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Events News Opportunities

Brave New Words: What Now?

A Brave New Words update from founder and director, Martin O’Neill
This year has been quite the rollercoaster, hasn’t it?
With next year looming round the corner, we’re asking ourselves, what will it bring? Global societal change for the better? Universal basic income? A fairer and more just world? Or, judging by this year, is it all going to go a bit belly up? Well, we hope not. But let’s ask the questions.
Over the next couple of months we’re holding back our usual Brave New Words Friday night mash-up live-streamed extravaganzas in favour of something a little bit different. To end our year, we’re inviting creative writing submissions around the theme of ‘What Now?’ with contributions making up our first ever printed newspaper publication. We’re looking for submissions from poetry, short stories, flash fiction to text-based art from writers young and older, professional or just dabbling. Think of it like an open mic, but as a newspaper!
You can submit up to three pieces to be considered. That said, just like our open mic, whilst every effort will be made to ensure your piece ends up in the final print we will be limited on space and can’t guarantee that everything will make it through, so do think hard on what you’re sending in.
This is a completely open submission for anyone based in Dumfries & Galloway. You don’t have to have been at a Brave New Words before, and we’re always looking for new voices to showcase. As always, we encourage you to be brave and put yourself forward.
If you need any more information on the publication please get in touch through our social channels or email [email protected]
Submissions should be sent to: [email protected] in PDF or Word format (please don’t put your submissions in the body of the email)
Deadline: 1st December.
Get writing & be brave.
With Love,
Brave New Words

Categories
Events Musings Projects

Five Years of Bravery

It was 2015. A year in from the Scottish independence referendum, when stickers faded pale on lampposts and flags fluttered limply in the breeze, or un-tethered, clung to high fences like a loose pair of nickers. It was as though some basic law of thermodynamics failed to take place. As if that fiery energy ought to have moved on. Heated up some other vessel or agitated another movement. Instead, it lingered in the air, resigned itself to the bar stools and blogs for the time being. And most people just got on with their lives, some relieved, some numb and others, angry as ever.

Writers Sarah Indigo and Eryl Sheilds concocted Brave New Words as a space to confront some of that undirected energy left from the referendum. We worked with them on structuring the day, talking with schools, community groups and others to come along and work it all out through a series of writing workshops, discussions and debates. That evening, we hosted the first Brave New Words Slam, an evening of spoken word, performance and beat-style poetry, reminiscent of the back alley bars of Brooklyn circa 1960 lit up the High Street. Well, not maybe not quite like that. But in my head, everything feels a bit like that. The poets played a blinder. From the ages of 14 to 80, it felt like something pretty special had happened.

A year later, we lost Sarah too soon. A light went out in the spoken word community in Scotland, with tributes pouring in from the central belt to the Galloway coast. Her work broke stigmas, challenged the status quo and energized everyone she came into contact with. Each birthday since then is not only a celebration of words spoken, sung, shot, signed or silenced. It’s a tribute to our founder and visionary.

This year, as it stands, is so unlike all the others. We’re not able to meet. And whilst we’re all weary of the rolling lockdowns, the dead air of pubs without music, the face masks, the rumbling anxiety of purchasing a pint of milk from the supermarket. It seems that now it’s more important than ever to celebrate as we once did and to share our thoughts, feelings, creativity and power with each other is so vital in making sense of the world around us. Beyond the peeling vinyl stickers of the town centre and the tequila-scented hand gel.

Just as in 2015, there’s an energy now that lingers in the air. What it is we can’t be as certain of what it is as then, but it comes out in the quieter moments of our lives. That’s when stories are written, songs are sung and creativity thrives.

Brave New Words is not possible without people. Literally. I’ve tried. More than a couple of empty mic nights confirm this. It’s the space to take a chance, often when you never you thought you had it in you. And each month, it’s completely different from the last. From epic poems on elderly cats, to Kate Bush inspired fluorescent neon dancing, 10 minute silences and rabble rousing political speeches.

So join us as we celebrate everything Brave this September. I mean, what else is there to do?!

Be Brave.

Categories
Events Opportunities Projects

Opportunities: Two Festival Mentorships

The Stove is seeking two mentees to join our Nithraid team this Autumn. Two exciting opportunities have emerged for young people to get involved directly with the Stove’s project, and our festival delivery team.

