News Projects

Artists and Community Landowners: Meet the Artists: Coulson and Tennant

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Artists and Community Landowners
Meet the Artists

Artists and Community Landowners is a collaborative project digging down into the stories of community landownership across Scotland and the impact it has for communities. The Stove is working with Community Land Scotland and six collaborating community trusts to explore stories of “ownership” and the effect it has had for local people, their identity, decision-making and the economic and social benefits for their community.

The Stories of Radical Landownership commission is being undertaken by Coulson and Tennant. As part of the project they have been visiting community land owners throughout the country; Bridgend Farmhouse in Edinburgh, Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, North Harris Trusts and South West Mull and Iona Development Trust.

Can you briefly explain your practice?

We (Dr Saskia Coulson and Colin Tennant) are an award-winning artist partnership, who develop projects through a lens-based practice, combining genres of documentary and fine art. Our work is underpinned by academic research and through visual storytelling, we create artistic, documentary and environmental work and draw inspiration from historical, creative and ecological references.

We aim to make works that spark conversations about the past, present and future of our man-made and natural world. We strive to create stories and produce work that can speak to various audiences; from local communities, international media, academia, art and cultural sectors We want to reach as many people as possible because we seek to create work that can advocate for change in the world.

How are you approaching the commission?

We believe that capturing stories of radical land ownership is important, both in terms of current social documentation, but also as a means to advocate for future practices and policy. And we think that communities should not only have rights to their land, but also the ownership of their narrative. Therefore, we wish to explore and share the story of community land ownership in Scotland through collaborative visual storytelling. For several years we have been embedding forms of co-creation into the process of visual storytelling. This way of working leverages the voices of communities and can enlighten situations in ways that could have not been otherwise anticipated.

We aim to use our skills in making multimedia stories and foresee our project building on three collaborative actions:

Document– In the context of photography and filmmaking, our work sits at the intersection of fine art and documentary and this allows our work to be used across many different media platforms. We will make multimedia material that can raise awareness and visibility of community land trusts across Scotland. Understanding the needs and expectations of various audiences, we can work with project participants to tailor the narrative and identify the various platforms where these stories can have a real impact.

Enable– We have developed methods and processes in our practices which supports others in visual storytelling, specifically, using mobile phones to document their lives. We have experience in delivering training workshops, both in-person and online. We want to collaborate with the four trusts to create visual stories which show the unique background of their journey and the impact it has had on their community.

Connect– Our practice is transdisciplinary (arts and culture, editorial and academia), and we make connections to try and increase the recognition of our work and the work of our collaborators. We see this project as part of our ongoing practice. Prior to the Stories of Radical Landownership commission being publicised, we had been researching current initiatives, including the community buyout of Langholm and Wanlockhead, and would like to explore how this project could develop into a framework for other communities.

The main aim of this project is to co-create visual stories with the communities. We hope to create a mixture of multimedia pieces, including photographic essays, short films/moving image work and audio pieces. These stories are expected to take several forms. They can be made in Gaelic and English and can vary in length from each community partnership, but also culminate in a longer documentary project. We want the communities to feel ownership of these stories and to use them to demonstrate their successes, but also the challenges they face. We also want to explore how this way of working can advocate and support future community buyout projects and have an effect in areas such as policy and land reform.

What excites you about the project?

We are excited to be working with four diverse community trusts at a very important and exciting time of Scottish land reform. The trusts that we are working with as part of this project are Bridgend Farmhouse in Edinburgh, Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, North Harris Trusts and South West Mull and Iona Development Trust.

Each trust provides a unique perspective in the bigger story of radical land ownership. We are collaborating with each to capture the journey that led them to form a trust and undertake a land asset transfer, but also to explore how the concept of ‘ownership’ effects the people of the communities. We are framing this project in an approach to building stories around the past, present and future of the trusts and community land ownership in Scotland.

There are many exciting aspects of this project, but we’ve been thrilled to meet so many interesting people from so many different backgrounds and hear from them their stories of land ownership. We’ve also been working with some young people from some of the trusts and getting to know what their aspirations for the future of their communities are.

