Support Us
Musings News

Thoughts on the launch of WWDN

Heather Taylor is a writer, storyteller and creative practitioner specialising in multi-sensory creative and performance practice, inclusion and accessibility, and is a member of The Stove’s board of Trustees. She recently attended the launch of WWDN, a creative placemaking network, and shares her thoughts and hopes for its future success. Read her blog below:

Image credit – Kirstin McEwan Photography

WWDN – A place for everyone

By Heather Taylor

Hey All!

I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the sunshine we have started to get – let’s hope that’s not the start and end of it!

I just had to share my excitement about a fantastic event I attended recently.

On the 9th of May, The Stove Network launched something truly special at the Catstrand in New Galloway. It was the kick-off for the ‘What We Do Now’ (WWDN) network, and let me tell you, the energy in the room was wonderful!

As a member of the Board of Trustees, with a deep passion for accessibility and inclusion in community development and the creative arts, this initiative holds a special place in my heart.

The WWDN network has been in the works for the past couple of years, and seeing it now, and anticipating its future, is beyond thrilling.

Image credit – Kirstin McEwan Photography

The journey began with a highly successful pilot program where creatives collaborated with six hub organisations across the region.

The results were inspiring, showcasing the transformative power of creative placemaking in our communities.

Now comes the next phase of this incredible journey. The launch event was a testament to the dedication and hard work of everyone involved.

What truly warmed my heart was the level of thought and consideration that went into ensuring the event was inclusive and that everyone felt comfortable in the space and most importantly – valued.

Image credit – Kirstin McEwan Photography

On a more personal note, I must admit that there are times when I question my place in both the trustee board and the creative community.

Like many others, I often grapple with imposter syndrome, wondering if I truly belong in these spaces. However, what truly struck me during the WWDN launch event was the undeniable sense of inclusivity and openness.

It became clear to me that there is indeed a place for everyone within this network. What’s even more remarkable is the opportunity it presents to dive in and make it your own.

I have mentioned already in this post my appreciation of those involved, however, I would like again to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been involved in bringing the WWDN network to life.

From the dedicated individuals behind the scenes to the creative practitioners who lend their talents, each and every one of you has played a vital role in shaping this initiative into what it is today.

A special shoutout goes to the incredible Stove team, whose unwavering dedication and boundless enthusiasm serve as a constant inspiration to me and countless others. Your passion for community development and the arts is truly infectious, and I feel privileged to be a part of this journey alongside you all.

Thank you for everything you do!

The launch of the WWDN network marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our journey towards a more inclusive and vibrant creative landscape. I can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve together!

If you are interested in find out more about WWDN and how you can get involved in the creative placemaking network, head on over to the WWDN website here.

WWDN – The Launch of a Creative Placemaking Network

May 9 @ 1:00 pm 6:00 pm

Join us for the launch of an exciting new creative placemaking network for Dumfries and Galloway.

What We Do Now is an exciting new creative placemaking network for Dumfries and Galloway, brought to you by The Stove, and shaped together with creative practitioners, community organisations, and partners from across the region.

This event has very limited availability and booking is essential. Please book your place now via Eventbrite below to avoid disappointment.


13:00    Arrive

Tea, coffee, and nibbles

13:15    Presentations and Questions

Introduction by Katharine Wheeler, WWDN Director

14:00    Artists Presentations talking about their experience working in public space

Betwixting: A Reflection on the Art of Inbetweening with artist Peter McCaughey

(Re)claiming Public Space with artist Emma Jayne Park

14:00    Small Group Discussions

Reflecting on experiences of community embedded work

15:00    BREAK

15:30    Workshop Activities

GCAT Tour – Brian Edgar

New Galloway History Walk – Zoe Kirkpatrick

A Journey Into the Unknown – Peter McCaughey

Market of Possibilities – Martin O’Neil

Sound Workshop – Stuart Macpherson

Conversation Corner – Emma Jayne Park

16:30    Closing Comments

Hopes for the future and discussion points from the floor

17:00    Buffet Dinner and Social

Sound Piece – with Stuart Macpherson

18:00   Close

Download the full programme here.