Nithraid River Festival​ is an annual event celebrating Dumfries’ relationship with the River Nith. Due to the impact of COVID-19, instead of holding our festival on the Mill Green, we will be hosting an extended celebration of the River Nith across our online platforms, as well as focusing on the production of our 2021 Festival.

This year, we’re looking to work with​ a mentee in the redesign; build and installation​ of our Salty Coo launch mechanism. In consultation with local artist, Cara McNaught, we are exploring both a re-interpretation of the mechanism’s inner workings in order to launch the Salty Coo into our river Nith as well as up-cycling many of the unused materials into a musical instrument, that can be placed on site for our 2021 festival.

Alongside this, we are seeking ​a mentee interested in sound design, sound production, musical composition and instrumentation​, working with local musician and producer, Jenna Macrory, in composing, recording and producing an immersive soundscape, using the fabricated musical instrument in an innovative and exciting way.

The mentorships

These mentorships are available to young people between the ages of 18 and 25, and has been supported by The Holywood Trust to benefit young persons within this age group.

Production

Working alongside local creative producor, Cara McNaught, the mentee will help to redesign and construct our Salty Coo launch mechanism, as well as upcycling the unused materials into a musical instrument.

The mentee will learn first-hand how to construct, build, up-cycle and design the mechanism, learning and applying foundational skills in joinery, carpentry and product design as well as working to brief. This mentorship will suit a young person interested in up-cycling and repair, product design, joinery and carpentry, who enjoy a ‘hands-on’ approach to building and design.

Production Mentorship Fee: £250
Time required: 5 Days (35 hours total)

Soundscape Composition

Working alongside professional musician and composer, Jenna Macrory, the mentee will feed into the musical element of the launch mechanism’s redesign, as well as help to construct, compose, record and produce an immersive soundscape. This mentorship will suit a young person interested in musical composition, sound design and musicianship.

Soundscape Composition Mentorship: £250
Time required: 5 Days (35 hours total)

 

To Apply

To apply for one of the commissions, we ask that you submit an expression of interest. This should include:

  • A short introduction (max. 250 words) explaining why you are interested in this opportunity
  • A current CV

Please send an email to [email protected] with a maximum file size of 10MB. Video files should be provided as a web link.
The deadline for submitting your expression of interest is 5pm, Thursday 13th August. 

We would like to make sure that our recruitment process is as open as possible, if you would like to discuss any accessibility requirements or have questions about this opportunity, please get in touch with
Sal Cuddihy via [email protected] or phone 07497 406511 (Mon-Fri 10-4pm).

For more information on our previous Nithraid festivals, please visit www.thestove.org/nithraid.

Categories
Events News Opportunities

Opportunity: Nithraid Young Artist Commission

We are looking for an artist to create a structure or sculptural piece to support The Salty Coo* and an imaginative or playful way of releasing the Coo into the River Nith.
This is an exciting opportunity for a young person to get involved directly with the event and festival delivery team, and will be supported by an experienced mentor artist who can provide practical support in realising your ideas.
*The Salty Coo is the central emblem of the Nithraid Festival, a sculpture created by artist Stan Bonner, coated in salt that is washed from the sculpture as it is released into the River. When Nithraid has been able to take place as a physical event, the Salty Coo is the focal point of the festival procession and is carried through the town to the rivers edge. In previous years, the Cow Delivery Mechanism has been an elevated platform in the centre of the river, but for 2020 and future years, we would like to commission a new structure.
 

