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Musings

Love Letters to Europe

At 11pm on Friday, 31st January 2020 as Britain officially exited from its position within the EU and began the transition process of finding a new way forward – the Stove’s Conversing Building project invited attendees of the Big Burns Supper’s Europa Picnic hosted by the wonderful Hope London, and visitors to the Stove cafe to pause and mark the moment with us.

Audiences were invited to write and share a love letter of their own to Europe: to a memory connected to a place, or to a friend, a stranger, present, past or future, and add it to a large map in our cafe, creating a map of inclusiveness, of welcoming, of respect and care for each other and all those who would wish to make this place their home.

“It’s going to be a letter about the future.”

The map was on display in the Stove from Thursday 6th-13th February. Thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute a letter to the collection.

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News

Hello 2020 at The Stove Network!

2019 was an incredible year for us at The Stove – we had the opportunity to work with an amazing host of people and groups, and to share a wide range of events and projects, both in-house and led by other organisations and artists.
Our programme for 2020 is starting to fill up fast and we’re gearing up for another jam-packed year of art, community and creativity at 100 High Street, aiming to encourage, gather, educate and inspire. We thought we’d share a few projects that we’re looking forward to in the coming year – so get those diaries oot!
 

National Theatre of Scotland: Just Start Here

Next month, we’re delighted to be working with National Theatre of Scotland to bring you a two-day festival of brand new work from a wide range of Scottish artists. ‘Just Start Here’ features bold new work and will take over shop-fronts, working men’s clubs and the streets of Dumfries this February.
Throughout the day, intimate performances and provocative talks will take place in between a bite to eat and time to mull ideas over. The evening will see live music performances, engaging conversation and a chance to experience something unique.
The lineup includes Nic Green, Behavin’, Two Destination Language, Ashanti Sharda, Stuart Macpherson, Emma Dove & Pete Smith, Stewart Laing, Mele Broomes, SUE ZUKI plus much more to be announced! To keep up to date please visit the National Theatre of Scotland Facebook or website by clicking here.
 

Dumfries Music Conference: The Plaza

Inspired by initiatives set up throughout the country, DMC launched ‘The Plaza’ at their seventh annual conference back in October. The Plaza is a roving music venue, dedicated to the takeover of the under-utilised, the abandoned, the ruinous and the unusual.

The first Plaza took place at Soul Soup on Irish Street, with live performances from Quiche, Megan Airlie, Prussia Snailham and the Lutras, with the second Plaza taking place just before Christmas at the Secret Gallery on Friars Vennel. A special Christmas themed evening with live performances from Kate Kyle, Steven Thomas and Callum Easter.
With plans for a Plaza event every second month, the DMC team are gearing up for a year of scoping out the hidden music venues of Dumfries and providing a platform for bands to showcase their talent in a unique space. Keep up to date with the latest Plaza info on the DMC Facebook here or visit their website by clicking here.
  

Lowland

It’s now over two years since the Lowland project began with its first writer-in-residence, Stuart Paterson whose work with the Stove generated a mass of over 500 written postcard responses from poetry, short fiction, illustration and observations of life in a town in the midst of a transition. The project, first conceived as a means by which local people and visitors could contribute to a new contemporary portrait of Dumfries, has now since quietly developed with a core team of emerging writers and theatre-makers, contributing, devising and workshopping in the heart of the High Street. Now, entering into the rehearsal stages for its debut production in late March. For more information on the Lowland project and to find out how you might like to take part please email [email protected]

The Stove Café: Community Table

The Stove Café is the social heart of our network and, following a refurbishment last year, we’re looking forward to an exciting year of events and projects in the café and working with our community on a more regular basis. The Stove Café team are currently putting plans in place for a regular ‘Community Table’ where community groups and organisations can make use of the café space for regular meet ups, discussions or informal gatherings in a comfortable space with a hot drink and delicious food from local producers.

Nithraid 2020

Save the date – Nithraid is back! Dumfries’ annual River Festival returns to the Mill Green on Saturday 22ndAugust to celebrate our beloved River Nith with our community and partners. Nithraid is the biggest event in the Stove calendar, and with our eighth one approaching this year we’re looking at our biggest one yet – including opportunities to work with organisations, artist commissions, local food, live music performances, art installations and so much more!

For Nithraid 2020, we are looking forward to welcoming Dorothy Lawrenson to the team as our poet-in-residence. Dorothy will be researching the River Nith and its role in the life of the local community. The resulting work will be a collection of poems and podcasts, with each one concentrating on a specific aspect of the river.
Make sure you keep up to date with all our Nithraid news over on the Nithraid Facebook page here.
 

Embers – Igniting Culturally-led Regeneration across Dumfries and Galloway

Last year we had conversations with and gathered information from 21 groups and organisations from across Dumfries and Galloway with additional feedback and input from regional and national support bodies and agencies. We wanted to find out directly from groups and organisations working successfully as part of their communities more about the strengths and challenges of their work and build a picture of effective creative place making in Dumfries and Galloway and its impact for our places.

We are excited to share what has emerged from our consultation work and help build a case for a holistic approach to community focused enterprise and economic wellbeing, with the Embers going live at the end of February.

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Musings

Doughlicious: Baking Basics and Sourdough Starters

from Kerry Morrison

The last time I baked was some 30 years ago; Hot Cross Buns. They turned out like hot cross rocks. Inedible. I decided then it was time to give up on home made bread and yeast as my track record was littered with failures.

Fast-forward some thirty years, and, due to a series of events, I found myself attending the Douglicious gathering. To be more accurate, as a new recruit at The Stove, I was facilitating it. I meeted and greeted and made teas and coffees. And I watched and listened.

