Our ambition to Get Dumfries Talking is coming to pass – people are really getting stuck in to the #OpenHouse speech bubbles and finding great ways for the town to express itself:
What would your house say?
What would your workplace say?
What would a park bench say?
What would the cannon in Dock Park say?
Taking part is super easy – just pick up a speech bubble from The Stove (or form cafes and shops around the town) – write a message in the bubble, snap it with your phone and post it to Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #OpenHouse…
A Public Celebration of the River Nith in Dumfries
September 2014 saw the second running of The Stove Network’s Nithraid. The project has two elements a) ‘dangerous sailing race’ from Solway Firth up the Nith into the centre of Dumfries and b)artworks and interpretative works that invite the public to discover anew the river and the spaces around it while they wait for the boats to arrive.
The stunning weather was a mixed blessing as the sailors ended up having to heroically row or paddle most of the 14 miles upriver. Nithraid organisers apologise for the previous incorrect posting of the results of the 2014 Nithraid. They should read:
The 2014 event should be remembered as extraordinary, not least for the dogged determination of the two crews who persevered to the finish in completely calm weather. Both teams refused assistance and rowed the entire course in the sweltering heat to an heroic finish. All other entrants disqualified themselves in accepting outside or mechanical assistance but distinguish themselves for their efforts under a fierce sun. Other participants include:
KKBT Sea Cadets
Encouraged by the success of the first staging of Nithraid, The Stove Network upped the scale of things for 2014. The ‘Salty Coo’ made a re-appearance with a new salty coat, and was paraded through the streets with a specially assembled Balkan Street Carnival Band and newly commissioned music from local musician Ruth Morris. The car parks beside the river were transformed by an eclectic street market, a scale model of the river with model boats charting the race, skateboarders, BMXers and rollerskaters. Visitors were also offered the chance to make their own Nithraid pewter button and these were cast on site with our bicycle powered foundry – designed and operated by Stove members Katie Anderson and Uula Jero. Also The Stove’s ‘Herald’ Moxie DePaulitte was in attendance with different groups she had been working with and all the background on the ‘why?what?where?who?’ of the Nithraid.
The ‘Salty Coo’ was hoisted aloft on a specially design ‘Coo Delivery Mechanism’ (designed and made by member Mark Zygadlo) and as the boats arrived they deposited their ‘art cargo’ onto the CDM. Josh from the winning boat was given the honour of lowering the Salty Coo and releasing it into the Nith.
Nithraid takes place on the highest tide around the Autumnal Equinox as this ensures sufficient depth of water for the boats to navigate the river. The salt on the Coo celebrates the highest point that salt water comes up the river at high tide (to the Caul below Devorgilla Bridge) and the Coo itself is released into the river at the spot where livestock traditionally forded the river in crossing between Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire.
People lined the Nith up the entire route with 300 at Glencaple and over 4000 in Dock Park, Mill Green and the Whitesands, all enjoying the carnival atmosphere and activities. The feedback has been incredibly positive with people unanimous about the potential of the riverside areas in Dumfries to become a major public meeting space and attraction for the town. Nithraid is part of The Stove Network’s ongoing project to actively engage people in the future of their town by staging events in underused public spaces and encouraging the idea that ‘Dumfries is what we all make together’
Members of The Stove Network are gearing up for Guid Nychburris again. We have been involved in the festivities for the last 2 years and are finding it a brilliant opportunity to work with and talk to people in Dumfries about the future of the town.
Recently we have been inspired by some of our researches into local movements of people working together to make the places that they live in better by thinking creatively and taking practical measures like pooling skills.
Guid Nychburris celebrates the granting of a Royal Charter to the Burgh of Dumfries in 1395. We thought it would be interesting to speculate about the sort of Charter the people of Dumfries might grant themselves for the future prosperity of the town.
For absolute clarity…this idea of a popular Charter is NO way ‘official’ – it will have no formal status at all…it has not been ‘commissioned’ in any way. A group of local artists just thought this could be an interesting contribution to the conversation about the future of the town.
We plan to launch the Charter on Guid Nychburris Day (21st June) – getting people to help us ‘unveil’ it in a typically Stoveish manner and offering people special memorial copies that they can also add to and edit as they choose.
We are getting in touch now to invite you to contribute to the new Charter – our idea is that the Charter should focus on people and what is important to quality of life… to paraphrase the US constitution ‘ Each Citizen covenants with the whole people and the whole people covenants with each Citizen that all shall respect certain principles for the common good.’
The Stove already has long standing partnerships with groups and individuals working in these areas – over the next couple of weeks we will be asking people to help us come up with a phrase (20 words max) for their particular area of interest that we can add to the new Charter.
We propose that the Charter begins with the statement that:
We promise each other that our making together will be shaped by these values, for the common good
Our idea is that this opening is followed by a series of statements about how the town regards the following:
People with disabilities
Enterprise and opportunity
Culture and creativity
Civic society and local democracy
This is also a completely open invitation to anyone with an interest in this project to take part….please either leave a comment at the bottom of this post, drop us an email at [email protected] or contact us through Facebook or Twitter.
Also let us know if you are interested to be involved in being part of the project team to bring all this to fruition for Guid Nuychburris Day and beyond
We are not intending crediting individual contributions on the Charter itself – but we would hope to list everyone involved as part of the project documentation. Please include with your contribution the way you would like to be credited or a confirmation that your contribution should be anonymous
Standing here in the Spring of 2014 The Stove has an incredible opportunity to make a difference for the future of people and places locally. Through the generous support of our funders: Creative Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Holywood Trust and Edward Marshall Trust we have the chance to move forward simultaneously on three interrelated fronts:
100 High Street: Converting the Stove building into a fully accessible HQ for The Stove that is welcoming to all and reflects the high quality of The Stove’s ambition.
Our organisation: to be viable in the long term The Stove needs to creatively use the skills and facilities available to us to bring in money that will continue to support of the vision of the arts at the heart of Dumfries. We have business development support to build the foundations of The Stove for the future.
The Stove @ The Stove: we are making a detailed programme of artwork projects between now and July 2015. This will include opportunities for residencies, commissions and volunteering – to be part of new public art events, gatherings, workshops etc.
Working on all three of these fronts at the same time is an incredible opportunity to show what the creative community is capable of when we are given the chance to properly be part of the ‘real world’ (not just fluffy stuff stuck around the edges). Lets get it done!
We’ll be publishing more details of ways to get involved in [email protected] soon – but do give us a shout if you have ideas about what The Stove could be doing and other folk we could be working with…