High St
New Galloway, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway DG7 3RN United Kingdom
01644 420374
View Venue Website
Musings News

How Creativity & Culture Can Support Communities

A Creative Placemaking Approach

The Stove Network, with support from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), publish an important, new approach to Community Wealth Building and Community-Led Place Development.

The publication, entitled, ‘A Creative Placemaking Approach’ presents a methodology identifying how creativity and culture can work collaboratively with communities and support cross-sector working, addressing civic, economic, and development needs locally with communities.

This publication aims to support a vision of place and community where: creativity is used to develop a resilient and fair, future society, built on community wealth building principles, innovation, and long-term thinking.

The publication is the culmination of over 10 years of rural-based practice in the South of Scotland alongside wider research and consultation already carried out by The Stove Network, including Scotland’s first Creative Placemaking Forum, ‘kNOw One Place’ hosted in Dumfries in 2022.

For a long time, we have seen first-hand the gap between national policies in areas such as community empowerment, wellbeing economies, sustainable tourism, place-based planning, and what it takes to really make these work for local communities. New approaches are needed that enable local communities to come together to work through ideas, think differently, address challenges and come up with their own solutions whilst at the same time building the capacity to take this forward for themselves. Significantly this is a place-based approach that is enabled, and not led by, the multiple agencies, organisations and service providers that have a stake in a place.

Katharine Wheeler of The Stove Network and Director of WWDN (Creative Placemaking Network)

Placemaking traditionally refers to the concept of developing successful spaces for communities and encouraging connection and creativity for the common good.  Creative placemaking is a cultural and arts led approach to placemaking that uses creativity as a support structure for communities to take a leading role in the development of their places.

We believe this Creative Placemaking approach is hugely important in supporting change for communities in the South of Scotland and beyond. With unique villages and towns this approach can help unlock opportunities and potential to build stronger and sustainable communities. SOSE fully supports the approach outlined in this paper, it aligns with our values of bold and inclusive, while empowering our communities using creatives to translate ideas and thoughts for a meaningful community wealth building approach.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of South of Scotland Enterprise

Creative placemaking is particularly effective at developing community engagement, amplifying less heard voices, and supporting the development of community capacity and partnerships to effect real change.

“What we have seen through creative placemaking projects is a range of impacts for communities from major physical regeneration projects, such as Midsteeple Quarter in Dumfries, to life and career progression for individuals in communities – new skills, confidence, increased social networks etc. The key connecting factor has been the effectiveness of creative placemaking initiatives as open and inclusive ’spaces’ which give less-heard sections of community new agency within local decision-making processes and new empowerment for themselves to be part of making the change they wish to see.”

Matt Baker, CEO of The Stove Network

Read or download the published paper here

WWDN Digital: Introductory Webinar

March 6 @ 6:00 pm 7:30 pm

This online webinar will launch our programme of digital media sessions taking place in the newly established digital suites of A’ the Airts (Sanquhar) and XL Youth Projects (Langholm) alongside workshops at The Stove (Dumfries).

Facilitators and hosts from across this diverse programme will share their work and approach to digital working covering topics from print, radio, film, music production, gaming, and podcasting to basic IT skills. Though activities are mostly aimed at a younger audience there will be sessions available for all ages and this introductory session is open to all who are interested.

Take a look at the Digital Programme on offer:

Our Facilitators

Derry Rogerson: Passionate about all things IT and web design, I’ve recently returned to Scotland to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. Founding Battlestations LTD, my company specializes in gaming streaming and content creation. With a deep-seated love for hardware and software across various technologies, I’m dedicated to delivering top-notch gaming experiences. Through Battlestations LTD, I aim to push boundaries, inspire creativity, and foster community within the gaming world. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore the limitless possibilities of gaming and content creation together.

Saskia Coulson (CT Productions): Coulson & Tennant (Saskia Coulson & Colin Tennant) are an award winning artist partnership who develop projects through a lens-based practice, combining genres of documentary and fine art. They create artistic, documentary and environmental work for a wide range of clients and organisations as well as their own personal projects. They have travelled to some of the most remote places in the world but their favourite place is Dumfries & Galloway and they have been living in Thornhill for the past three years. They have worked on many film and photography projects across the region but also enjoy sharing their passion for image making and all things digital through the various teaching projects they have been involved in.

