Categories
News

Feedback from the Stove’s Annual Gathering

Missed out on our AGM last month? We’ve got you covered with recordings of the two presentations shared during The Stove’s Annual Gathering. First up, a review of the past 12 months from Matt Baker (Orchestrator) and Katharine Wheeler (Partnerships and Development), featuring (approximate!) closed captions:

The second presentation looks forward to the year ahead, from Martin O’Neill (Artistic Director).

Also as part of our AGM we hosted a series of short members conversations reflecting on some of the key findings from our membership survey carried out last year. We wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the ideas that came out of these five really interesting sessions.

  • a creative exploration of night time culture
  • a debating club
  • a debating club for Disabled Access
  • Digital recording of live events at The Stove to allow more inclusion for audiences who can’t attend in person
  • More making spaces – we need to move from attics to aircraft hangers to realise our potential
  • Signposting good practice nationally and internationally in social/community arts
  • Digital recording of live events at The Stove to allow more inclusion for audiences who can’t attend in person
  • Use technology to reach across distance
  • Make a statue of Ailsa in Fountain Square
  • Stove learning: Don’t just tell people stuff, support them with the means to do it themselves
  • See our towns and villages in D+G as mini-cultural hubs Its good for Stove to be more regional, but don’t forget about Dumfries, there is still a lot of work to be done doon hame
  • Analysis of the population in comparison to our current engagement reach – elderly inclusion 
  • Intergenerational working  particularly within the medium of movement
  • ‘Access to Choice’ – diversity in how to access events and activity
  • bring some of the ‘positives’ discovered during the past year into future activity 

There were loads of brilliant conversations between the 75 attendees, and we were sorry to not have longer to open up the space to hear from friends, members and Stove supporters after such a long period away from the Stove building, but hope that we can continue these soon!

You might notice that our website has had a bit of an upgrade to reflect our programme this year, so to explore more of our current and upcoming projects visit: home page, and Soapbox.

The Stove’s Annual Gathering

The Stove’s Annual Gathering

When: 6pm – 7.45pm (with a break)  Monday 22nd February 2021
Where: Online – advance registration is required, CLICK HERE.  Please note: An email will be sent to you before 22nd February with a link to the online event.
Who: Stove members and an open invite to others

The Stove Network’s ‘Annual General Meeting’ (AGM) is a very special feature in our yearly calendar, it’s the moment when all the parts of The Stove from our membership to core team and board members come together to reflect on the year passed as well as look to the future.

Whilst we usually host our AGM in November/December, the team decided to postpone this given the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic. And whilst our AGM is usually a social event with food and the chance to catch up with folk, this year has to be different. And whilst we can’t meet-up in person we’re sure our AGM will be as informative, social and lively as ever.

It is very important to everyone connected with The Stove that the organisation reflects the community it serves so we’d encourage everyone with even a passing interest in the work of The Stove to come along. Our AGM is a friendly space offering a fascinating insight into how things work, find out what’s coming up and see how you can be involved in shaping our future direction.

The Stove’s Annual Gathering 2020-21

  • Review of the Year: A visual presentation of the work of The Stove over the last 15 months
  • The Stove Board’s report for 2020-21: A brief summary of the activities of Trustees over the last year, including the finances of the organisation.
  • Election of the Board of Trustees for the coming year: Every year the members of The Stove elect a board of trustees to run the organisation on their behalf. All members attending the AGM will be invited to vote electronically.
  • The Year Ahead: A presentation, by the Stove team, of what is coming up for 2021-2022 that we know about and some of the things in development. This will also include a discussion of some of the suggestions and issues raised by Stove members in the recent members survey
  • The Body of the Kirk: Breaking up into smaller groups for short discussions of some of the topics raised.

Throughout the Gathering people will be able to ask questions and make comments and everything will be answered in the meeting or afterwards depending on time available.

One long serving member of our Board of Trustees (Del Whitticase) is standing down at the AGM, but everyone else is standing for re-election. There are some spaces for new Trustees to stand, if you’d be interested in joining this great bunch of people please get in touch with our Orchestrator, Matt Baker (matt@thestove.org) before the Gathering. Matt can tell you what is involved and how this all works. Del is a working artist, so we’d be very interested to hear from other artists from the community to be that voice on our Board; and we also have a particular need for a Trustee with legal experience.