How has the process been so far? Anything unexpected?

Currently, we have been immersing ourselves into the project by visiting the trusts and speaking to community members from each.

For example, earlier in the month we went to North Harris, a spectacular area of land located in the centre of a long chain of islands called the Western Isles off the North West coast of Scotland. Its dramatic Atlantic coastline and an incredible mountain range make this a very special place. The community purchased the land in 2003 and established the North Harris Trust to manage the estate. The estate comprises of 25,900 ha. of croft land, common grazings, and open hill ground. The Trust aims at building a stronger community and enhance its wild landscape.

We spent a week with the young people who live on, the estate as they undertook a John Muir Award during their October holidays. This was a great opportunity for us to get to know how young people perceive land ownership and what it means to them to grow up in a community trust. We were able to explore North Harris through their eyes, as they went on many hikes and kayak trips around the estate.

We also met community members who helped to establish North Harris Trust, and they took us to locations which meant a lot to them when they were young. The photo is of Callum, one of the founding members of the North Harris Trust. We started the week with a tour of all the places where he grew up whilst he told us stories of what it was like to be raised in such a remote and picturesque part of the world. The second photo is of Scarp, one of the places where Callum grew up but is now an uninhabited island.

We have also been visiting Bridgend Farmhouse several times over the past month to speak to the members about what it is like to be part of community trust in the city of Edinburgh. This is the only project partner that is situated in an urban context. We’ve been speaking to as many people as possible asking them about how they are involved in the trust, what they think is the value of having Bridgend Farmhouse as a community-owned asset and what they would like for the future of the organisation.

We’ve also been asking everyone at Bridgend what they think ‘radical land ownership’ means to them. We’ve been surprised that for many it is a simple idea that by having a place where you can go and do something that connects you with nature, physical making or building in the company of people you feel connected to. It is often reflected on in sharp contrast to many of the current values that are prevalent in contemporary society.

Has covid-19 affected your work with the community?

Everyone has been more careful in light of the global pandemic and we’ve been keeping up and abiding by the increased social distancing regulations. Fortunately, we have been spending a lot of time outdoors as part of this project. We’ve been lucky so far as most of the time that we have been collaborating with people the weather has been surprisingly good for Scottish standards.

We have also been meeting some community members on online platforms instead of face-to-face meetings. The silver lining of this approach is that we have been able to organise and meet a lot more people with a greater geographical reach than what we might have normally.

We’ve also been meeting with all the project partners and artists on for regular online meeting sessions. These have been great for meeting the other trusts and artists in the project and hearing about the other brilliant initiatives that are happening in regards to Scottish land reform.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] [vc_row type=”in_container” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ width=”1/1″][vc_video link=”″][vc_column_text]This short film, Our Island/Eilean Againn Fhèin was created by young people working with The North Harris Trust alongside Saskia and Colin as part of their project.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

News Projects

Artists and Community Landowners: Meet the Artists: Virginia Hutchison

Virginia Hutchison, artist with Urras Oigherachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust)

Artists and Community Landowners
Meet the Artists

Artists and Community Landowners is a collaborative project digging down into the stories of community landownership across Scotland and the impact it has for communities. The Stove is working with Community Land Scotland and 6 collaborating Community Trusts to explore stories of “ownership” and the effect it has had for local people, their identity, decision-making and the economic and social benefits for their community.

Virginia is working directly with Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn – Galson Estate Trust – on the Isle of Lewis. As a maker with a strong conversational aspect to her work, collaborative engagement underpins Virginia’s practice.

Can you briefly explain your practice?

Evolving around conversation my practice is broadly participatory and exists within an environment of social engagement. Shifting from work that sits within civic spaces to work within education, questions of how stimulus from works of art and architecture can affect memory and learning is central to this. Where and how we respond to works of art also affect our perceptions of ownership, the legacy of any particular artwork and the authorship of new narratives associated with it. With the processes involved in artistic production and presentation in mind what can be learned from how we engage with artistic practices? What happens when the roles of artist, object and viewer shift and how can we challenge the processes we have in place for critique and evaluation?

