Research Topics and Speculation about Art and Public Space by Scottish artist Matt Baker

Sunday, 23 January 2011

voices of experience

The D+G Artists Gathering 2011 was a memorable affair almost 60 artists from around the region packed into a tiny village hall to talk about art and about what part we might play in this new chapter of society that seems characterized by uncertainty and aversion to risk.
Sculptor Iain Cant giving a talk about his recent practice at Artists Gathering 2011

The evening was shaped by presentations by glass artist Amanda Simmons sculptor Iain Cant and ceramicist Hannah McAndrew.
Our region has been fortunate to have considerable support available for the creative sector over the past 15 years, which has helped to build a mature, professional and diverse group of practitioners. This was the experience that spoke in Rhonehouse on Friday night as we considered how to respond to the cutting of the support that we had grown accustomed to.
We decided to form a new body for ourselves that would primarily function as a communication, information and lobbying network. We also discussed the opportunity that could be presenting itself to play a key part in the regeneration of our regional capital - Dumfries. 
An empty shop has been bought for the benefit of the town and we are in negotiation with the town council to use this shop as form of agit-prop cultural 'hub'. We propose an artist cafe, project space and 4 incubator units for creative industries. There are several other cultural/heritage projects emerging in the town and we believe that 'The Stove' could produce a programme of temporary public art projects and events that might foster collaborations across these diverse interests and help lock local people into a movement in support of a compelling new future for Dumfries as a centre of contemporary culture/heritage/environment.
The empty shop in the centre of Dumfries that has been bought for the benefit of the town


  1. Interesting developments. Look forward to hearing more about 'The Stove'.

  2. Matt,
    Grateful thanks from me for facilitating this discussion and for keeping this important issue on the agenda.
    We live in interewsting times!

  3. Thanks for the message Matt. Much appreciated. Hannah

  4. Thanks for the information and the ensuing interesting discussion; I hope we can summon up sufficient energy and motivation from the large creative community in D and G to form the discussed body and to carry us all forward in positive ways, even though to many of us - myself included - doing anything about it appears to be too much of a distraction from our work,I feel we can t afford to ignore the current situation and loss of our arts officers and their support.