We would like to make it possible for as many members as possible to participate in the process of electing the Board for next year – so if you cannot attend the AGM, but would like to participate, please fill out this form TSN AGM Voting Form and send it back to info@thestove.org

We hope to see as many of you as possible on the 22nd February!

 

Reel to Real Cinema At Home: United Skates

Reel to Real Cinema At Home: United Skates
Friday, 12th February 2021
Watch live from 7pm
Post-film discussion on Crowdcast 8.45-9.30pm

Each month during lockdown we are sharing with you a brilliant find that we have unearthed and that is available to view for free and online. This month we are delving into new Reel to Real territories courtesy of the BBC iPlayer.

Our film choice in February, is United Skates,a real gem of a documentary directed by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, that follows the story of three roller skaters fighting for their communities. These are stories of the places where we build community, of race and prejudice, and the drive and passion of underground subcultures to survive.

“For years, roller-skating rinks have been a constant for African-American communities across the U.S., serving as a meeting ground, a place to have fun and an incubator of iconic hip-hop talents like Queen Latifah and N.W.A.”

As America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community joins forces in a racially charged environment to save the underground African-American subculture of roller skating, which has been overlooked by the mainstream for generations – yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talents.”

After the film, we invite you to join us over on Crowdcast for a conversation about the film with a special stovie guest.

About Reel to Real Cinema At Home

As we look to explore how we can use collective film watching at home as a means to gather, share ideas and connect we’ve been delving through the vastness of the internet to source interesting and relevant stories for now, on film.

Reel to Real continues to share a film and discussion evening on the second Friday of the month online, until we are able to return safely to our High Street home in The Stove, Dumfries.

United Skates: Trailer

Introduction

Start here!

How to Watch

We’re doing things a bit differently this month, so to watch the film you will need a free account with the BBC, details of how to set this up here:

And to hit play on our selected film, United Skates at 7pm. We’ll make sure there is a clear link available from this page. Note that this film is available with subtitles, to view these use the subtitles settings button located on the bottom right of the BBC iplayer browser once you have opened the film.

We’d also love if you could stay for a discussion about the film, and some of the themes arising from it, which will take place using Crowdcast also on this page, at 8.45pm on Friday, 22ndJanuary.  Please register in advance here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/c23nkvbl
There will be a live chat in the run up to and during the film, so let us know that you are watching and any questions you have!

If you are unable to access the BBC iplayer, please get in touch and we will try to offer advice. For more information contact katie@thestove.org.

The Discussion

Let’s chat! Join us over on Crowdcast, sign up below:

powered by Crowdcast

Categories
News

The Stove Presents: Conversations at Home

The Stove continues to advocate for the power of creative community-led work in supporting and sustainably developing our places. We are doing this by continuing conversations at home, through activity with Homegrown and Atlas Pandemica, and also as part of local, national and international networks that provide opportunities for shared learning and inform and advocate for this Creative Placemaking work.

The Stove’s Embers report defined this placemaking practice as:


“a collaborative practice that uses creative activity to connect and come together with other individuals, groups and organisations and respond to local needs with innovative solutions that focus on social wellbeing and inclusion in our communities.” 

Embers

We continue to focus on opportunities for collaboration, shared-resource, cross-sector working and locally led innovation. This month our team will be joining key partners at two major public events (see below for details) to talk about how the Creative Placemaking practice of The Stove has led to significant change in the regeneration and development of Dumfries’ High Street, helping to grow social enterprises and community initiatives for our local communities. A most notable example of this Creative Placemaking work is Midsteeple Quarter (MSQ), now a Community Benefit Society in its own right, MSQ is a community-led regeneration project for the centre of Dumfries and an exemplar of a co-creation, collaborative community and sector led approach to economic development for its place. 

Matt Baker, founding member and Stove Orchestrator, will be joining Community Land Scotland and Carnegie Trust UK for ‘Community Ownership – Shaping the Future of Our Towns’. Katharine Wheeler, Stove Partnerships and Project Development lead, will be joining the Newcastle University Engagement Team for Wor Culture: Re-thinking the High Street and the role for Arts and Culture.