How are you approaching the commission?
Embarking on this commission during a global pandemic and the issues this presents in terms of how and where we communicate with each other is central to how I have chosen to approach this project. Taking the object as a point of departure for new narratives I am creating a series of cast bronze ‘talking objects’ that will become way-markers around the Galson estate – points where we might stop and reflect or navigate to another area. Embedded within the bronzed peats are QR codes – digital codes that when scanned will direct the listener to an audio archive on the Urras website. As a dynamic link the archive can develop alongside the walks and talks. As the archive grows the community will have the opportunity to site the way-markers permanently or to take them for a walk. As hand sized objects they are able travel to around the island – or mainland, contributing to other narratives around the country.
What excites you about the project?

I’m really delighted to be working with such an engaged community such as the Galson Estate and to learn first-hand how radical land ownership has helped to develop the Estate socially, culturally and economically.  Ideas of ownership are central to my own work and I’m excited to see how the project is shaped by the community.

How has the process been so far? Anything unexpected?

It has of course been challenging in terms of how we engage with each other but it has allowed the objects breathing space to develop and for us to experiment with digital archiving processes.

Has covid-19 affected your work with the community?

Expanding on my answer to question above – it is of course very hard to conduct interviews or community engagement when restrictions keep changing and when folk may live in different boroughs. Having a period in which experimentation and object production takes place is providing a buffer to this. It is also allowing the project to evolve in response to new COVID developments and allowing us to come up with solutions to community engagement.

News Projects

Artists and Community Landowners: Meet the Artists: Richard Bracken

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Artists and Community Landowners
Meet the Artists

Artists and Community Landowners is a collaborative project digging down into the stories of community landownership across Scotland and the impact it has for communities. The Stove is working with Community Land Scotland and 6 collaborating Community Trusts to explore stories of “ownership” and the effect it has had for local people, their identity, decision-making and the economic and social benefits for their community.

Richard is currently working with Abriachan Forest Trust, an environmental artist and creative educator based in Drumnadrochit, with 10 years experience of engaging with communities and collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams in Scotland and abroad.

Can you briefly explain your practice?

My work is a response to an ongoing, personal exploration of the land. I’m influenced by specific places, individual experience and wider themes that relate to how we live with the land.

My attention is usually drawn towards ecology, folklore, natural processes, time and memory.  I typically create sculpture using casting and mould-making processes. Drawing, photography and printmaking methods are also key aspects of my practice.

How are you approaching the commission?

I’ve been keen to understand the story of Abriachan Forest Trust by looking at the past, present and future of the community and it’s relationship to the land.  I’m looking at the story as an ongoing journey and to identify places that relate to key stages of this journey the community is taking together.

I’m aiming to create artwork that is accessible – eg objects that can be picked up, held and taken for a walk.  I believe that walking around the land plays a key role in understanding the story of AFT, so I’ve felt drawn to creating something that is portable, rather than something that exists in a fixed location.

So far I’ve been:

  • Getting to know how the trust operates and how it has developed
  • Looking through archive material that relates to the development of AFT – photographs, newsletters, forest plans and other maps.
  • Getting to know the young people and volunteers that participate in AFT’s activities – learning about the land from them by going on walks with them.
  • Talking to staff and community members about their relationships to AFT
  • Finding out which places resonate with the community by asking a series of questions.

Learning about materials I can feasibly source from AFT, plus facilities / expertise in the community that may come in useful for fabrication.

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What excites you about the project?

The opportunity to contribute creatively to the conversation about land use in Scotland.

Getting to know a community and seeing how they have grasped opportunities to utilise their land in ways that benefit local people and the environment.

Exploring the parallels between young trees and young people – the growth and development of both are crucial to AFT and their long term vision. 

On a personal note, having recently moved to within about 6 miles of Abriachan, the project has provided me with an invaluable opportunity to make new connections that I hope will last well beyond the lifespan of this project.

How has the process been so far? Anything unexpected?

