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My Time with Creative Futures

Blog Post from Community Artist and Stovie Kirsty Turpie

Growing up in the small town of Lockerbie, I was surrounded by a great sense of community. Some of my favourite memories include going along to coffee mornings in the town hall with friendly faces serving tea and cakes, doing arts and crafs at Brownies and playing board games at the youth club. All of these experiences gave me a sense of belonging and connectedness. When I began volunteering and working with Creative Futures in Lochside in Lincluden I quickly began to feel this sense of community once again and it is this feeling that made the experience of working for the project so exciting and unforgettable. Over the two and half years that I worked there, the project became increasingly integral to providing opportunities and events to allow the coming together of the communities in North West Dumfries. I was proud to be a part of it and to be the one that was now helping to provide the type of events and activities that I once loved as a kid.

One of my highlights event wise was the two day Hell’s Kitchen Masterchef challenge in 2018 as it got young and old involved and allowed the public to come and share in the experience at the fnale meal on the Saturday night. The challenge was launched at Summerhill Community Centre in June by Scotland’s national chef and TV personality Gary MacLean. Teams of six were urged to sign up for cooking challenges over the summer with the fnal two day challenge including a master class by Gary MacLean. It took some time to motivate the community to sign up to a team but the perseverance was worth it as so much fun was had at the challenge.

On the Friday night teams were invited to Lochside Community Centre for the canapé challenge. There was a table of ingredients and a list of canapés they could make. Local MP Emma Harper joined the line up of judges and all of the teams got in the spirit and tried their hardest to impress with creative and tasty canapés.

First was the marketing challenge where they had to come up with a community event that they would hold with an imaginary £300, second was the cooking challenge with chef Gary MacLean and third was the hospitality challenge where they had to dress and set a table. Whilst the teams were doing their challenges I held activities to keep the children busy which included making chocolate crispy cakes, designing fruit faces and colouring in. There was a real buzz around the community centre all day and into the night with the community meal and challenge awards ceremony.

I was asked to co-host the awards ceremony with Gary and we even had a red carpet! The competitors of the day and the winning team The Rhino Chef’s were very chuffed with their achievements. The Rhino Chef’s won £300 to fund their community idea from the marketing challenge. Fast forward a year later and this idea became a reality with North West’s Got Talent going ahead at Lincluden Community Centre… another fantastic night!

The Hell’s Kitchen Masterchef challenge is an example of many of the things that I enjoyed about working for Creative Futures… providing events across many diferent venues to get as many groups involved as possible, seeing community members find new skills and be proud of their efforts, having to take on more roles than just artist, running workshops in a large variety of themes, learning a lot about event organising and running and seeing community groups receive funding to do their thing. All of this and I’ve not even touched on the creative side of things…and there was defnitely a lot of that over the two and a half years.

My frst two creative remits were to work with the community to create new artworks for the Lincluden rhino statue, and to collaboratively design and build a commemorative statue for Lochside Primary School…not the smallest of tasks! It took over a year to see both of them to fruition and the journeys for both of consultation, research, development, collaborative work and creation were immensely enjoyable. And what was the material / technique that I fell in love with over this period…if you’ve seen or heard about the projects then you’ll know that it’s MOSAIC! Yes, all of those tiny pieces of shiny colour perfect for surviving outdoors and an activity that all ages can get involved in.

For the Lincluden Rhino statue artwork creation I held mosaic workshops at Lochside Gala, Nithraid, Lincluden Community Centre and worked with the Primary 3 class at Lincluden Primary school. To compliment the rainforest themed mosaics created I invited pupils at Lincluden Primary School to come up with rainforest designs for the metal work. This led to the fnal stage of the upgrade…the two day spray paint workshop at the rhino statue. We had the Creative Futures sound system along with us and had 30 children join in over the two days which created lots of hype about seeing the completed renovation. Local roofer Gary Barsch helped to install the mosaics and in May last year we held the launch party. Likewise with the installation of the Lochside Primary Commemoration statue local builder Malcom Campbell helped by laying the concrete base for the structure. It was great to work with local people on all levels to make the art projects happen.

After the completion of the rhino statue artwork and the primary school statue I wondered what would be next, but there wasn’t much time to think because there are so many active organisations in Lochside and Lincluden with plenty of ideas and it was coming in to summer… a busy time for providing events for young people and families. First stop was the YMCA who had just moved in to the former Lochside Primary School and had a newly found huge space to decorate. The building was our oyster! I took on the role of helping the young people decorate their reception area with a day to night themed mural.