Nithraid River Festival is an annual event celebrating Dumfries’ relationship with the River Nith. Due to the impact of COVID-19, instead of holding our physical festival, we will be hosting an extended celebration of the River Nith across our online platforms.
This year our virtual festival will journey down the River Nith from its source near New Cumnock to the rivers mouth at Carsethorn; engaging with different towns, villages and communities along the way with a 3-month program of activities, artworks, literature, music, information sharing and story telling.
The work could be sited at a variety of points around the river, from the Mill Green, Whitesands, Devorguilla Bridge or the centre of the river – your proposal should create a spectacle for the Coo to be displayed, and then released into the river. We are open to playful and imaginative responses to the brief, and proposals should consider how the work would draw audiences to the festival site.
The selected artist will work with the Festival Manager, Lead Project Artist and an experienced local mentor to support your proposal and develop ambitious, but practical ideas within the available budget. The artist will be supported through skills development and peer learning as appropriate to their proposal, in line with government guidance regarding safe working practice regarding COVID19.
It is anticipated that for the 2020 edition of the festival, the commissioned work (alongside the Salty Coo) will be launched on site without a gathered audience, and will be documented for sharing to our online platforms. The work will then be stored for use again in future Nithraid festivals, when we are safely able to include members of the public.
We are mindful that this role is to be appointed during the COVID-19 pandemic. At all times throughout the duration of the role, the Stove will be following and adhering to all of the official Scottish Government guidance in relation to social distancing measures, safeguarding of individuals & groups and safe work practices.
Eligibility, Budget and Key Dates
Applications between the ages of 16–25 will be prioritised as has been created and funded to benefit young persons within this age group.
The role will commence on the 1stof July 2020, and artwork will be launched to signify the close of our virtual festival and summer programme on Sunday, 27thSeptember 2020.
The total fee for this role including materials is £1,000
We would like to make sure that our recruitment process is as open as possible, if you’d like to discuss any accessibility requirements or have questions about this opportunity, please get in touch with Sal Cuddihy via [email protected] or phone 07497 406511 (Mon-Fri 10-4pm).
To Apply
Please send an email to  [email protected] with a maximum file size of 10MB with the following:

  • A proposal (max. 500 words) outlining how you would approach the commission
  • A current CV
  • Up to 3 examples of past work that you feel supports your application

The deadline for receiving submissions is 10pm on Monday 22nd June.
Interviews for the commissions will be held virtually on Friday 26th June. By applying you are deemed to be making yourself available for interview on this date.
We will always send an email acknowledging receipt of any applications. If you do not receive an email, please contact us again by email.

We are grateful for the support from the Holywood Trust in funding this role. 

 

Categories
Events News Opportunities

Opportunity: Nithraid Project Support Role


Nithraid River Festival is usually an annual event celebrating the town of Dumfries’s relationship with the River Nith. Due to the impact of COVID-19, we have decided to have an extended celebration of the Nith across our online platforms.  
Our aim is to engage with the public and create a platform resource for learning, sharing and creating.  
This is an exciting opportunity for a young person to get involved directly with the event and festival delivery team to help make the festival more accessible to a younger audience. This year we will journey down the River Nith, from its source near New Cumnock to the Rivers end at Carsethorn, engaging with different towns, villages and communities along the way with a 3-month program of activities, artworks, literature, music, information sharing and story telling.  
We will deliver this programme across our social media platforms and develop the Nithraid website as a community resource with plans for collaborating with other organisations as well as online workshops, artworks and challenges with a focus on the River Nith as a connector and the wildlife that exists in and around the River. Nithraid Festival will commence on 1st of July and run to the end of September.
We are looking for the Project Support role to focus on engaging younger audiences and to contribute to the program of activity by targeting & collaborating with local youth groups. They will work closely (virtually), and be supported by the Festival Manager, Festival Marketing & Social Media Officer and festival Graphic Designer to get the widest range of experience in learning and skills development.  
Ideally applicants will have some previous marketing, social media and/or community engagement experience, be comfortable using computers and social media platforms and be aged 16 to 30. 
This post will commence on the 22nd June and finish on Wednesday 7th of October and will consist of a total of 24 Days or 1.5 days per week.  
We would like to make sure that our recruitment process is as open as possible, so if you’d like to discuss any accessibility requirements, or have questions about the opportunity in general, please get in touch with Sal Cuddihy via [email protected] or phone 07497 406511 (Mon-Fri 10-4pm). 
We are mindful that this role is to be appointed during the Covid 19 pandemic. At all times throughout the duration of the work, the Stove will be following and adhering to all of the official Scottish Government Guidance in relation to Social distancing measures, safeguarding of individuals & groups and safe work practices. 
 
The total fee for this role is £1,800 (24 Days at £75 per day). 
To Apply:  
Please send an email to  [email protected]hestove.org with a maximum file size of 10MB with the following: 

  • A statement of no more than 500 words outlining how you would approach this commission. 
  • A current CV 
  • Up to 2 examples of past work that you feel supports your application  

The deadline for receiving submissions is 10pm on Sunday 14th June.   
Interviews for the commissions will be held virtually on Wednesday 17th June. By applying you are deemed to be making yourself available for interview on this date.  
 We will always send an email acknowledging receipt of any applications. If you do not receive an email, please contact us again  by email.  
 