Living so close has been a great advantage, giving me time to meet up with staff from AFT, slot into existing sessions and create new ones with relative ease.  This has allowed me to start getting to know people and allowed me to communicate to others about the project.  I feel that my thinking around the commission has benefitted from this close contact, as I come to understand AFT better, letting that influence my work.

Being close-by has also meant that I can spend my own time exploring other parts of AFT.
Has covid-19 affected your work with the community?

AFT are not able to work with as many young people as they would normally, so I have had less opportunity to see this side in it’s fullness. 

Some uncertainty around changes in guidelines and restrictions has meant having to be flexible in planning, or waiting until the last minute, but generally this has not been a disruption on outdoor working.


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Blueprint100 Musings News

Speeding Backwards: An update from Kyna Hodges 

As part of the ‘Speeding Backwards’ project there was to be a woman’s build weekend. The weekend was to help plan and construct a bicycle trailer that will house a dark room and equipment for taking photographs using the wet plate collodion process (for more information click here). The build up to the weekend was nerve racking, still the questions of ‘Can we? Can’t we?’ floating aground with the restrictions seeming to change daily.  

But the day finally arrived, food planned and workshop laid out! On the first day Emily Tough, Beck Tucker and Myself all got to know each other and then went into the workshop to get to know the tools. One of the most empowering things as a woman learning construction can be understanding the use of tools and what they can do. It gives you an idea of what is possible and how. We applied the tools to the task of creating a box that we designed and began to execute. I took portraits of the interns using the wet plate collodian process that the trailer is destined to house.  On the second day our female builder Alice Francis arrived and we set to work looking at how to construct the trailer, it was so inspiring being around all these different creative and problem solving minds. When having meals together it helped to cement us as a group and come at a problem with the same energy. After lunch we set about looking into the interns individual projects that they had been asked to prepare. The weekend ended on a high of everyone getting a start and insight into their own projects and the mass giveaway of tools!  

The next phases of the project are to complete the build and begin to contact primary schools about seeing them in the spring. This is when the other intern Faye McKellar will be joining to deliver educational workshops and create a slow moving wonderment down the coastline of Dumfries and Galloway.  


Kyna Hodges 


Email: [email protected] 



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.


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


Starter Opportunity with National Theatre Scotland

A new opportunity is now live from National Theatre Scotland (NTS) as part of their Starter Programme, for a Dumfries or Dumfriesshire based artist to develop a new idea for a piece of performance. Starter is an initiative designed to seed ideas and develop an artists’ practice, and this is one of eight opportunities places across Scotland in 2019.

The opportunity is based in Dumfries, with access to working space at The Stove if required and will take place at some time between July and September 2019, to be mutually agreed between the selected artist and NTS.
The deadline for applications is on Monday, 20th May 2019 at 5pm.

For full details, and to apply, visit the NTS website here and here.


Open Call for Visual Artists: Vestfold, Norway

We are very excited to be able to share a new opportunity for visual artists in collaboration with Vestfold Kunstsenter in Norway, and the List i Ljosi Light Festival in Iceland!

Histourism©Per Jonas Lindstrøm and Craig Edward Dykers/BONO 2002

OPEN CALL for Visual Arts Project – KUNSTLED VESTFOLD 2019
Opportunity for artists from Iceland, Scotland and Vestfold.

Vestfold Art Center is collaborating with The Stove Network in Dumfries in Scotland and List i Ljosi Light Art Festival in Seydisfjordur, Iceland on an artist exchange program where visiting artists will work together with local visual artists,on two site specific art projects for outdoor spaces in Vestfold, Norway.

The project«Kunstled Vestfold» has as a chief goal to promote local identity and environmental development, through working together, holding workshops in the local community and developing work in collaboration with local resource groups in the area.

The two sites are in the city of Tønsberg and on the island of Veierland, both in the county of Vestfold, Norway.

