Midsteeple Quarter is a community-led project to breathe new life into the centre of Dumfries. The Stove Network is working in partnership with Midsteeple Quarter to commission an artist/maker to create an innovative and changing artwork that demonstrates the support of local groups, businesses and individuals for the Midsteeple Quarter project. The artwork will be sited in the window of ‘The Smithy’ – one of the community owned shops on Dumfries High Street. As the project develops the artwork must adapt to incorporate the names of sponsors as they get involved.
In the first instance, the artwork will form part of a Crowdfunder campaign that will raise money to purchase more buildings for the community; but, the intention is for the artwork to have a life beyond this first campaign and become an enduring symbol of community support for Midsteeple Quarter.
The commission is open to artists and makers working in any medium. The developing nature of the work must be practical and achievable without additional expertise or expense. The total budget for the commission is £1000 inclusive of all fees, materials, expenses and VAT.
To apply please submit the following:
· A sketch design of your idea
· Images of up to three relevant examples of your recent work
This is a short turnaround project; applications must be received by 5pm Friday 15th January. The Commission will be awarded on Monday 18th January and the artwork will be in place in by 5th February.
If you would like to discuss the opportunity please contact Scott Mackay on [email protected]
Messages is a new artwork installation created by artist Helen Walsh, and sited in the windows of 113-115 High Street, Dumfries.
The installation will be on view from Monday 21st September to Monday, 19th October.
“We use envelopes to send mesages, to communicate, to share our ideas, our secrets, our hopes and dreams. Envelope also means to wrap and protect and in my installation I want to look at both these ideas. These envelopes represent some of my hopes, dreams and fears for us post Covid-19.
I’ve made the envelopes from transparent paper so you can see some of the contents, a sharing of my hopes, dreams and fears. I hope you’ll share some of yours with me by taking an envelope from the box provided, working on it and then returning it to us at The Stove Network so we can add it to the installation.”
To get involved collect an envelope from either 113-115 High Street, or The Stove cafe and share your hopes and ideas of what life should be like after the Covid-19 pandemic. You can share these ideas however you like, drawings, words or another way – and return it to the Stove cafe addressed to ELSEWHERE. Alternatively, if you are based outwith the town centre, post us your ideas to ELSEWHERE, The Stove, 100 High Street, Dumfries. Envelopes should not be larger than C5.
“The High Street is somewhere we thought we knew, and now it’s different, it’s elsewhere.”
Elsewhere is a research project by The Stove Network that looks to locate creative activity in the High Street of Dumfries as a means of exploring public space during a time when we as a community are responding to, and recovering from, the effects of COVID on our sense of place.
Helen Walsh is an artist and creative practitioner living on the Solway Coast. Helen specialises in drawing and textiles, particularly embroidery. Helen is continually fascinated by the natural world and our connection to it. Find out more about Helen and her work online here
Helen’s work is located in 113-115 High Street, a property recently purchased by Midsteeple Quarter. Find out more about the project here
Elsewhere is part of Atlas Pandemica. Find out more here
Elsewhere has been supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Regional Arts Fund.
A major report into Creative Placemaking by The Stove Network has recently been released. It presents an in-depth investigation into the importance, impact and potential influence of Creative Placemaking for the local economy and wellbeing of communities in South of Scotland.
EMBERS Report aims to ignite creative and culturally-led regeneration by exploring the work and experience in Dumfries & Galloway and helping to define a joined-up vision for work in Creative Placemaking for the South of Scotland. Embers presents Creative Placemaking as a collaborative practice that uses the tools of arts, culture and creativity to work as part of our communities, responding to local needs to build a better quality of place.
In this time when community responses and collective action is at the front of everyone’s minds, there is a long history of community activity in the South of Scotland with people coming together to look at the future of their towns and villages. A common factor across many of these projects is the involvement and often leadership of creative people that are already embedded in their communities and collaborative activity with the arts, culture and creative industries.
“What we hope is that the Embers Report will be a map, advocacy document and proposal for support needed to further advance the really great work in placemaking that we can see happening in our communities. People are doing amazing things as part of their communities, bringing all sorts of life experience, expertise and ideas together to make a better place for everyone who lives there. Ideas don’t always work but when they do they are making a real difference in people’s lives.”
– Katharine Wheeler, Curatorial Team Member and lead on the Embers report.
The Embers report was produced with the support of South of Scotland Economic Partnership (the forerunner of the new South of Scotland Enterprise agency) and Carnegie Trust UK. Embers involved six months detailed consultation with people and projects working in local communities including Dumfries, Sanquhar, Lockerbie, Langholm, Moniaive, Stranraer and Wigtown.
With the coming of the Borderlands Growth initiative and South of Scotland Enterprise, there’s an unprecedented opportunity for the South of Scotland to create genuinely bespoke development strategies, suited to its unique character. Creative Placemaking should be at the heart of this through the way that communities are coming together to develop new social enterprises and place-based projects.
“We hope to continue to support Embers to strengthen local government collaboration with community groups and local enterprise, to enable communities to improve their own wellbeing according to local priorities.”
– Pippa Coutts, Research and Development consultant for Carnegie Trust UK.
The Embers report puts forward a series of clear recommendations which contributors hope will be taken forward by regional and national agencies operating in the South of Scotland.