We are grateful for the support from the Hollywood Trust in funding this role. 

 

Categories
Events News Projects

Dumfries’ first Wild Goose Festival is coming!

The very first Wild Goose Festival to be held in Dumfries this October has recently been awarded funding from Wigtown Festival Company as part of their Spot-lit Literary Tourism Product Innovation Programme. The programme, starting this month, will run for a year and will support nine local businesses, including  The Stove Network, to develop new literary tourism products, engaging with the region’s many literary assets from Robert Burns in Dumfries to Dorothy L Sayers in Gatehouse of Fleet.

The Wild Goose Festival is a pilot for a new multi-media festival in Dumfries that uses the migratory route of the Barnacle Geese between Svalbard and the Solway Estuary to join people, nature and ideas across Scotland and the Arctic. The Wild Goose Festival is an innovative way of connecting literary tourism with the established nature and environment tourism offer in Dumfries and Galloway.

In 2020 the festival is themed around Placemaking – using three different lenses to examine this topic and its connections across the North:

  • The Arts and Creativity
  • The Natural World
  • Academia and Knowledge

The Wild Goose Festival will include ‘Riverrun’; a weekend festival of nature writing for all ages. It will include events specifically for children called ‘Mother Goose’ which will engage with authors writing for young people, as well as seeking out topical and relevant programming that connects to the geese and exploration themes. The festival also aims to showcase local authors writing for children in Scots language.

The Wild Goose Festival will be delivered through a very strong collaborative approach with experienced partners who are already successful in the Dumfries & Galloway tourism industry and through the active partnership with SNH, WWT Caerlaverock, Historic Environment Scotland and The Stove Network. The creative director of the festival is the celebrated poet and leader of last years 2019 A Year of Conversation, Tom Pow.
To keep up to date with news and announcements, follow the Stove Network on Facebook or sign up to our mailing list here.
Categories
Events News Projects

Dumfries' first Wild Goose Festival is coming!

The very first Wild Goose Festival to be held in Dumfries this October has recently been awarded funding from Wigtown Festival Company as part of their Spot-lit Literary Tourism Product Innovation Programme. The programme, starting this month, will run for a year and will support nine local businesses, including  The Stove Network, to develop new literary tourism products, engaging with the region’s many literary assets from Robert Burns in Dumfries to Dorothy L Sayers in Gatehouse of Fleet.
The Wild Goose Festival is a pilot for a new multi-media festival in Dumfries that uses the migratory route of the Barnacle Geese between Svalbard and the Solway Estuary to join people, nature and ideas across Scotland and the Arctic. The Wild Goose Festival is an innovative way of connecting literary tourism with the established nature and environment tourism offer in Dumfries and Galloway.
In 2020 the festival is themed around Placemaking – using three different lenses to examine this topic and its connections across the North:

  • The Arts and Creativity
  • The Natural World
  • Academia and Knowledge

The Wild Goose Festival will include ‘Riverrun’; a weekend festival of nature writing for all ages. It will include events specifically for children called ‘Mother Goose’ which will engage with authors writing for young people, as well as seeking out topical and relevant programming that connects to the geese and exploration themes. The festival also aims to showcase local authors writing for children in Scots language.

The Wild Goose Festival will be delivered through a very strong collaborative approach with experienced partners who are already successful in the Dumfries & Galloway tourism industry and through the active partnership with SNH, WWT Caerlaverock, Historic Environment Scotland and The Stove Network. The creative director of the festival is the celebrated poet and leader of last years 2019 A Year of Conversation, Tom Pow.
To keep up to date with news and announcements, follow the Stove Network on Facebook or sign up to our mailing list here.
Categories
Events Projects

Lowland: Text in Context

“I wrote about what was around me. But some people are so daft they don’t understand that writing about Prestwich is just as valid as Dante writing about his Inferno.” Mark E. Smith

In an in-between place like this, writers have free reign. A place, on the edge of becoming, nearest to the precipice of the green dreaming miles to the coast. We know, it’s not quite like anywhere else. Far from it. Too close to call home. Too far in reach. Too full of hope to try.

