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Sanquhar in Focus

Image credit – Baillie Reid, Sanquhar Camera Club

Young people have been exploring Sanquhar life through a lens and documenting what it is like to grow up in the town. Part of the What We Do Now (WWDN) project, Sanquhar in Focus is the first exhibition of Sanquhar Camera Club (SCC ). It opens on and runs to Friday 8 April to Friday 6 May 2022. 

The five talented young photographers and filmmakers who formed the SCC are Elliot Brydon Brown, Tarian Hunter, Baillie Reid, Hannah Smith and Hollie Walker. They are supported by WWDN artists, Colin Tennant and Saskia Coulson, who have delivered talks and presentations in Sanqhuar Academy including a six-week photo workshop programme.

Image credit – Sanquhar Camera Club

On the creation of the club Saskia Coulson said: “often as artists, we are invited to join an existing group or community to collaborate or share a certain skill set with. For What We Do Now in Sanquhar, a community of young people interested in creative practice didn’t exist from the get-go and there were months of working with A’ the Airts, the local community and secondary school to establish the collective.” 

“I wish this group had been running for years because I love it.”

SCC Student Hollie Walker

SCC students have emersed themselves in learning about the creative industries and developing a wide range of photographic and filmmaking skills. Many of these skills were brand new to the group. 

“I didn’t even know I liked photography and filmmaking, but I really enjoy it now and want to become a professional photographer.”

SCC Student Baillie Reid

The Sanquhar in Focus exhibition of new work by the Sanquhar Camera Club opens on Friday 8  April from 4 to 6pm at A’ the Airts (8-12 High Street, Sanquhar, DG4 6BL). It runs until Friday 6 May during regular opening times. 

Image credit – Sanquhar Camera Club

Sanquhar Spring Half Term Activities 

A’ the Airts is hosting a programme of creative events and workshops for young people during the April half-term holiday.  to learn about other areas of the creative industries including graphic design, screen printing, sculpture and many more. 

The events and workshops, open for all young people between 13-18, have been organised by What We Do Now (WWDN) artists, Colin Tennant and Saskia Coulson and emerging Sanquhar artist, Jack Stancliffe

Colin said “we’ve invited several very talented creatives who are all from Dumfries and Galloway and in their 20s and 30s to lead the workshops. We’ve done this because we want the young people of Sanquhar to meet and learn from young adults who come from a similar area and background and are working professionally in different disciplines across the creative industries. Essentially, it’s about connecting them with inspirational people to help them understand that anything can be possible through creativity.”

Find out more

Screen Printing and Sanquhar Stamp Design, Thursday 7 & Friday 8 April, 11.30am to 4pm

Post Office Sculpture Building, Saturday 9 April, 12noon – onwards.

Fashion & Design – The Sanquhar Pattern with Kirsty Geddes, Monday 11 April, 1 to 4pm

Publications & Magazines – DIY (Do It Yourself) ZINES with Callai Watson, Tuesday 12 April, 1 to 4pm

Music Videos – Creating Music Videos and Band Photos with Ruari Barber-Fleming, Wednesday 13 April, 1 to 4pm


Blueprint100 Looking Forward April – September 2020

Over the next few months, we’re taking some time to reflect on blueprint100. How can we grow and evolve the learning opportunities The Stove Network offers for young creative people, and by doing so, empower those and other young people to start professional careers within the arts?

It’s been 5 years since blueprint100 initiated itself as a coveted opportunity for young creative people through a self-led approach to professional development and active working experience within The Stove Network.

This is an approach to learning and professional development aimed at supporting young people across varied stages in their work and helping to build bridges both in and out of more formal structures and other types of work and experience.

As The Stove and blueprint100 have grown and changed rapidly over the past few years we feel it is a good time to take a deeper look at blueprint100 and the learning opportunities it provides as part of The Stove team.

Through a period of consultation and reflection we will evaluate and reshape our blueprint100 framework to ensure it meets the needs of our region’s young creatives giving them the right balance of support and freedom to develop.

For this reason we want to let you know that we will not be recruiting for another blueprint100 team this April 2020 but instead taking the space for this deeper consultation and evaluation. We will do this through a series of targeted workshops and one to one interviews with past blueprint100 curatorial team members, active participants and young creatives, creative groups and organisations and relative learning bodies and service providers.