Halina Rifai: Halina Rifai is a podcast producer, music writer, PR & digital marketer. She founded music site Podcart in 2009 and went on to become a Podcast Producer, working with the likes of The Big Light, BBC Scotland, The Ferret, Mental Health Foundation, Fringe of Colour and many more.  Podcasts she has worked on and continue to work on include Sheku Bayoh: The Inquiry, A Sonic Hug, Before the Applause and Word Up! Halina is Communications Manager for We Are Here Scotland – A space aimed at supporting and raising the voices of Black People and People of Colour creatives across Scotland. She is also co-curator of award-winning Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh live music series AMPLIFI.

Geoff McQueen: Geoff McQueen is a seasoned professional in the world of audio production. With a background in podcasting, radio production, and academia, he’s produced and presented for the BBC and several community radio stations across the UK. Geoff’s main interest lies in exploring the practical applications of innovative sound use. With a decade of solid experience in teaching at further and higher education levels, he’s committed to sharing his knowledge and shaping the next generation of audio creators. In his spare time, you’ll likely find him tinkering with audio equipment or running (slowly) in the hills of Dumfries and Galloway.

Kathleen Cronie: Mostly Ghostly, a quirky quartet of award-winning storytellers, are the creators of an eclectic range of ghost and local history tours based in Dumfries and Galloway. Thriving on their collective passion for history, folklore, and the supernatural, they bring the region’s hidden and curious aspects to life. Established in 2008, Mostly Ghostly’s dynamic collaborations and passionate delivery have made them known for warm welcomes and engaging experiences. Their commitment to promoting Dumfries and Galloway as a destination of discovery extends to founding the Festival of Folklore and can be seen through their various tailored events and community ventures across the region.

Craig Duncan: Is a friendly, creative game-making Scot experienced in design and production management. They started their game development journey in 2016 and haven’t looked back. Craig adores coming up with fun and novel experiences for players while working alongside diverse and talented teams. Having worked on 2 shipped games and backed up with the academic excellence of Abertay University, they continue with their game development journey as a freelancer.

This programme is supported by WWDN Network and funded through the Scottish Government Community Led Local Development Fund, administered from Dumfries and Galloway by Third Sector D&G.


Access Information: Level Access in rear of building through adjacent close to left-hand side of the Cafe (facing the front of the building). To ensure your experience with us is as best as it can be, please do let us know if you have any specific access requirements and we’d be happy to help. Please email Kevin or Sal on: [email protected] or phone 01387 252435 and speak with one of our team. We are able to provide walk-throughs of the building before attending our events as well as assign seating before your arrival.

Musings News Project Updates

Championing the Economic Impact of Culture

Kirstin McEwan

On the 19th December 2023, the Scottish Government published its action plan, detailing the delivery methodology of its Culture Strategy for Scotland, originally published in 2020.

This Action Plan, developed in collaboration with the Culture Sector, sets out the next steps the Scottish Government will take to support the development of culture in Scotland.

Roundtable consultations sessions were initiated in 2022, one of which was held in Dumfries in January 2023 and attended by the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture, Scottish Government Culture Officials, and colleagues from across the Culture Sector, including Dumfries-based arts and community organisation, The Stove Network. These sessions looked at how cultural and creative organisations, can work with both Government and public bodies to effect positive change, locally, regionally, and nationally.

With a focus on resilience and three key pillars: Strengthening Culture, transforming through Culture, and Empowering through Culture, the action plan outlines the Scottish Government’s route to delivering their ambitious Culture Strategy.

At the round table consultation in Dumfries, The Stove was able to share with the Cabinet Secretary innovative cross-sector working in Dumfries and Galloway that uses cultural projects to empower people to change things within their own communities. An example being the way Dumfries and Galloway are working with the cultural sector to connect people on the ground meaningfully to strategic economic investment.