Please join us:
Community Ownership – Shaping the Future of Our Towns – Tuesday 26th January 2-3.30pm
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/community-ownership-shaping-the-future-of-our-towns-registration-132730463389

Wor Culture: Re-thinking the High Street – What Role for Arts and Culture? – Wednesday 27th January 12.30-2.00pm https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wor-culture-re-thinking-the-high-street-what-role-for-arts-and-culture-registration-135664737883

Categories
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.

Dumfries Tower of Light *CANCELLED*

In line with the current restrictions, and the rising cases of Covid-19 both in the region and nationally, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the planned Tower of Light for the time being.
We’ll look forward to bringing some light and activity to the town centre when it is safe to do so. In the meantime we hope you will be able to keep close to home, and mark the turning of these dark winter evenings as we move slowly back into a lighter time of year.

About Dumfries Tower of Light

Join us at the Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura for the spectacular Tower Of Light, a gentle midwinter celebration for all the family to enjoy. The iconic Windmill Tower will be illuminated by 1,000 candles for one night only and you’re invited to come along, make a wish and shine a light in the darkness of midwinter.
The Tower of Light will illuminate the Windmill Tower at 5pm on Sunday 10th January, running until 7.30pm. Audiences are invited to visit the site throughout the day to observe the installation and come back as darkness falls to see the full effect of the installation.
Visitors to the Midwinter Tower of Light are encouraged to add to the installation by reflecting on 2020 leave their own ‘message of hope’, to mark a significant moment in this year. As we step out of the dark and into a New Year and what looks to be a new beginning, it is hoped that the Tower of Light will be a way to connect the community and bring hope to those who visit, despite the difficulties the year has brought to everyone.

Visiting Dumfries Tower of Light

The visual artwork is fully accessible and there will be social-distancing measures in place. No booking is required, but stewards will be on hand to maintain safe social distancing throughout. If you are unable to make it along to the museum grounds, the installation will also be streamed online so that everyone can access the event.

Full details about the live stream will be announced shortly.

Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions the museum building will not be open during the Tower of Light event. There will be a one way system in place to allow safe visiting of the illumination which involves entry to the museum grounds from the corner of Church and Primrose Streets and access via the garden steps to the level of the Windmill Tower. An accessible alternative route is available for visitors with limited mobility, and stewards will be on hand at all times to guide visitors.

Car Parking and Access

There will be 8 disabled parking spaces inside the main gate of the museum (at the corner of Rotchell Road and Church Street) and an alternative access route for visitors with limited mobility and wheelchair users.

All other visitors arriving by car are kindly asked to park either on the Whitesands or Mill Road car parks and take a short walk up the hill to the museum.

Further Information and Contact Details

Midwinter Tower of Light is produced by The Stove Network in partnership with Dumfries Museum and Dumfries and Galloway Council.
For press information please contact Kirstin@thestove.org
For other information please contact Katie@thestove.org

Lowland: A play for your ears in two chapters

Lowland: A play for your ears in two chapters

Launching Thursday 10th December at 7.30pm on The Stove Network Podcast, and Part 2 coming Friday 11th December at 7.30pm.

“Barnside is sinking and its residents are ready to revolt. As the storm gathers and darkens, the local council have a plan to share. Only, not everything is as it seems and sooner or later, something’s going to give…”
An audio play in two acts, inspired by over 500 postcards reflecting on life in Dumfries written by Doonhamers. Lowland: The Play features a community cast, devised through collaboration with local writers’ groups, communities and members of the local council, Lowland is the tale of a consultation gone wrong.
As Angela, a council officer, prepares for a consultation, one year in the making, her boss throws a curve ball, eradicating all her best intentions, leaving her and her assistants in disarray and woefully unprepared. As a storm rages on outside, a community prepares a coup d’état…
Lowland is a dark comedy, offering a satirical look at the nature of community, power, local democracy and belonging.
Initially due to be performed in Dumfries, Langholm and Moniaive in March 2020, the play has been re-imagined as a podcast play in two chapters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To listen to Lowland

You can listen to Lowland via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcast search engines, or by visiting our podcast site directly, which we will provide a direct link here once these have become available to listen.
Chapter 1 will go live on Thursday, 10th December at 7.30pm
Chapter 2 will go live on Friday. 11th December at 7.30pm
Find out more about Lowland and the brilliant community cast by clicking here. 