The consultation will be lead by blueprint100 mentor Katharine Wheeler who will be supported by a young person within the blueprint age range (18-30).

Please stay tuned for more updates in the near future.


Meet Ruari – Music Stage Manager at this year’s Nithraid!

Earlier this month, we selected a young local musician to undertake music stage management at this year’s Nithraid River Festival on Saturday 11th August. Ruari Barber-Fleming from Castle Douglas has been selected to run the small acoustic stage that is held as part of the festival to showcase up and coming talent from around the region. The previous years have included regulars from the Stove’s monthly open mic nights, Brave New Words, as well as other musicians who are based within Dumfries & Galloway.

Ruari has been involved in the Dumfries music scene for several years now, having previously played in local band ‘Gracefell’ as well as photographing live music and working with various artists around the region. He is hoping that through this opportunity he will be able to deliver something unique for the visitors to Nithraid and believes that the stage is a great platform to showcase some local talent.

Ruari feels very positively about the music scene in Dumfries and feels it has been thriving the past few years with a gig frequency that is extremely impressive for the size of the region that it is. He is very passionate about originality and sincerity when it comes to live performance of music, and from this he hopes to be able to deliver just that – performances that the audience can latch on to and connect with the artist.

The commission will provide Ruari the opportunity to work with members of the Nithraid team to gain experience of all aspects of running a music stage at a festival including programming, design/build, marketing, sound engineering and equipment hire. There will be extra opportunities to integrate and learn through this commission with support from Euan Macrory, who undertook a similar internship in 2016 and now programs events both as part of the blueprint100 Curatorial Team and other festivals such as Moniaive Folk Festival.

The Nithraid music stage will be part of the ‘Nithraid Village’ situated on the Mill Green on Saturday 11th August and will run from 12pm until 4pm. Visitors to Nithraid are also invited to join in with other activities happening in the town and around the River Nith. The Salty Coo procession will kick off the day, leaving from Fountain Square on High Street at noon and arriving at the Mill Green at approximately 12.30pm. The Nithraid Village provides a jam-packed day of family friendly activities for all ages, which includes live music, food stalls and creative workshops which include stone carving, public art, zine making, upcycling, origami, badge making and recycling.

For more information, including how to take part in the races (or anything else!), please visit


The Tinderbox Orchestra Heads to Dumfries for The Big Jam

The Big Jam 2
The Big Jam

A ‘punk orchestra’ will come to Dumfries over April and May to collaborate, compose and improvise with young musicians during five Saturday workshops, as well as offering an opportunity to perform at the Theatre Royal. The Big Jam workshops, presented in collaboration with Dumfries Music Conference, and supported by The Stove Network and D&G Arts Festival, will provide musicians with the opportunity to work with the Tinderbox Orchestra. The Orchestra, which features a fusion of instruments, styles and people, write and perform original compositions. The group will host a series of free workshops in Dumfries town centre that are suitable for musicians aged 12 and over.
Founded in 2010 as a small community youth orchestra with a difference, Tinderbox has grown to become a ground-breaking youth arts organisation, charity and social enterprise. Tinderbox aims to ignite a spark in young people; one which fills them with confidence, imagination and a sense of possibility, and which enables people to achieve things they never thought possible. Tinderbox Orchestra will collaborate with Dumfries Music Conference to undertake a five-week project in Dumfries during April and May, which will culminate with the group’s performance at the town’s Theatre Royal on 27th May. During these five-weeks, free workshops will be held for five consecutive Saturdays, starting on 22nd April at Lovers Lane Studios from 12-4pm. Musicians will have the opportunity to play with a real-life orchestra and learn the craft of scoring an orchestral composition to go along with their own performances and song-writing endeavours.

Participants are invited to attend all or some of the sessions and to bring along their instrument, so that they can play with the group. The sessions will focus on a different piece each week, which will interweave around writing a group composition. Experiment with ideas, collaborate with other musicians and become part of the country’s loudest, most innovative orchestra.

For more information, visit DMC on Facebook @DumfriesMusicConference


Blueprint100 Go to Edinburgh

From Emily Cooper – portraiture artist and blueprint100 Intern


Earlier this month a group of intrepid Blueprint Members undertook an expedition to the frozen rain-soaked streets of Edinburgh in search of inspiration. Following an excited minibus journey we arrived at our first destination.