Effective Creative Placemaking engages communities at grassroots level, building on the existing culture, activity and relationships in each place. It brings people, communities, groups and organisations together to co-develop better strategies for our places. It uses Creative Industries and spans Community Development sectors contributing to long-term social outcomes for our communities.
The Creative Industries play an important role in our towns, particularly at this time. It is vital that our region supports its creative sector, which has been such a success story in recent years. There are currently more people working in the Creative Industries in the South of Scotland than there are in agriculture, yet many of the people working in this industry are freelance and self-employed and the COVID-19 crisis has taken a terrible toll on these important local businesses. The Embers report presents a road map for integrating creative businesses into communities and the future inclusive economy of our area.
“How can we, as a creative agency for change, make things slightly different here.”
– Lucy MacLeod, Creative Director for Outpost Arts, Langholm
The Embers report is available to download by here: Embers Report
For a Clear Text Version: Embers Report – Clear Text Version
If people have ideas about how this vision can be taken forward please do get in touch with Katharine by emailing [email protected]
We’re gearing up for another jam-packed year of exciting events, art and creativity to encourage, gather, educate and bring life back to our town centre so we thought we would share what things we’re exciting about in the year ahead. And, as always, if you’ve got an idea, need some space, advice on starting a project or want to partner with us – we’re here!
So here’s what we’re looking forward to in 2019 – diaries oot!
Our literature projects are all about unwrapping the potential of the written word to provoke and inspire new ways of thinking, and this year the Lowland Project will be taking a dramatic step forward with an ambitious community play. The play will be developed over the course of 2019 and will reflect our town in a transitional phase of its history. Stay tuned for more information, opportunities and events!
SAVE THE DATE: 31st August 2019!
Yes, that’s right – NITHRAID IS BACK! Dumfries’ annual River Festival and sail boat race held in celebration of our beloved River Nith is the biggest event in the Stove calendar and returns to the Mill Green for its SEVENTH year! Nithraid is getting bigger and better with artist commissions, stalls, performances, music, sound installations and art throughout our community, so don’t expect anything less for 2019!
The Midsteeple Quarter Project had a brilliant year in 2018, rounding off with the news of the asset transfer of the former Bakers Oven to community ownership. For 2019, they are looking forward to creating an exciting programme of activity in The Oven which includes exhibitions, workshop spaces and events – all open to the public! Programme details will be shared soon, but in the meantime you can keep up to date with their news over on their website here: www.midsteeplequarter.org or by giving them a like on their Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/midsteeplequarter.
Dumfries Music Conference
After an incredibly successful 2018, the Dumfries Music Conference are back for 2019 with another programme of events for the year, offering people the opportunity to share ideas, learn new skills and make contact with some of the biggest movers and shakers in the industry. As well as their annual flagship conference in October, DMC’s 2019 programme includes ‘DMSHE’ in April – a female takeover month which will showcase the work of women working in the music industry. Expect panel discussions, workshops and a showcase gig – all led by some incredible females working throughout Scotland! #thefutureisfemale
The Stove Café
The Stove Café is the social heart of our social enterprise to bring new life to the town centre through culture and the arts and supporting community activity and career development for local people. This year, we’re looking forward to reimagining the café and making changes to improve on the look and feel of the space (The Stove Café 2.0!). Plans are busy being made at the moment but expect a big launch party in 2019 to celebrate a new era of the Stove Café!
The Stove building is a conversational space to connect with our projects in many ways, and this year we’re planning a ‘Public Space’ Exhibition to provoke discussion and engage everyone who steps into our doors. The Public Space Exhibition will use spaces within the Stove and outdoor public spaces, as well as use creative workshops, participatory activity and conversation events to welcome artists and the community to come together as well as host evening events and discussions located around the Stove and outdoor public spaces. We want artists and the community to come together!
Behavin’? This year we’re excited to be expanding our programme of performance, live art and theatre with an exciting mini festival in the works arriving this summer! To coincide with this, we’re working with the National Theatre of Scotland on the Start Residency. For more details click HERE!
The Edinburgh International Culture Summit happens every two years and is a part of the Edinburgh Festivals month in August. This years summit took place on 22-24th August and The Stove (inc Midsteeple Quarter) was delighted and honoured to be ask to address one of the break-out sessions of the conference.
The Summit takes place in the parliament at Holyrood and is chaired by the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament – Ken Mackintosh MSP. Our First Minister attended the first day and gave a speech of welcome to delegates where she highlighted the growing world status of Dundee as a cultural destination. The programme includes public sessions with keynote speakers – but also private break-out sessions where ministers are able to discuss new ideas without fear of being quoted in teh media. It was one of these sessions that featured The Stove’s Matt Baker, who gave a 10 minute presentation on how artists had been involved in community-led regeneration in Dumfries and then sat on a panel discussion with representatives of the Altofest from Naples and the Head of Arts and Culture from Google – the Panel was chaired by Martin Rose of the British Council.
The overall theme of the Summit was ‘Culture – Connecting Peoples and Places’ – this was developed in three themes (one each for the three days) ‘Culture in a Networked World’, ‘Culture and Investment’ and ‘Culture and Wellbeing’. The Stove was part of the ‘Culture in Networked World’ theme and our Policy Round Table was ‘Re-imagining and Re-connecting to Culture’ – during which Matt had to tell the assembled Ministers that the word ‘culture’ is banned in The Stove – as it just serves to exclude so many of the people in our local community.