Kerry’s dough making notes


They were preparing sour dough. Liz, the wonderful woman who initiated Douglicious, handed out sour dough starter to all those who had brought with them flour and a bowl. She brought extra bowls and flour for those who hadn’t brought their own, so everyone had the opportunity to have a go.
I looked on. I was fascinated. I knew nothing about sour dough and I’d never, ever, thought about baking my own. I became engrossed and wanted to know more. When the dough was resting, we all sat around the tables, tasted samples people had brought with them, and talked about bread. I joined in.
I asked so many questions and Liz and the group were extremely accommodating, answering all of them. I took notes. At the end of the evening, Liz offered me the dough she had prepared. I hadn’t participated in the dough making, so was thrilled to be offered the sour-dough-in-the-making to take home and finish. I stretched it and rested it four times before going to bed.
The next day I baked it and it turned our perfectly: completely edible and delicious. Liz also gave me my own sour dough starter and I’ve been baking (dare I say) perfect sour dough loaves at home ever since. Who’d have thought it? Certainly not me.

Interested? The next Doughlicious event is on Wednesday, 17th July at 7pm. Full details available here

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News

Say hello to the new Stove Cafe!

The Stove Cafe 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. Last year, we started to put together plans to make changes to The Stove cafe to improve on the look and feel of the space and to open up the space more to allow for more customers. 
The Stove’s Project Manager, Graham, led the Cafe refurb, along with Duncan Clowe from Duncan Clowe Joinery. The work Duncan did, along with the help of his dad, was superb and we cannot thank him enough! Make sure you check out his Facebook page and get in touch with him if you’re needing joinery work done! Check out the Stove Cafe refurb process photos below:

Since we’ve reopened the Cafe, we have been overwhelmed by the response from our customers and have been lucky to welcome some new ones in too! When you buy a coffee at the Stove, you are being part of a new vision for your High Street. Your support helps us to create opportunities, run projects and an events programme for everyone. To keep up to date with news from The Stove Cafe, follow their Facebook page here or their Instagram page here.

And don’t forget – become a member of The Stove Network and receive 10% off all food and drink in the cafe! Sign up to become a member by clicking here.

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News

Stitching Our Story continues into 2019

Stitching Our Story began in 2016 as part of The Stove’s project ‘Our Norwegian Story’. The project was a series of events and activities led by Curatorial Team Member, Katharine Wheeler, which celebrated Dumfries’ unique connections to Norway. Stitching Our Story was created as a two day event and led by artist Deirdre Nelson. The event then turned into a 4-week block and was supported by our very own local artist and Archival Historian, Alyne Jones. Stitching Our Story has continued every month since due to the immense support and enthusiasm from a small focused group of stitchers. They meet on the first Wednesday of every month in The Stove Cafe, and spend a few hours talking stitching significant places on to map squares and sharing their unique stories and experiences of the town.

Initially, the group focused on places in Dumfries which played a significant role in the town’s Norwegian connection, including the iconic Rosefield Mills, which was used as the Headquarters for Norwegians in Exile during WWII. It was through their research of this particular building they were able to find out about other connections and places of significance and made time to sit together, talk about the stories that connect these places, share memories both old and new, the visions they had for these places and the importance they place on them stitch by stitch.

Over two years, the Stitching group have 20 beautifully stitched squares; some more detailed and others more sparse, all varied, personal and lovingly handled. The group are now looking to where they would like to go next with the project and are aiming to bring it all together for the end of 2019 and find a way to allow the squares to feel complete without covering every area in the same way. They hope to leave room for parts that are untouched next to areas that are more detailed, and find a way to display this work at the end of the project.

Norway is still very much an important factor in the stitching sessions and the group have continued to celebrate this connection when ever the chance arises – including the recent unveiling of the Whale Bench in Dock Park, which is situated opposite Rosefield Mills. They also recently joined Oceanallover’s Orographic micro-festival at The Stove to exhibit some of their map squares. 

Stitching Our Story continues on the first Wednesday of everything month from 3-5pm. It is open to all and they hope to welcome some new members over the year to help them continue to recognise important places in Dumfries.

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News Project Updates

International Women’s Day at The Stove 2019

This year we were approached by students Bella Green and Candy, to host a day of activity at the Stove to celebrate and acknowledge International Women’s Day. The theme for our event – Wake Up And Love More – was inspired by Kate Tempest’s Tunnel Vision, a song from her latest album Let Them Eat Chaos.

Our programme comprised of banner and placard making workshop, a two week display in the Stove café, an evening of discussion, food and performance and a film screening to close the day. Due to poor weather, we had to put on hold our plans to occupy the High Street, but instead created a warm and welcoming space in the Stove’s café.

Bella Green introducing the evening. Image credit: Kirstin McEwan

On the evening itself, we were joined by Women’s Aid for Nithsdale and the Stewartry, who were able to share with us some of their work in the region over the past 20 years and their current challenges. Performances included poetry and song, and even a short quiz compered by stovie Kirsty Turpie!

Smash the Patriarchy bunting!

Our film choice for the evening was teen drama Skate Kitchen, directed by Crystal Moselle and featuring the story of Camille and the all-girl New York City based skateboarding crew, Skate Kitchen.

All donations from the evening went to Women’s Aid.

Thank you to everyone who helped with the preparations for the event, our performers and speakers. All image credits: Kirstin McEwan

International Women’s Day at the Stove was part of our Conversing Building project, an on-going programme of events and displays in and around the Stove building sharing ideas and projects with wider communities. To find out more email [email protected].

Banners created during our open workshop
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