Jupiter Art Land, a few miles outside of Edinburgh, hosts a vast array of large scale art pieces and indoor gallery exhibitions the first of which was the colourful and charming work Myth Cart by Hayley Tompkins, whose work did it’s best to brighten our spirits with its vivid display.

Soon though it was time to brave the weather and explore the grounds. We came across works from classical style structures such as Ian Hamilton Finley’s Temple of Apollo and Xth Muse, to the psychedelic Love Bomb by Marc Quinn.


Particular favourites of the group were Weeping Girls by Laura Ford and Landscape with Gun and Tree by Cornelia Parker.


Another thought provoking installation was In Memory by Nathan Coley a piece in which tall concrete walls surround a replica graveyard of apparently reclaimed gravestones.

All in all, despite the less than ideal weather conditions Jupiter Art Land proved to be a valuable and inspirational experience and certainly got our creative juices flowing and after something to warm us through in the onsite café it was time to head into Edinburgh and find our home for the night. The world’s first shipping container hotel! Some were excited…others were not.

As we pulled up into a slightly worse for wear, overgrown car park and were faced with the drab, grey corrugated iron walls, hearts began to sink and trepidation became rampant, however after hesitantly pushing open the gates, relief reigned supreme and what followed was a great night’s sleep in a warms comfy beds surrounded by friendly, colourful people. Our only regret was that we only had one night to stay.


The following day began (somewhat late, after some difficulty navigating through the excessive crowds of fringe-time Edinburgh) with a trip to the pop up Arts Festival Hub to view the exhibition Platform followed by a guided tour of some other points off interest as part of the festival including the fountain of youth, created with the help of local school children!


The rest if the day was free time to spend in whichever culturally education way we saw fit, for some that meant visiting the National Museum and exploring the various exhibits on offer whilst one group visited the National Portrait Gallery and experienced an impressive collection of self-portraits ranging from Matisse to Rembrandt.


Art viewed, feet drenched and overpriced coffee consumed to excess, it was time for us to head home. A much quieter bus journey followed, interrupted only by the odd snore from the bus full of sleeping creatives. Thanks for having us Edinburgh, you were great…if a little exhausting!


Introducing Euan Macrory

This years Nithraid sees us welcome a new team of young interns to help kick-start our now annual sailing race up river and into the centre of Dumfries. First up is Euan Macrory, a musician from the town and joining the event production and marketing team. We asked Euan to tell us a little more about himself and his music:


I am a musician that is driven by giving opportunities to other performers and artists. I hope to contribute my part to the Dumfries music community by encouraging new performers and hopefully allow people to try music as a hobby even if they never have, purely so people can discover a new passion. My main passion at the moment is combining genres and changing music. This has involved me taking genres that are not always perceived as exciting, like traditional folk and combining it styles like funk, flamenco and jazz. In the future I hope I can encourage a rise in the interest of the Dumfries music scene and try to change music.

I was drawn to Nithraid because I wanted to try being part of the organisation of an event so I could participate in events from a new perspective. I have been a performer at events but I am looking forward to experiencing events under different circumstances and gaining new skills in fields that present unique challenges and rewards.

Nithraid 2014 – Procession and Nithraid Band

I think Dumfries is a town with a lot of potential. I think it has a really nice local community that you struggle to find in other areas. I believe that with our close community values we can make a modern town with more reasons for young people to stay here and build careers.

The most exciting part of the Stove process for me is the involvement it permits. The stove opens up a wide variety of opportunities for people to get involved in, including different types of workshops and events for activities that people would not consider if the Stove was not offering these unique opportunities.


Five books I think everyone should read are Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck, The Symposium by Plato, How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky, If On a Winters Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

There are so many songs that I couldn’t live without but if I had to name a few it would be Santeria by Sublime, Emily by the Bill Evans Trio and just every song by a spoken word poet and rapper George Watsky.

I never expected to enjoy volunteering in a charity shop as much as I did. Honestly when I started I thought it would be a fairly quiet standard shop job but I had so much fun and made so many great memories from it.

My passion is music, it means so much to me and it always has. I couldn’t see my life without it.

Find out more about Euan and his music online via his youtube channel here, and his instagram account here.

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