Over the last three years, a project has been quietly simmering in the studios of the Stove. Launched in its first year by writer-in-residence, Stuart A Paterson, Lowland sought to create a new literary portrait of Dumfries town.
Now approaching the third year, the project aspires to engage more writers to reflect on a town in a transitional phase of its history.

About The Play

Lowland 

Barnside is sinking and the residents are on the edge of revolution. The local council, in its bleary wisdom, has been drafted in to ease the tensions. Only, not everything is, as it seems. And sooner or later, something’s got to give…

Inspired by over 300 postcards by local people, visitors and newcomers reflecting on Dumfries as well as conversations in the heart of the high street, ‘Lowland’ is a play about life in an in-between place. Developed in association with the Stove Network and the National Theatre of Scotland, this new play written by young local writers is an often otherworldly, farcical and radical presentation into the nature of community.

The first public sharing of Lowland, a work-in-progress play written by local writers, performed by a community and directed by Stove programmer Martin O’Neill will take place at the end of this month in Langholm, Moniaive, and the YMCA in Lochside, Dumfries. Tickets are priced £2-5 on a pay-what-you-feel basis – get yours now, available here

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Events News Projects

Caerlaverock Stories

This year at the Stove, we are looking at the towns connection to Caerlaverock Castle, exploring the routes there from the town centre, the heritage and history of the site and it’s importance in the history of our region, drawing new connections and opening up the site to new audiences.

What are your connections with Caerlaverock Castle? What do you know about it, what are you memories of time spent there? What local myths and legends are connected with the site?
We are looking at stories: stories of history, environment and communities, trade routes and pathways, ways of living then and now.

To kick things off we’ve been meeting with local partners, gathering creative projects and looking at how we can be part of expanding the narrative of Caerlaverock.
The core theme of the project is Living on the Edge, exploring ideas of Peace, War, the Living Landscape and the Wolves at the Door – Caerlaverock is more than just a castle at siege but has a long and winding history – how much of it do you know? Caerlaverock is more than just a castle.

To launch this new conversation, we are mapping some of these histories, routes and pathways to and from the Castle in the Stove café. Pop in between the 6th and 28th of March to add some of your own, and help us build a bigger picture of Caerlaverock’s past – and future.

Do you remember your earliest visits to the castle? Do you have any great images of the castle or grounds that you could share? What does Caerlaverock mean to you? Get in touch, or let us know using #LivingCaerlaverock.

We will also be hosting a conversation between project lead Katharine Wheeler and Sally Hinchcliffe of Cycling Dumfries about routes to and from the castle, slow travel and alternative transport options. This will be a free event on Friday, 13th March from 5pm – come and join in the discussion! Full details here

A performance of Solway to Svalbard, led by musician and composer Stuart Macpherson in Caerlaverock Castle in 2019

The Stove is working with Historic Environment Scotland as part of their work to develop Caerlaverock Castle as a significant place in our region, specifically around what this place means to our communities to develop skills and learning opportunities.

For more information, contact [email protected]

Categories
Events Musings News

Solway to Svalbard: In Conversation with Stuart Macpherson

Coming up this Friday, 28th February as part of National Theatre Scotland’s Just Start Here festival in Dumfries will be the next development of Solway to Svalbard, an creative project led by composer and musician Stuart Macpherson, in collaboration with filmmaker Emma Dove and sound recordist Pete Smith.

Following a successful starter residency supported by NTS, and a recent trip to Svalbard on the trail of the barnacle geese – the project has continued to grow and develop, so we are so excited to find out more about how the work has been developing! Ahead of Friday, Stuart tells us more about the project:

_

How did it all begin?