Lowland: A play for your ears in two chapters

Lowland: A play for your ears in two chapters

Launching Thursday 10th December at 7.30pm on The Stove Network Podcast, and Part 2 coming Friday 11th December at 7.30pm.

“Barnside is sinking and its residents are ready to revolt. As the storm gathers and darkens, the local council have a plan to share. Only, not everything is as it seems and sooner or later, something’s going to give…”
An audio play in two acts, inspired by over 500 postcards reflecting on life in Dumfries written by Doonhamers. Lowland: The Play features a community cast, devised through collaboration with local writers’ groups, communities and members of the local council, Lowland is the tale of a consultation gone wrong.
As Angela, a council officer, prepares for a consultation, one year in the making, her boss throws a curve ball, eradicating all her best intentions, leaving her and her assistants in disarray and woefully unprepared. As a storm rages on outside, a community prepares a coup d’état…
Lowland is a dark comedy, offering a satirical look at the nature of community, power, local democracy and belonging.
Initially due to be performed in Dumfries, Langholm and Moniaive in March 2020, the play has been re-imagined as a podcast play in two chapters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To listen to Lowland

You can listen to Lowland via Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcast search engines, or by visiting our podcast site directly, which we will provide a direct link here once these have become available to listen.
Chapter 1 will go live on Thursday, 10th December at 7.30pm
Chapter 2 will go live on Friday. 11th December at 7.30pm
Find out more about Lowland and the brilliant community cast by clicking here. 
Categories
News Opportunities Projects

Beauty in the Broken: Call Out for Community Gardeners

As part of Atlas Pandemica, local artist Peter Smith is seeking local people to become ‘gardeners’ in the town.

‘Beauty in the Broken’ is a project which has been commissioned by The Stove as part of ‘Atlas Pandemica: Maps to a Kinder World’, which uses creative ways to chart the changes that have happened around us recently and to try and navigate the way forward into a more hopeful and shared future.

Peter Smith is a Dumfries based artist who works in fields of interactive art and wood-based sculpture and design.

Peter has created a series of Zen Gardens that will be placed around the town and is looking for a people to volunteer to tend the gardens over the three weeks they are in situ.

The project looks at the way in which Covid-19 may have broken us, but there is always an opportunity to repair in a new, beautiful way. We don’t try to hide these breaks and damage, but we repair our town and community – creating something unique and powerfully beautiful.

Peter sees this project as a social ‘Kintsugi’ – a method of repairing broken things in a way that embraces flaws and imperfections – worked out through the mindful practice of rock gardens.

The gardeners will regularly tend a set of sand and rock gardens throughout Dumfries every morning for 10-20 minutes. Rocks are placed on the field of sand and rakes are used to mark patterns and shapes into the sand. They will then be left for the day and a new design created the following day.

This opportunity is open to anyone – you do not need to have any gardening experience or experience in the creative industries. The gardens will go live over a 3-week period, from 18th January to 7th February 2021. The only requirement is availability every morning for 10-20 minutes during the 3-week period and to be able to carry some hand tools. The project looks to include a diverse mix of people from the local community.

If you would like to volunteer or for further information, please email ptr.a.smith@gmail.com.

The deadline to get in touch is Monday 14th December at 12 noon.

For more information on Atlas Pandemica, please click here.

Categories
Musings

Quarter-Life Crisis: Where was Martin Joseph O’Neill at 25?

By Hayley Watson

Feeling secure in your 20s is tricky at the best of times, and our generation are lucky to have a housing crisis, yet another recession and a global pandemic punctuating our continued ‘coming-of-age’ panic. Add a desire to pursue a creative career into the mix – if you’re reading this I don’t need to tell you how unstable this can feel because you likely already know – and you’ve got a recipe for a real headf..iasco. This interview is part of a series where I ask established creative professionals, people you and I might view as ‘real adults’, what they were doing at 25. I have my suspicions that they were probably as confused then as we are now and I’m determined to prove it.

This time around, I spoke with Stove curatorial member Martin O’Neill. Martin is a Dumfries-based artist, writer and producer and hosts The Stove’s monthly open mic night, Brave New Words. Looking back at his 25th year, Martin reflects on leaky flats, cats and the power of language.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and where you’re at now!

