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News Project Updates

The Riverrun Series

Wild Goose Festival 2021

The Stove Café is proud to present, as part of this year’s Wild Goose Festival and in partnership with Wigtown Festival Company, the RIVERRUN SERIES.

Over three days, within the festival programme, Riverrun celebrates poetry and literature and features special guests including: Tom Pow, Hugh Bryden, Robin Crawford, Malachy Tallack, Alec Finlay and Esther Woolfson.

The Stove Café will host two of the Riverrun events on the 18th and 19th at its venue on Dumfries High Street, the third will be hosted online as part of the Wigtown Wednesday series on the 20th.

First in the series is Riverrun 1 – Life Is Still Life which sees the launch of two new pamphlets published by Roncadora Press and featuring poetry by Tom Pow and artwork by Hugh Bryden both of these are responses to the natural world during lockdown. The first, Life, through a range of emails sent to Tom, which he shapes into moments of haiku; the second, Still Life, through Hugh’s painted observations of an immediate world of plants and objects, which Tom responds to in poetry.

Hugh Bryden and Tom Pow have collaborated on many publications over a long period of time. Initially with Cacafuego Press, which they ran together, and then with Hugh’s own Roncadora Press. With both presses, Hugh’s visual presentation and attention to detail have been paramount and recognised by a number of awards.

This evening’s illustrated launch will be an opportunity to see and to hear this new work and to buy the pamphlets.

Riverrun 2 – The Lure Of The River, on Tuesday 19th October features Robin A Crawford, author of ‘Into The Peatlands: A Journey Through The Moorland Year’ (2018) and ‘Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers: A Treasury of 1000 Scottish Words’(2020).

Attendees at this event will enjoy a special preview of two new books about life on the river; The first, ‘Along the River: A year’s journey on the Tay’ (Birlinn, 2022) by Robin Crawford which interweaves history both human and natural from the Highland crannog on Loch Tay to the V&A at its North Sea Firth, an extract.

You never enter the same river twice and yet it remains. Heraclitus’s river flows, everything flows but the water that my great grandfather swam in as a youth is the same river that ferried my Granny over from Fife before the First World War, that I road bridged as a boy, heard the wintering geese return to as a student, saw from the window of the maternity ward at Ninewells as my wife’s waters broke as our son was born. It is all rivers, it is unique.” 

The second is Malachy Tallack’s; ‘Illuminated by Water’ (Doubleday, 2022), a combination of memoir, nature writing and reflections on culture and history, examining why angling means so much to so many.

Malachy Tallack is the award-winning author of three books, most recently a novel, The Valley at the Centre of the World (Canongate, 2018). It was shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize and longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. His first book, Sixty Degrees North (2015), was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and his second, The Un-Discovered Islands (2016), was named Illustrated Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards. Malachy is from Shetland, and currently lives in central Scotland.

On Wednesday 20th October, Riverrun 3, The Urban Naturalist, forms part of the Wigtown Wednesday programme and will be hosted online, featuring authors Esther Woolfson and Alec Finlay.

This special event explores the idea of what it might mean to say, ‘we are all naturalists now’; and, in the light of covid and COP26 questions what our relationship to the natural world might be.

Esther Woolfson, author of ‘Field Notes from a Hidden City and Between Light’ and ‘Storm – How We Live with Other Species’ (both Granta) argues that encouraging children and adults to talk about urban nature is one of the most important and neglected areas of possibility for change that there is.

Woolfson began her writing career with highly acclaimed short stories. She has been Artist in Residence at Aberdeen University’s Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability, Writer in Residence at the Hexham Book Festival and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen.

Esther Wolfson

During the pandemic, Esther has become increasingly interested in the boundaries between human and non-human, the links between how we treat other humans and other species and in finding ways of altering the traditional, accepted ways of treating other species which appear to have led to the development and spread of SarsCov-2 and the drastic loss of species which is further endangering all life on earth.