In the summer holidays mosaics returned as I ran a workshop for the young people to create an under the sea mosaic for their art room. Through providing these workshops I built up a good relationship with the young people and felt proud to see them trying new creative skills and take ownership of their spaces. The summer continued with the creation of a bottle cap mural for LIFT’s NANA’s Park community garden space, and the Creative Futures summer theme Fashion & Festival leading up to the Day of the Region Fashion festival.

The creativity continued in to Autumn with October Holidays Art in the Park and painting a mural on the Pop Eyes Park electrical sub station with designs and help from the Lincluden Rainbows and Brownies. It was fantastic to be able to work on such a variety of projects and not only allow community members to join in on art projects but actually get them involved in brightening up the spaces in their area to make them more exciting and enjoyable places to be!

My fnal task at Creative Futures whilst packing up my stuff was packing up the Creative Futures room to be moved over to the projects new room at the YMCA centre in Lochside. It felt like an appropriate end to be seeing them off on to their new chapter as I was going off on mine. It was an amazing few years of creativity, community and fun… and I’m excited to see what all of the projects, local people and young people that I worked alongside get up to next.

Kirsty Turpie March 2020


Lochside Public Art Project Launch

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership and The Stove Network have unveiled the last in a series of four public artworks in a new housing development in Dumfries. The Lochside Public Art Project was commissioned by DGHP and created in partnership with McGowan Miller, who employed The Stove to co-ordinate and commission the works. Friday (May 10) saw the unveiling of the last of the works created by artists Kat Loudon, and Michelle Johnston working with with Chris Taylor and Tam Potts.

Ribbon cutting with local school children from NW Community Campus alongside (in centre, left to right) artist Kat Loudon, Councillor Andy Ferguson, Tony Fitzpatrick The Stove Network Board Chair, DGHP’s Chairman Bill Robertson, Councillor David McKie and Councillor Ronnie Nicholson

Based in and around the area of DGHP’s new properties at The Meadows, Lochside, the works have brought together the community, neighbourhoods, school children, the artists and DGHP.
DGHP’s Chairman, Bill Robertson, said at the final event: “This is an excellent series of artworks that really are a symbol of communities working together to achieve more.
“Having been here at the launch of the first works, Tattiefields, and now be here again at the completion has been excellent – the transformation in the area is just unbelievable and I’m sure the families living here will enjoy the art works for many years to come. Well done to all of the children, artists and contractors working on the project.”

Artist Chris Taylor (far left), DGHP’s Chairman Bill Robertson, Tony Fitzpatrick – Chair of The Stove Network Board and Katie Anderson sharing more about the Wildlife project.

Lead artist on the project for the Stove, Katie Anderson, said: “We’ve had a series of 24 community events connected with the project in Lochside, including workshops in local schools, events and activities in local community centres and as part of other community events like the Lochside Gala and on-site art workshops – these have been attended by more than 300 people over the 18 months.”

Design by Zag’s Signs and Symbols Pavement Artworks

The artworks were split into four projects to showcase artworks created by the local communities and schools in the area. The last two pieces of artwork unveiled on Friday were ‘Signs and Symbols’ and ‘Wildlife’. For ‘Signs and Symbols’, a colourful pathway was designed and created through workshops with local children led by Glasgow-based artist Kat Loudon, of Design by Zag, and officially opened during the launch. This came together following a children’s collage workshop.

The pathway leads to a seating area on the edge of Glentrool Park, creating a wildlife space for spending time exploring the natural environment The ‘Wildlife’ project was led by local resident, Michelle Johnston, with the stonework completed by local dyker Tam Potts and his team. The ceramics were created by Chris Taylor of Clayworks Studio based at the Crichton. The original concept was developed through workshops with local schoolchildren led by Michelle Johnston.

Wildlife Project by Michelle Johnston

My first year as Public Art Project Worker with Creative Futures

by Kirsty Turpie, December 2018

I began the position of Public Art Project Worker with Creative Futures Lochside and Lincluden in January this year. I was involved in the project last year as a Trainee Creative Producer, which seen me support Public Artists and attend community events. I really enjoyed being a Trainee Creative Producer so when the chance arose to become employed in this line of work I was excited and ready for it.

My challenge…to get residents in North West Dumfries engaged in Public Art projects. I was raring to go, and set up a weekly drop in at the Creative Futures hub under the name of Art in Action. The drop in ran for 5 weeks, and there were 5 local residents attending. We looked at local and international artists and public art examples and created small sculptures.

