’d like to once again thank our membership and community who have helped to shape our ideas for the year ahead by taking part in our projects, events, consultations and conversations throughout 2020.

And to celebrate ten years of the Stove we’ll be sharing the stories of those who have come through our doors, sharing their favourite memories as well as finding out what lies next for us over the next 10 years.

Whilst the road ahead looks rough, we’re hopeful our work will cement a new vision of community and creativity that seeks to support a fairer society for all. We can’t wait to see what comes of it.


Elsewhere: First Images

Thank you to everyone who took some time to visit Elsewhere last weekend, it filled us with hope to see the town again from fresh perspectives and in new lights.

The first of our images from the weekend are now available, thanks to photographer Kirstin McEwan.

If you weren’t able to attend in person, much of the wonderful work we included as part of Elsewhere is available to view online, see a selection of links below.

Elsewhere was supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Regional Arts Fund.

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