I’m a multi-disciplinary artist, writer and producer who’s trying to find a less pompous way of describing himself.

I live in Dumfries, born and bred.

As a ‘practice’, I’m interested in spaces, people, stories and inviting the imagination in. I’m sort of all over the place in that. But it’s usually about telling, and inviting the stories, that are often unheard, undervalued, or underappreciated. I also want people to have fun and share unique experiences together, even if it’s not in the way that I might have planned or predicted. All the better if that’s the case.

 

You were 25 between 2015 and 2016 There’s a lot going on in the world in 2020, but what was happening in 2015 and 2016? What’s the biggest news event you can remember from this time?

I can’t really recall what happened last week, so five years ago is sort of like a half-remembered dream, foggy snapshots of bad lager, cash in hand jobs, leaky roofs and 3AM jam sessions. That said, I cheated, and a quick Google search reminds me that the atrocious Charlie Hedbo attacks in Paris happened in January of that year and 2016 brought with it a new raft of misery in Brexit, Trump, the death of David Bowie and the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando. I remember quite vividly the news of the shootings in Orlando. As a gay man, this was particularly devastating. Shaking me to my core, it brought with it a stark reminder of the work yet still needing to be done in the fight for LGBT rights across the world, and a shiver that it could well have been me in that room.

Where were you living? Who with?

I was sharing a leaky 3 bed flat with two female musicians at the time. And a cat. And then several more cats (she had kittens).

 

Did you have a job? What was it?

I had started as a CT member at the Stove Network in, I believe, May/June of 2015. I was also working 7 days a week in the magnificent Coach & Horses.

 

Is there something you did when you were 25 that no one knows about?

Mostly everything I did at that time in my life was pretty public, either in a desperate attempt at notoriety or just the nature of what I was up to. Gigs, Brave New Words, installations, it was all there in the public domain, and still is, in all their amateur glory thanks to social media. Some awful graphic design was done in that time. And poetry. Bad, bad poetry.

 

What was your dream job at the time?

Whatever it was, it was usually about wanting to tell stories, so whether that meant being a poet, novelist, folk musician or dramatist, it revolved around that constant need to keep writing. I was also beginning to explore my practice as a visual artist and designer. At the time, I was way too conscious of the ‘27’ Club. Not so much for the untimely tragedy that befell them, but how much, and the quality of the work, their elite members had achieved in the time it took me to get a flat, find some steady paid work and land the occasional gig for extra cash.

 

If you had to choose one memory from your 25th year, what would it be?

The first Brave New Words. A really special night where some mad idea that folk might want to hear poetry together actually paid off. Who’da thunk?

 

If you could tell your 25-year-old self one thing, what would you say? And what do you think your 25-year-old self would say to you?

To my 25 year old self: You should be writing.

My 25 year old self to me now: You should be writing.

 

 

Are you where your 25-year-old self thought you’d be now?

 The last five years are such a blur of anxiety and chaotic thinking, that any thought of where I’d be in five years was clouded by some self-imposed pressure to complete something so short-term I can’t even recall what it might have been. Turning 30, that pressure seems to have eased off a little bit. You never do your best work when you’re worried about how you might be perceived. It’s better to just get on with it. And if it fails, move on, fail better.

We sometimes focus too much on success and forget how much our failures help us grow. What were your biggest failures from back then?

Too many to name. Mostly to do with poor communication. Mostly every problem is down to that. Just make sure you’re on the same page as others.

 

Finally, do you have any ‘words of wisdom’ for the 20-somethings reading this?

It’s not that far away from me so take this with a pinch of salt, I’m barely 30 as it is! But I suppose there’s an energy in your mid-twenties that’s really powerful, especially when you’re working with other, often older, more experienced people. You’re questioning, provoking, challenging and you’ve all the time in the world.  And that is so important. Be loose. Be creative. Make the mistakes and don’t overthink everything. But be mindful of others lives. Everyone has something to bring to the table. Everywhere. Also, language is a really powerful thing. Don’t let others use it to disempower you or make you feel small. But also, don’t play into those hands in thinking that is the ‘norm’ and adopting those same bad behaviours, it’s not, and it’ll bite you in the ass one day. Make sure to step outside of yourself every once in a while. There’s a whole world of lives herein, allow yourself to be passive. That’s when the best ideas come.