The name Art in Action has stuck and I have took it on the road to Lochside gala, a pop-up gazebo workshop in Lochside, Lochside and Lincluden Primary Schools and Nithraid.
One of the main projects I’ve been focusing on is the revamp of the Lincluden rhino statue. After research and consultation it was decided that I would offer the community a chance to create a new colourful look for the base of the rhino through the medium of mosaics. And, oh, have I fallen in love with them! I got up to speed on the mosaic techniques fast so that I could bring them to the public. In order to provide the mosaic workshops I had to do some preparation of ordering materials and experimenting. I’ve really enjoyed this part of the job. My background is in Graphic Design so I haven’t had too much opportunity in the past to work with large scale materials. So having to phone up builders yards, go to collect large pieces of wood and tile grout and having to use power tools to cut the wood to size have all been new and exciting responsibilities.

Kirsty and some of the team behind the new mosaics for the Lincluden Rhino

Another project that I have taken on through this position is the Lochside Primary School commemoration sculpture. This project has been a great opportunity to connect with the community on an ongoing basis and understand how to portray their ideas and history. In May I began working with the primary school pupils to design a totem pole featuring their memories of the school and it’s history since opening in 1962. It was lovely to hear the children’s memories and see them using paint and collage to get them down on paper. Back at the Creative Futures hub I drew up the final design comprised of six cement shapes to represent each era the school has been open. Mosaics would also be used in this design to create the children’s drawings and patterns and give the primary children a chance to learn this way of working. It is fair to say that they have enjoyed having a go. A small group of them came to the community centre and created the primary school logo out of mosaics and put it on to the first cement shape. In the summer I held a two day pop-up mosaic workshop in Lochside where families from the area took part. It is so rewarding being able to give people a chance to try something new and get creative. They always surprise me with their original ideas and creative flair.

Pop up mosaic workshops on Lochside Road

Something that has really stood out for me this year was in the October holidays when the Creative Futures team helped me to produce a whole week of art activities appropriately named ‘Art Week’. It was amazing to have the freedom to come up with a programme of events, and included in this a bus trip. Being able to organise a bus trip to be enjoyed by so many from the area and give them the opportunity to connect with public art, was truly brilliant. We took 32 people (adults and children) to Glenrothes in Fife where there are over a hundred pieces of public art. We went on a walk around the town led by local community workers who told us about the history of art in Glenrothes. It was great to hear people talking on the way back about how Dumfries could be different.

Visiting artworks in Glenrothes!

Not only the bus trip but the rest of Art Week was fantastic too. We ran the workshops 11am until 3pm and invited children to bring their own lunch. This gave us plenty of time to get artistic. Some of the local children came every day. Holding these daily workshops has shown me how much my confidence has grown over the past few years in this line of work. I now feel really confident planning and delivering workshops across many art forms.
All in all being part of the Creative Futures team this year has been brilliant in so many ways. It has given me the opportunity to run many different workshops, given me the challenge of adapting to using new materials, the chance to work on large scale projects, and learn how it is to work as an artist in a community setting. I am really grateful for the responsibility and opportunities I’ve been given, the team I’ve been working with and the new connections I have made within the community. I now feel a welcome addition to community events and people know they can come to me if they have any creative project or workshop ideas. I’m looking forward to continuing these projects and developing new ideas in the new year.

Stay in touch with the Creative Futures project by following their Facebook page here
More about Kirsty Turpie and her art practice on her Community Art page here


Groundswell: New Sculptures for Lochside

The second of a series of public artworks will be unveiled in Lochside in a public celebration on Wednesday, 12th December.

The artwork Groundswell is comprised of a series of six sandstone sculptures made from Locharbriggs stone by artists Susheila Jamieson and James Gordon. Over the past six months, Susheila and James have been based at the Family Centre on Lochside Road, carving each of the stones on site there. The artists thoroughly enjoyed their time in the community of Lochside and all the conversations they had with local folk and the workshops they did for the children.

The site for the works is based in the area of DGHP’s new properties at The Meadows, Lochside.

Groundswell is one of four Lochside Public Art Projects, commissioned by DGHP and managed by The Stove Network, who are based in Dumfries town centre. The first, Tattiefields was unveiled in September, and the final artworks will be installed in the next couple of months.

James and Susheila who are based in the Borders, were selected for the commission following an open call earlier in the year. James and Susheila said, “The idea behind these sculptures is to commemorate local quarrying and working of stone. Dumfries was built of sandstone and it’s history has been carved into it. Sadly, work has recently stopped at the local Locharbriggs quarry, the boulders for Groundswell were some of the last to be taken from the quarry.