The Stove’s work, through What We Do Now (WWDN), a unique and ground-breaking initiative that supports a creative placemaking network within Dumfries & Galloway, working with artists, communities, and organisations, is highlighted alongside other examples, within the action plan’s second chapter, “Strengthening Culture”.

Extract from the action plan:

Champion the economic impact of culture, in particular within the context of community wealth building and creative placemaking….

… The Scottish Government has embraced the internationally recognised Community Wealth Building approach to economic development as a key tool to transform our local and regional economies…

… harnessing local economic opportunities to address a range of challenges linked to addressing depopulation, regardless of whether affected communities are found in rural and island areas, or urban….

… There is a clear link with the principle of creative placemaking, which we know has tangible benefits for communities. For example, The Stove Network’s work across the south of Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government via the Culture Collective project ‘What We Do Now’, connects artists and community organisations to co-develop creative plans for the future of local places. We will learn from the outputs of this work and consider ways of scaling up the approaches taken.

“To see creative placemaking championed within the Scottish Government’s action plan for delivering the national culture strategy is fantastic. What We Do Now in Dumfries and Galloway is just one example of a very exciting strand of practice that is emerging across Scotland to place creativity at the heart of community-led change.”

Katharine Wheeler, Lead for WWDN

The full Culture Strategy for Scotland: Action Plan can be read here


WWDN – Website Developer / Designer

Freelance Commission Opportunity – Now Closed

About the Commission

WWDN (managed and delivered by The Stove Network) is seeking to work with a web developer/designer to support the design, development and delivery of a web-based platform that will build on the styling of the current website and support the next phase (Stage 2) of the WWDN project.

The next phase of the website should house key information, including all related content across its geographical and thematic landscape, relevant recourses and include the introduction of a membership login portal.

Fee: 10 Days at £300 P/D (£3,000 in total)

Working with the WWDN project team, the designer/developer will creatively develop the platform, interface, and technical design of the website, taking into consideration priorities such as accessibility, brand awareness, integration and ‘signposting’ to other platforms that may be used throughout the project’s development.


The designer/developer will work with the WWDN project team in Stage 2 to pinpoint and build the key elements of the project in order to support its legacy, future proofing the site.

Elements of the webpage to consider:

  • WordPress platform
  • Membership model with user login-in
  • News, blogs/articles, and archive
  • Interactive elements (for eg: forums, chat, email forms*)
  • Events listing features
  • Galleries/spaces to house documentation
  • Integration of related project materials (videos, other documentation)

The webpage should be considered as an extension of the project’s brand, a ‘digital artwork’ in and of itself, whilst maintaining the current brand identity (guidelines will be provided).

Regular check-ins on the development and design of the website will be expected between the designer/developer and the WWDN project team to align the project needs with the design and development of the website. These check-ins will be negotiated on the appointment of the designer/developer.

As part of Stage 2 project fee the designer/developer will host 1-2 working sessions with the WWDN internal team to ensure maintenance and development of the webpage can be managed in-house.

How to Apply

A note of your interest in the commission and a brief outline of how you will approach the brief.

Please provide three examples of your work (preferably active websites) and / or a portfolio of work – no larger than 10mb

All applications should be sent by email to: [email protected]

(closing date not currently set)


WWDN is a Creative Placemaking Network that has been piloted in Dumfries & Galloway and is hosted by the Stove Network, an award-winning arts and community organisation based in the heart of Dumfries town centre. Working with artists, communities, and organisations, WWDN is a unique and ground-breaking initiative that continues to evolve and expand with those involved.

The initial pilot supported community anchor groups (community hubs) in towns across Dumfries & Galloway to host creative practitioners for an extended period to work with sections of their communities to co-create new future visions and practical projects. Artists, hubs, and communities were supported to explore bold new ideas with a particular focus on those under-represented in local decision making.

Each of the founding community hubs are in or working with communities experiencing disadvantage. All have identified sections of their own community where COVID has accentuated existing disadvantage and exclusion and have some experience of working culturally.

The WWDN Creative Placemaking Network is now in a period of transition to establish itself as a sustainable network for the region that will drive forward community-led work and support the growth of resource, expertise, and knowledge in creative placemaking across Dumfries & Galloway.

Skip to content