  • We are looking for an Icelandic visual artistwith relevant experience within the site specific and/or Environmental Art practice for a collaborative working residency on the island of Veierland in Vestfold county, Norway.
  • And a visual artist from Scotland (preference will be given to artists from or with a strong connection to Dumfries and Galloway though anyone resident in Scotland is welcome to apply) with similar experience for a working residency in the city of Tønsberg, also in Vestfold county, Norway.
  • The residence artist will collaborate with a Norwegian artist with local knowledge on a joint art project.
  • The project/period/development phase runs from January/February 2019.
  • The actual residency will last from 3 to 4 weeks in June 2019, and project itself will be realized on site from the beginning of June.
  • It is prerequisite that the project must run independently / be exhibited for the whole duration of the summer to the end of August.
  • The choice of genre and materials for the project is open but must fit into this brief.
  • A description of the actual project must be approved by Vestfold Art Centers Curatorial team by May 2019.

Application deadline: 1 November 2018 at 24.00

Final selection of artists will be made by a panel consisting of: Two artists appointed by Vestfold Art Centre, an artist appointed by Telemark Art Centre, a representative from Færder/Tønsberg Municipality Council and a representative from Vestfold County Council. A binding agreement is made between the elected artist and Vestfold Art Centre.

Applications from Scotland will be short-listed by the Curatorial Team at The Stove Network, in Dumfries, with chosen applicants required to visit the Stove for a pre-interview which will then be taken into consideration by the final selection panel after a second interview

Pre-interviews for Scottish applicants will take place in Dumfries on Monday the 12thof November – please indicate in your application if you are not able to make this date.

Scottish applicants should send their applications to [email protected]

For full details, including finances, artist requirements and details of how to apply please download the full call out available here: Vestfold Residency Description and Application Details

Red © Hanne Friis/BONO 2013
Musings News


Blog post from Stuart Paterson

Into the second of three months of the Lowland residency now & the project is nicely gathering pace & form. Things are beginning to take shape, both in the mind & in reality. The Flood of Words started out as a rivulet & is quickly becoming a spate. Coos have been dunked. Postcards have been piling up. Conversations have been had. Latvians have been gathering. Governmental approval has been forthcoming. Poets & writers have been assembled & given instruction &continue to rally to the cause.

Nithraid River Festival 2018 saw The Stove undergo Edinburgh Festival-like transformations as the weeks leading up to the Do With The Coo became days & great swathes of activity culminated triumphantly on Saturday August 11th on Dumfries’s Mill Green. The Salty Coo was held aloft & borne to the Green in a procession of funereal solemnity, weirdly inspirational music & surreal costumery, courtesy of pointy-eared funsters Madjakkals. It was hoisted high onto its pontoon midstream in the Nith, awaiting the winners of the boat race. They began to arrive after 1pm, completing a journey of 14 miles up the coast from Carsethorn (‘The Port of Dumfries’) by oar & sail, briefly, fragmentedly but strikingly recreating a time when the Solway was one of the busiest waterways anywhere on the British coast. By this time the Green was alive with stalls & people, performers & visitors, the river aflutter with sails. The weather was holding up & the Lowland stall was quickly busy with folk writing their thoughts on Dumfries on the Lowland postcards or the Typewriter of Truth.

Image Credit: Galina Walls

I was amazed at the amount of people who participated, popped over, curious, then keen to get involved. Many were visitors to the town, some from overseas, some day-trippers from outwith the region. Some were weans, some were ‘veterans’ of the toon. Many, many people were happy to contribute & so much of what they contributed was honest, touching, beautiful. Disparate words, phrases, poems, drawings, reflections, memories, hopes & visions coming together to add to a tapestry of what Dumfries means to those who live & visit here.

Image Credit: Kirstin McEwan

And so, the Salty Coo, created to commemorate two of Dumfries’s most important products when it was one of Scotland’s busiest trading ports – salt & livestock. It first appeared in 2013 – to be offered as tribute to the Nith & its glorious past, to rise again each year as a symbol of hope & optimism. This year, I was honoured to be asked to write an ‘Ode’ to the Coo as it was lowered into the river on some strange mechanical contraption & left to float downstream, its salt dissolving, its proud bovine features slowly disappearing beneath what passed for the river (2018 was a record dry summer). We’ll feature the Ode elsewhere on this site; in the Stove you can read it on a big blackboard. I proclaimed said Ode via the PA to the gathered masses, over 500 in the crowd, each of them shouting back the chorus with increasing gusto. It was indeed a proud moment, an exhilarating mixture of high panto & ancient Druidic solemnity as the Coo entered the Nith to the sound of the Doonhame Choir, was embraced by the Nith’s sluggish heartbeat, travelled 10 yards & got stuck on a traditional shopping trolley. No matter, the Ode will now be an annual thing, hopefully a fitting tribute not just to the town’s salutary bustling past but a verbal signpost to a future where the past’s not just a commodity but a mirror to the present.


