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Creative Spaces – The Power of Community

By Leanne Bradwick

Creative Spaces has been supporting me for the last 10 months, helping build the confidence I needed to establish myself as an artist within my own practice, but also supporting me to make new connections that have helped me break into the realm of community art.

This experience has given me the opportunity to explore a large variety of creative ventures and has allowed me to engage with the young people of D&G.

Hear more about my experience and what I’ve learned through the Creative Spaces programme below…

Since completing her time as a Creative Spaces Associate Artist, Leanne has secured regular work helping the community as part of the production team at The Stove Network.

Musings News

Accessibility and Inclusion, Reflections: Winston Denerley

Guest Blog Post by Winston Denerley

Over the past few months Winston has been working with the Stove team, and particularly the Creative Spaces and Soap Box projects to help us explore how to make our programming more accessible for the D/deaf community. We’ve learned a lot and really enjoyed having Winston as part of the team, and are looking forward to the conversations going forward!

Still of the BSL version of the Learn page available on our website here

“It was a really interesting start to my time with the Stove Network. I was proposing a project consisting of a Deaf Hub/Festival within the Kirkcudbright Arts and Crafts Festival. Due to complications with COVID-19, this had to be delayed and put on the back burner. While speaking with Katharine Wheeler about this project idea, she mentioned the Stove’s need to be more accessible, aware and inclusive of people with disabilities. Because of my lived-in experience of the deaf community, current studies of British Sign Language and passion for inclusivity, we felt as though I would be able to fulfil the organisation’s need to be more inclusive.

Over my short time working (remotely) for the Stove Network, I have really enjoyed being the voice for people that need it and invoking necessary change. To do this I have created British Sign Language interpretations of the website, contributed to meetings, been involved in a successful panel on Inclusive Communication and held an ‘Accessibility in the Arts’ conversation on the 28th of May. Both the panel and the conversation had a diverse mix of organisation representatives and disabled people allowing for important discussions to be had about access in the arts industry. In the panel discussion, I was a part of the team answering questions about my own experiences, however with the conversation I was a host asking questions and prompting responses from the speakers. I really enjoyed playing both roles as speaker as well as host and look forward to hosting/being involved in future conversations and discussions about important issues!

Screenshot from some of the content that went out on the Creative Spaces social media accounts in relation to the Accessibility in the Arts conversation

It has been really interesting to see a somewhat closed off industry learning to be more inclusive and accepting of different types of people. Through this, I have begun to wonder the significant changes that could be made to the world if all businesses, organisations, and corporations understood their lack of awareness and inclusivity and took large strides to change this. By doing this, some groups may no longer feel as though it is society that disables them because they are given the vital support they need. 

My mind is brimming with new ideas and projects, so I am excited to see what the future holds working with an exciting and constantly developing organisation that has all the right intentions. Conversations discussing important issues, content aimed at different audiences with different needs, project development support and so much more – the future looks bright!”


Mentoring and Collaborative Learning: Nithlight

As part of this years Nithraid Festival, The Stove commissioned artists Emily Tough and Philip Mairs to create ‘Nithlight’, a temporary light and audio installation for the Mill Green to close this years event.

Artist, illustrator and Stove member Stephen Pickering joined the team to mentor and support Emily Tough’s role.

“My minor input was in the form of mentoring Emily Tough, who undertook part of the design and construction of the public art sculpture for this event. The mentoring process went surprisingly well, and Emily was quick to learn, and keen to use any newly learned skills. She had strong ideas on what she wanted and how the finished sculpture would look and function, I merely helped by filling in the missing practical knowledge and experience.”

“This mentoring was by no means a one way process and lively discussions took place both before and during the construction-fabrication stage. From Emily I learned some new approaches regarding the promoting of my own business, and gained considerable confidence in my ability to pass on existing personal skills and knowledge while making myself and my processes readily understood.”

The final build for Nithlight, included the installation and rigging of ‘sails’ on the Mill Green which became projection surfaces for the digital content created by Philip – the inspiration and collaboration of which more can be read here:

Stephen’s first involvement with the Stove, was through organising and running a series of illustration workshops in partnership with illustrator Mark Toner. Stephen is an artist, maker and illustrator with a studio and workshop based in Nithsdale.

One of the exciting opportunities of the Stove’s Network is the potential for collaborative learning with artists, creatives and others across a whole range of ideas and projects. The skills and expertise existing across Dumfries and Galloway is a wonderful resource, and many of us have something to contribute to each other. In the future, The Stove hopes to become better at gathering, including and sharing this potential in our projects and works – keep your eyes peeled for information coming soon to Stove members.

If you are not a Stove member, and would like to become one, find out more here:

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