We have really enjoyed, and will miss, working outside the Family Centre in Lochside.  It has been an  ideal way to meet people from the local community and we really appreciated all the encouraging , friendly comments and chats! Working in the public eye hopefully has let people have some insight into the process behind creating Groundswell.”

The artworks will be officially unveiled at the site in the Meadows at 3.45pm on Wednesday, 12th December. All are welcome to attend Full details available here.


Creative Times: March/April Issue 2

Creative Futures Lincluden and Lochside have started to produce their own regular Creative Times newsletter, to share all the different projects and events going on in North West Dumfries.

Pick up your free copy from the Lincluden Community Centre, or The Stove in the town centre, or you can download a copy following the link here: Creative Times Issue 2

This edition includes LIFT’s Tea in the Glentrool Park, details about the new Art + Action group led by Kirsty Turpie, the NW Photography Competition won by Cally Uygun, new funding for the area through the new Grub Club scheme. Plus lots of free events and activities to get involved with!

The next edition will be the hotly anticipated Summer Programme, appearing in June, so keep your eyes peeled..!

Image credit: Cally Uygun. Creative Futures Photography Competition 1st Prize.

Lochside Public Art Project: New Artists!

Following our recent call out for artists to work on two new commissions as part of the Lochside Public Art Project, we are delighted to introduce the artists that were selected! The application process was highly competitive, with a variety of brilliantly different artists applying from across Scotland to work on the project.

The Lochside Public Art Project consists of four separate projects, two currently ongoing, and these two new projects that are just starting, all four will be completed by the end of the year. The project has been created by The Stove Network in partnership with DGHP, (Dumfries and Gallloway Housing Partnership) to create new permanent artworks as part of their new housing development, The Meadows, in Lochside, North West Dumfries.

Our call out was for two separate commissions:

Corners and Offcuts
A commission to look at ‘left-over’ and ‘in-between’ spaces around the new housing development, that can create interesting places for residents to pause, and can utilise some of the underused parts of the site. For this project we have commissioned Susheila Jamieson and James Gordon, artists and stone carvers based in the Borders, and have previously worked on Summerhill’s Land Art project. More about their previous works available online here

‘Jamieson and Gordon are a design company specialising in creating public and socially engaged art installations in the UK and abroad. Susheila Jamieson is a professional sculptor and arts educator, and James Gordon, a landscape designer, also sculpts. We produce commissioned artworks in consultation with local communities. Cultural heritage and other aspects of place are often a starting point for developing ideas. Much of our work is abstract and is often inspired by the wider landscape and aspects of nature. Past commissions include work for Woodland Trust Scotland, Newcastle City, East Lothian, South and North Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire and Dumfries and Galloway councils, Sustrans and various housing associations.We use materials that enhance or reflect the environment including Corten steel, green oak, stone, galvanised steel, ceramic, bronze and glass. Our work is unique, robust and intended for outdoors.

Developing designs for artwork is often undertaken in conjunction with community/stake holder groups, and we enjoy working with and running workshops for varied groups including schools and adults.

We are delighted to have been selected to create new work for Lochside. We have worked in Dumfries before and know that different areas of the town have different identities. We are keen to create work that reflects and celebrates the unique character of DG2.   The artworks will be “carved in stone” and we are looking forward to working with the local communities of Lochside and Lincluden to develop ideas and designs. “Taster workshops” are being planned where local residents can come and try stone carving and tell us what they would like to see incorporated into the artwork – these will be advertised on the Creative Futures facebook page, and in the North West Dumfries area.’

Susheila Jamieson and James Rachan – new artists for the Corners and Offcuts commission!

Signs and Symbols
Our second commission, Signs and Symbols looks to create a new visual presence across the Meadows site, taking inspiration from the wildlife and environment of the surrounding areas, the new housing styles, and ideas from local residents. For this project we have commissioned Glasgow based Design by Zag, graphic design company ran by Kat Loudon and Kirsty Geddes. More about their previous work available online here

‘Design by Zag, run by Kat and Kirsty, is a design company based in SWG3, Glasgow. As trained graphic designers, we have a strong focus on research which we use to formulate ideas, drive concepts and create relevant and meaningful projects.

We are delighted to be have been selected by the Stove Network and DGHP to work on the Signs and Symbols commission. We look forward to meeting the people of Lochside to create this piece of work for the local area.’

Kat and Kirsty of Design by Zag: new artists for the Signs and Symbols commission!
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