In mid-August, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Communities, Aileen Campbell, visited The Stove. She heard about the ongoing work being carried out by the Midsteeple Quarter & their plans & vision for the regeneration of Dumfries town centre, making many of its empty or underused buildings accessible to independent traders & affordable properties for tenants from all social quarters. Aileen visited the Baker’s Oven, currently leased to The Stove for use as a creative venue for a peppercorn rent. While in The Stove, she spent time admiring the Flood of Words exhibition. It’s turning into some collection, I can tell you, an actual Flood of Words. It’s now taking up a whole wall in The Stove café & it’s still growing. Aileen was properly impressed by this tour de force show of community engagement & creativity. She has connections to the town herself & took away a Lowland postcard, promising to return it complete with her own creative thoughts on what Dumfries means to her. Cheers Aileen. And don’t forget the stamp.

Why not pop in & look at it? Or just to have a brew & something to munch – the Stove Café is a really central, accessible & mellow place to spend an hour or two in town meeting, blethering, thinking or just reading the papers. The food & drink are splendid too, the staff friendly & welcoming. And while you’re there, add your own tributary & see the Flood of Words grow further. There are Lowland postcards scattered about & a Lowland Post-box wherefor to deposit your words. Every word, every contribution means something as do you. Make yourself count.


High Street Writers will be meeting in The Stove on the following dates, all Wednesdays – September 12th & 19th, plus October 3rd. All sessions will run from 6-8pm & everyone’s welcome to come along, no matter your level of experience as a writer or in which genre (& it’s free). We’d love to meet you. Please come along. If you’ve any queries about the group or access needs, email The Stove & we’ll hopefully be able to sort it out. Writers are the beating heart of a community – come along to High Street Writers & help it beat stronger. And of course, Brave New Words, which I’m preparing for tonight. Dumfries’s very own fantastic showcase of spoken word meets on the last Friday of the month, next gathering being on September 28th at 7pm. There’s nothing quite like it in south-west Scotland. And if you’ve anything at all to contribute to or want to ask about Lowland, please comment here or send us a message at The Stove.

The Flood of Words continues, of course. Myself & Lowland’s lead artist Martin O’Neil have been meeting to plan & organise further events & engagements, particularly in schools & on the High Street. Look out for announcements about what’s coming up on National Poetry Day, October 4th, in the Baker’s Oven & on the street. The Dumfries Words Walk will be coming up in around 4 weeks. A series of posters, with extracts of work from many local writers, young & old, mostly alive, is in the production stages, for display in shops, schools, libraries & anywhere we can place them. And there are also plans to create a permanent poetry street, The Poets’ Close, in a yet-to-be-disclosed location in the town centre. Imagine – Dumfries having its own Poets’ Corner, where (most of) the poets arenae even deid yet.


Aaaand finally… On Wednesday September 5th, tangential to but still relevant to Lowland, we’re having the grand opening (huzzah!) of a major touring exhibition which will be at The Stove until the 13th. This is Latvia 100, celebrating 100 years of Latvian independence from Russia. It takes the form of 16 A1 panels of cartoon & text, drawn & written by the cream of Latvia’s creative talent & I can tell you, it looks utterly brilliant.

“This chronicle of Latvia’s history features historical events with international resonance: World War I, the interwar period, the Great Depression, World War II, the periods of occupation and related restrictions on freedom of expression, as well as the European Union and other contemporary political-economic subjects.”