She’s joined by poet and artist, Alec Finlay, who has developed a practice that draws attention to urban nature as a way of stimulating our imaginations and our well-being.

Alec Finlay’s work crosses over a range of media and forms and considers how we relate to landscape and ecology, including recent projects on place-awareness, hutopianism, rewilding, and disability access.

His recent publications include the Scottish Design Award best publication winner a far-off land (2018), made for Marie Curie, exploring landscapes of healing; gathering, a place-aware guide to the Cairngorms, published by Hauser & Wirth (2018); and th’ fleety wud (2017), a response to climate change and flooding, as part of an artwork being created in Hawick, in collaboration with Andrew MacKenzie and Gill Russell.

In 2018 Alec Finlay turned his focus onto the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces. In collaboration with The Walking Library (Dee Heddon & Misha Myers), he created a generous mapping project, Wild City, which is available as a book. This features photographic and written documentation of a series of participative walks through Glasgow exploring wild nature,reflecting on the politics of green spaces and the commons, and proposing imaginative pathways to adapt to and reverse climate breakdown.

This fascinating conversation of ideas and experience will interest any naturalist and any urban dweller. Tickets for this online even are free but need to be booked in advance.

For more details on each of the River Run series of events, visit the Wild Goose Festival page, or book your free tickets below:

Monday 18 October RIVERRUN 1:

LIFE IS STILL LIFE

7:00pm – 8:00pm The Stove Café, 100 High Street, Dumfries Free but ticketed

Tuesday 19 October RIVERRUN 2:

THE LURE OF THE RIVER

7:00pm – 8:00pm The Stove Café, 100 High Street, Dumfries Free but ticketed

Wednesday 20 October RIVERRUN 3

THE URBAN NATURALIST WITH ESTHER WOOLFSON AND ALEC FINLAY

7:00pm – 8:00pm

For more information on the Wild Goose Festival check out the festival page: https://thestove.org/wild-goose-festival/

Categories
News Opportunities

Opportunity for Freelance Artists/Creative Practitioners in Dumfries and Galloway

The Stove has been asked by the Wheatley Group to help them find creatives in D+G to put themselves forward for grants of up to £5,000 to develop and deliver new projects with children and young people in the region. Wheatley is a national organisation for social housing in Scotland and they are working in partnership with Creative Scotland on this project.

In the first instance the project is looking for expressions of interest from creatives with an idea for a project that can help improve the skills, confidence and wellbeing of young people. Projects are to be delivered within a year (though do not need to last a whole year) and you do not need to specify a community you would work with as Wheatley will help connect artists to communities locally.

If you are interested, there is more information available here including dates for online information sessions.

Please email dermot.lynch@gha.org to receive an application pack. Deadline 5th March

Categories
News

Caerlaverock Stories

This year at the Stove, we are looking at the towns connection to Caerlaverock Castle, exploring the routes there from the town centre, the heritage and history of the site and it’s importance in the history of our region, drawing new connections and opening up the site to new audiences.

What are your connections with Caerlaverock Castle? What do you know about it, what are you memories of time spent there? What local myths and legends are connected with the site?
We are looking at stories: stories of history, environment and communities, trade routes and pathways, ways of living then and now.

To kick things off we’ve been meeting with local partners, gathering creative projects and looking at how we can be part of expanding the narrative of Caerlaverock.
The core theme of the project is Living on the Edge, exploring ideas of Peace, War, the Living Landscape and the Wolves at the Door – Caerlaverock is more than just a castle at siege but has a long and winding history – how much of it do you know? Caerlaverock is more than just a castle.

To launch this new conversation, we are mapping some of these histories, routes and pathways to and from the Castle in the Stove café. Pop in between the 6th and 28th of March to add some of your own, and help us build a bigger picture of Caerlaverock’s past – and future.