Well… funnily enough it all started off with a commissioning opportunity through the Stove Network for one of their members to create a piece of work responding to the brief of Migrating Birds, to coincide with the opening of Kathy Hinde’s Luminous Birds installation that was coming to Dumfries.
At the time there was another Stove project exploring Dumfries’ ties to Norway and I thought I’d explore the avian link between Norway and Scotland.  I knew the barnacle geese that came to the Solway each year had something to do with Norway but didn’t realise that was just their spring staging point and they in fact came from Svalbard. Pretty impressive… there’s also loads of really cool mythology surrounding the geese which is fascinating.
Anyway, the resulting piece that I created was “Flight” – a migratory soundscape incorporating field recordings and free triggered samples.  Pretty early on in the process of making that piece I started to think about where they stop on their journey and the idea of exploring those environments.  I really liked the idea of incorporating visuals and some proper field recordings.  Also, I guess I had grown a bit of a fondness for the geese through working on “Flight” and felt that I wasn’t quite finished with them yet!

Its important to me that I make work that has a relevance to where I am and with what is around me.

I also wanted to work on this project with other artists that have ties to the region, Emma and Pete were an obvious choice, I love both their work, they’re really good at what they do and in fact both had been involved in some level with “Flight” too.

What about geese particularly sparked your inspiration?

Initially the folklore surrounding the barnacle geese was the bit that got me hooked, the idea that folk actually thought they hatched from barnacles on bits of driftwood… totally brilliant!  But I guess very quickly there was an admiration that grew for them, it is amazing what they do – the distances they travel each year.  They evoke a lot and represent all sorts of different things to different folk, all the while they’re just being a cool wee goose flying between here and the high arctic trying to eat the best grass when it grows and raise a family… I like that.

I believe you’ve visited Svalbard twice now, along with your key collaborator Emma Dove to record the geese as well as the natural surroundings. How has this affected the work?

I’ve actually only visited Svalbard once… and that was with key collaborators Emma Dove and Pete Smith.  We also have spent a fair amount of time at Caerlaverock filming and recording the geese and last April/May I spent a month on a wee island in Northern Norway (just in the arctic circle) where the geese spring stage on their way north.
So yeah, a lot of this project has been about filming and recording the environments that the geese pass but also about talking to people and what place means to them.  It was particularly important for the three of us to make it to Svalbard as that has really put things into context, to be able to explore the furthest extents of the flyway and get a perspective from both ends.

Its been an interesting one as a project that started off with the geese has ended up with lots of chat about people, its been a very organic process.  We’ve learnt a lot from each other.

How’s it been working with the National Theatre of Scotland?

I’ve been really enjoying working with NTS on the project, they’ve been incredibly supportive, not just with the narrative development of the work but also with the technical/practical side of things and being able to help hold the production elements of the project… something that I personally find pretty overwhelming.
They’ve got a huge amount of experience and all this resource that we have been able to access, so its been a really great process for us.
We’ve been working closely with director/playwright Davie Anderson and he feels very much like part of the Solway to Svalbard team now, having that outside lens to look at a project has been a really helpful.  He’s been encouraging and supporting us to explore different ways of presenting the work… its definitely been a change from what we are used to within our own practices and at times a little daunting but actually it has been really refreshing and enjoyable and genuinely feel the work will be the better for it.
Its also been great to work up at Rockvilla, to have a bit of separation to properly focus on a project has been super helpful, not to mention that it’s a really cool space to work in.

What should we expect?

That’s a hard one as we’re still working that one out ourselves… I guess showing the work through Just Start Here allows us to properly test for the first time all the different elements of the work, that up until now we have been unable to.  As well as figuring out how to actually make this work we’ve been focusing a lot on the narrative of the project, and feel we’ve got to a really strong place with that.  There’s obviously elements that will be missing for this showing, but we’re hoping that folk will be able to get a good idea of what the finished work might be like.
For lots of different reasons this is a pretty complicated show, we’re combining multiple screens with surround sound design and live musicians as well as dialogue and other more theatrical elements.  So on that side of things it looks and sounds pretty cool… not the kind of thing you see very often… especially in a social club.

What are the future plans for the work?

What is great about Just Start Here is that it is an opportunity to test ideas and to see how folk respond to those ideas.  There will no doubt be things that need tweaked afterwards as well as other elements that we simply have not had time to get to yet.  We have a rough diamond here.

As I’ve said previously I’m really enjoying working with NTS on the project, so would like to continue that journey and see where we end up.  But the idea would be to create a touring work… it makes perfect sense to me that a work based on migration should travel itself.

Solway to Svalbard will be a part of Friday evenings Just Start Here festival, in Dumfries on Friday 28th February. Limited tickets are still available for the evening are £5 per person, and available online here