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Atlas Pandemica – Charting Two Years

This March sees the artists involved in the public art project, Atlas Pandemica, host series of events to launch the Limited Edition Atlases. The launch coincides with the 2nd anniversary of the first Covid Lockdown on 23rd March 2020.

Details for each of the four public events are below:

The Cafe at the End of the World

22 March 2022

Join Atlas Pandemica artists Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges and interdisciplinary researcher Joe Wood for tea and cakes and a discussion about how we might respond to the end of things.

Has Covid changed our view of how we live and can we use what we have learnt about grief and loss to explore and respond to the climate emergency and the fragility of the systems we live within?  Can the holistic outlook of the hospice movement  and ideas like ‘total pain’ or a‘palliative present’ be used to frame wider environmental challenges in our terminally ill ecosystems and provide a framework to respond to anthropocentrism, hyper-individualism, relentless economic growth and the cult of technology? When we are faced with widespread species extinction, extreme weather events and loss of habitats and homes, are there new ways of thinking that might give us a more meaningful basis for our actions?

It’s a Fair History.. A walkthrough the March Fair

23 March 2022

The Spring Fair returns to Dumfries after a 3-year absence. Did you know the last time the March fair was cancelled was during the outbreak of World War II? Learn some fair history and meet some of the Showpeople who travel to Dumfries from across Scotland to make it happen. 

Artist T S Beall and Showperson and Dumfries Fair Organiser Raynor Cadona will lead a walk through the fair and along the banks of the Nith, stopping at sites relevant to Dumfries’ fairs – past and present. Attendees will have a chance to meet some of the Showpeople who have operated in Dumfries for generations. 

Charting Two Years, Pandemic Tree Planting

25 March 2022

Inspired by one of Karen Campbell’s short stories in her Atlas Pandemica collection ‘Here Is Our Story’ Dumfries and Galloway Council Community Assets Supervisor Brian McAviney alongside Elaine Murray, Council Leader and Rob Davidson, Depute Leader will plant a ceremonial oak tree at Dumfries Museum on 25th March at 2pm.

As part of the public ceremony Karen will read from her collection and JoAnne McKay will read from her Atlas Pandemica project ‘What Remains’. Judith Hewitt (Museum’s Curator East) will receive an Atlas Pandemica atlas on behalf of Dumfries Museum.

For Love, Not Money?

27 March 2022

Annie Wild’s Atlas Pandemica project explored the life experience of unpaid carers during the pandemic and the significant role this group of people play in supporting the economy and society. People with any form of caring responsibility are invited to come and take part in a facilitated discussion in a friendly environment on their experiences during the pandemic. All welcome – occasional carers, former carers, paid carers, and people who aren’t sure if they are carers or not.

About Atlas Pandemica

The Atlas Pandemica project ran from June 2020 until November 2021 when it was featured in COP26 in Glasgow.

Atlas Pandemica is a compendium of 10 projects led by creative people, each investigating a different theme highlighted by life during the COVID pandemic. Projects worked directly with people in Dumfries and Galloway, focussing on the impacts and the learning from the community’s experience of the evolving pandemic.

The Project was conceived and is managed by the team at The Stove Network and curated by Matt Baker and Robbie Coleman. The project was supported by Scottish Government’s ‘Supporting Communities Fund.’

The project now has been published as a limited-edition Atlas which comprises a set of 10 maps, each of which presenting one of the Atlas Pandemica projects as a map to a kinder world.

All of the Atlas Pandemic Maps can be viewed here.

The Atlases

The work of the 10 artists who worked with communities impacted by the Covid pandemic has been published as a set of ten ‘Maps to a Kinder World’ within a special limited edition of 50 Atlases. The Atlases are being presented to people and institutions that Atlas Pandemica believe will make good use of them in taking forward some of the positive lessons learned during the last two years. Watch out for coverage of the Atlases being presented around the country.


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

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