Do you remember your earliest visits to the castle? Do you have any great images of the castle or grounds that you could share? What does Caerlaverock mean to you? Get in touch, or let us know using #LivingCaerlaverock.

We will also be hosting a conversation between project lead Katharine Wheeler and Sally Hinchcliffe of Cycling Dumfries about routes to and from the castle, slow travel and alternative transport options. This will be a free event on Friday, 13th March from 5pm – come and join in the discussion! Full details here

A performance of Solway to Svalbard, led by musician and composer Stuart Macpherson in Caerlaverock Castle in 2019

The Stove is working with Historic Environment Scotland as part of their work to develop Caerlaverock Castle as a significant place in our region, specifically around what this place means to our communities to develop skills and learning opportunities.

For more information, contact katharine@thestove.org

Categories
News

Borderlands II – Journeys to the Ice Age

Borderlands II was a two day conference, including an amazing peat coring at Kirkconnel Flow, organised by Stove member and environmental artist Kate Foster, with delegates arriving from Northumbria and Cumbria, The Borders and D&G, as well as further afield.

The peat coring, led by Dr Lauren Parry, was a time travelling experience back to the Ice Age through the samples of peat and eventually down to boulder clay, six meters down in the depths of the bog.

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The second day was spent in the Stove, including exhibition and talks given by a range of speakers including story teller Malcolm Green, Dave Pritchard on wetlands, and Nadiah Rosli’s focus on Peatlands of South East Asia.

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Image: The corer used for the Peat Coring workshop, accompanied by artwork by Kate Foster
Categories
Musings News

For the Love of… Sphagnum

An extract from SUBMERGE artist Kate Foster’s most recent blog post. To read the post in full visit her blog here

Kate joined in our recent craftivism workshops, wearing Sphagnum on her sleeves (more on that here), inspiring a love of moss blog post.

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‘Living with water is important around the Solway, and I’m learning that Sphagnum is a kind of aqueous super-hero. An individual Sphagnum moss is a strand of water-holding cells that can collectively create raised bogs many metres deep, over thousands of years.

Complete raised bogs are now rare. Dogden Moss in the Eastern Borders and Kirkconnel Flow west of Dumfries give hints of what the landscape in Southern Scotland was like before bogs were drained and dug. Beginning  a tour of mosses,  I have discovered the equivalent of mountain-top removal has been inflicted on them. My eye is getting tuned to tawny strips on the low horizon.’

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‘This human-made drainage ditch has been dammed, a recent reversal of policy. Peatland Action is a restoration programme co-ordinated by Scottish Natural Heritage: the reasons to conserve peatbogs are beautifully laid out in the National Peatland Plan. Importantly, peatbogs sequester carbon and are sinks for atmospheric carbon. This process is starting in the blocked ditch at Kirkconnel, as Sphagnum strands start a slow and steady occupation.’

Kate has been working with Nadiah Rosli on her recent work Peatland Actions, which is part of our SUBMERGE exhibition. SUBMERGE runs daily from 10-5pm until Saturday evening, 12th December.

Kate and Nadiah will be speaking as part of our Question of Scale event on Thursday, 10th December from 6pm.

Categories
News Project Updates

The Lands of EAFS

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Environmental Art Festival Scotland (EAFS) is an international biennial of contemporary art practice in the landscape.

The Lands of EAFS reached out from the main festival village site at Morton Castle out into the Lowther Hills (South West Scotland), and were mapped by Andrew McAvoy for the festival. Artworks, installations, and guided walks and expeditions took visitors out into the landscape to make new discoveries and follow new routes. One of the festivals themes, on journeys and migrations encouraged alternative means of transport, from horse, to kayak and foot travel, and EAFS visitors were ferried about on our shuttle buses to various points encouraging new ways of experiencing our Lands.

This is what they found.

EAFS 15 was created and co-produced by The Stove Network and Wide Open working with the amazing Robbie Coleman and the  EAFS recharge team, with additional support from Spring Fling.