There’ll be Latvian food, music & dance, all MCed by myself. It begins at 6.30pm with a speech by Dumfries’s Provost, Tracey Little, to be followed by an address by no less a person than Latvia’s ambassador to the UK, Her Excellency Ms. Baiba Braže. D&G’s Latvian community have responded brilliantly & we’re really pleased to be hosting an exhibition that’s also visiting Liverpool, London, Manchester, Glasgow & Edinburgh. The cartoons are tremendous. Please do come along & see it between the 6th & 13th, if you can’t make the launch next Wednesday. To which, of course, all are most welcome. No bad for a wee toon, eh? But a wee toon with an increasingly big creative presence on the UK stage.



Lowlands Writer in Residence

The Stove Network is delighted to announce the appointment of poet Stuart. A Paterson in the post of writer-in-residence as part of their new Lowland project which looks to create a living story of Dumfries over the next three years by placing professional writers within the community to reflect a town in an important place in its history. Former BBC Scotland Poet in Residence, Stuart commented:

‘I’m delighted to become writer in residence for the Stove’s Lowland project for the next three months. Putting creativity and art at the heart of Dumfries’s town centre regeneration is an exciting thing in which to be involved. Poetry and art ought to be accessible and enjoyable for everyone, no exceptions, and relevant to the place it’s in. I’m really looking forward to engaging with the people of Dumfries to create and share ideas of what we want our town to be, to produce work which will make folk smile, think and feel they’re part of, not apart from.’

Lowland is a project to help connect people with literature activity in the town and help contribute to an evolving series of installations, artworks, readings and events which will stimulate and grow creative responses of what it is to live in Dumfries right now. Working alongside community groups and other town related activity, Lowland hopes to ignite Dumfries’ creative ingenuity in the written word and highlight a town at a peak of ambition and creativity.

Lead artist, Martin Joseph O’Neill of the project commented:
‘It’s a really amazing opportunity to be able to not only support our local professional writers over the next few years in different ways, but is also is an opportunity for people with an interest in reading and writing to break through. With the Stove’s Brave New Words open mic events growing month after month, this is a chance to really make our mark, showcasing emerging and professional writers on the national stage in an innovative and exciting way.’

For further information on the Lowland project email [email protected] or pop along to Brave New Words, hosted every last Friday of the month at the Stove, 100 High Street


Lowland: Writer in Residence Opportunity

The Stove is seeking a writer in residence to contribute to a three year project entitled Lowland.Lowland is a 3-year project conceived and delivered by the Stove Network. It seeks to place writers at the core of the Stove’s and local community’s activities to reflect and celebrate a town in a transitional phase of its history. Lowland will generate a contemporary narrative of place, by interacting with and responding to current activity in the town, through the written word. Public engagement with literary activity in the town and creative writing in general will be increased and Lowland will highlight new perspectives of Dumfries through the lens of the written word.

In 2018 the Lowland project seeks to commission a writer in residence based* within the Stove’s building at 100 High Street for a period of 3 months (July to September) to:

  • Engage with our communities and to run creative writing workshops for emerging writers (a minimum of three workshops, one of which is outreach with a local school or community group)
  • Inspire and encourage participation in writing activities taking place throughout the region
  • Engage with the Stove’s Brave New Words events and related literary activity.
  • It is expected that the writer will have a regular presence at the Stove but it is not assumed they will work solely in the building.
  • To maintain an online blog, published on the Stove Network website
  • Work with the community and the Lead Artist of the Lowland project to create an original written response, in their chosen form, on the life of Dumfries’ town centre. (We are expecting the writer to gain inspiration through participating in the Stove’s varied programme, as well as connecting with our community partners)

Towards the end of the residency the writer will work with the Lead Artist of the project to develop a showcase of their work for the residency – the format for this presentation is open eg it could be printed, a work-in-progress performance or a temporary public artwork (eg pasted texts in public space etc).

Lowland will have an online and physical presence in Stove activities and Brave New Words events with the writer in residence maintaining an online blog on the Stove website and contributing to our Brave New Words open mic events.

For more information and how to apply please download here: Writer in Residence Lowland Opportunity Info