Monday 1 September 2014

Site Closed

We have moved!!

This blog site is no longer active. We will be keeping this site available as an archive of past Stove events and projects, however to keep up to date please head across The brand new Stove blog and website here, and on our facebook and twitter accounts

Thursday 21 August 2014

Nithraid - All Hands on Deck!

Last year we were blown away by the response to Nithraid, and this year we have grabbed the opportunity to expand and grow the event for a second year, taking place on Saturday the 13th September. The Nithraid team has once again grown, to include musicians, rollerskaters, performers, and stall holders. There has been lots of work going on behind the scenes, but now that we come into the final stretch - the last four weeks before Nithraid - we would like to ask those interested in volunteering for the event to get in touch.

We plan to run in a similar manner to the Guid Nychburris event earlier in the summer, setting up a temporary 'workshop' in the week running up to Nithraid where there will be hands-on opportunities, preparing flags and pennants, dressing the ceremonial salty cow, and much else besides! 

On the day itself things we need help with are: joining the procession through the town, erecting marquees, general stewarding, helping around the marketplace on the Whitesands there are all sorts of things we would love a little extra help with. There will be a celebratory party held on the Saturday evening to which all volunteers, race go-ers, and crews will be invited. 

One wee special job we need a couple of cyclists for...this year we will be tracking the progress of the race for people waiting on the Whitesands. We need a couple of cyclists to be following progress a long the river and phoning in updates to the team on the Sands.

If you would like to help out please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you! Just send a quick email with your availability, even for an afternoon, before the 3rd of September to 

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Nithraid 2014 - Get Your Applications in Now!

The Nithraid is a dangerous dinghy race, challenging up to fifty boats to sail from Carsethorn up the river Nith to the caul at the Whitesands in the centre of Dumfries. Competitors are required to navigate the sands, tides and three bridges - all without motors. 
Competitors from last years Nithraid mustered in Carsethorn before making the trip up river into the heart of Dumfries
The inaugral Nithraid took place last year with thirteen boats made the trip up the Caul - with first place being awarded to Piella, skippered by Adam Booth with a time of 2 hours and 6 minutes. 

This year's Nithraid is just five weeks away, taking place on Saturday 13th of September. If you are interested in taking part in this year's race please get you applications in now!

Full details on how to apply are available via the new Nithraid website here 

Saturday 26 July 2014

The Stove's Herald!

A while back we put out an opportunity for something called a 'Public Communicator and Herald' - We had a strong sense of the spirit of the role...but found it very hard to describe the selection process was a very 2-way process....after much conversation and inspiration from all involved in the process...Ladies and Gentlemen we are very proud to announce that our Herald is Moxie DePaulitte: 

Hello there, I’m Moxie and I’m delighted to be able to introduce myself as The Stove’s newly appointed Public Communicator and Herald which, at the risk of sounding like a Valley Girl, is just like, totally, you know, the coolest job title ev-ah.
I’ve been asked to write a short post introducing myself but, although I’m really good at talking about other things, I’m really don’t excel at saying things about myself so I enlisted the help of my four year old. This is what she said:
“She is nice and cuddly and warm. And she has a really nice job. She do some importment stuff and she always loves me and she always does nice stuff for us. And she uses all her money up for food for us. Her name is Moxie she does some pretty good stuff. Can I go back in the paddling pool now, please?”
So there you have it; a definitive guide to me, my work and my new role. 
Moxie DePaulitte - Stove Herald
I think she’s pretty much covered everything but, just in case any of you aren’t fluent in Preschooleeze, I’ll translate...I’ve been involved in the arts for as long as I can remember and love the passion, power and opportunities the creative process stirs up. Sadly, however, art works are frequently just presented to us and the glory and excitement of this process is missed because we don’t know the why, the what, and the wow.
A lot goes on behind the scenes and, when a group is so absorbed in a project, it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows the back story; the reasons and the nuances behind a piece. It’s not transparent. So, this is where I come in: Part of my role is to help more people become aware of and involved in that very process; to make sure everyone understands what’s going on and that the cogs are visible as they’re turning.
The lovely people at The Stove know it can often feel like events go on around us and happen to us rather than with us and for us and they would very much like that to change.
On funding bids they probably call it ‘Building Stronger Community Relationships’ but, luckily for me, that translates as ‘meeting up with people for a cup of tea, chin wag and a biscuit’, so get in touch! Share with me your ideas and questions; I’ll be delighted to talk them through with you. Let’s see how we can get you involved.

email me and I’ll get back to you.

Be part of something brilliant. You really can help shape Dumfries into the town you know it can be.

Diaries Oot

Our year-long programme of events got off to a fine start with Dumfries Charter14 at the end of June…..but there is plenty more to come. Here are the dates we have at the moment – get ‘em in the diary!
(Many more details to be announced – but we thought we should give you the basic dates asap)

Last year's Nithraid poster
Nithraid 2015 will take place on Saturday 13th September on and around the River Nith in Dumfries

Following on from last years triumphant inaugural Nithraid – it is back for 2015….more boats in the race…an arty market by the Nith…musical procession…and artworks of every stripe.

Nithraid will be one of our biggest events this year – there are lots of ways that you can get involved:

2.Trading Journeys
Trading Journeys will take place on Saturday 27th October at multiple locations in Wigtown – culminating outside the County Buildings from 4pm
The Stove Network has been commissioned to create a live artwork for the Wigtown Book Festival. Trading Journeys is an ambitious event with ways for festival-goers to get hands-on. The project is based around Wigtown’s role as a market town and the different routes that people and goods took to get there. Trading Journeys will involve crossings of the Cree Estuary, horse drawn transport and a procession with everything coming together around a portable foundry making spoons (sounds fairly Stoveish – right)


3.Parking Space
Parking Space will take place on 17th and 18th October
A two-day event that creatively inhabits unexpected urban spaces. Parking Space will ask searching questions about the urban environment in Dumfries …and be a lot of fun. One of the elements of Parking Space will be The Stove Network AGM…unlike any boring old meeting you have ever experienced our AGM will be an artwork in itself and chance for the everyone to get together.

Last years DMC poster

4.Dumfries Music Conference
Provisional Dates for DMC are 27-29th November
Now in its third year DMC is going from strength to strength as learning space and showcase event for the independent music scene. 

The Nithraid Street Market

Street market opportunity 

For this year's  Nithraid on Saturday 13th September, The Stove Network are organising a street market on the banks of the Nith at Whitesands. We are looking for interesting and creative stallholders to fill the market and attract the crowds, as well as performances and events.

Covered stalls will be provided

  • for anyone offering a display/demonstration/interactive event, they will be be no charge.  
  • For those primarily selling goods, there will be a charge of £30 for the stall.  
  • For those selling food separate concessions are to be negotiated.

Nithraid 2013

More than 2500 people attended the Nithraid event last year - there is quite a long time for the crowds to wait for the boats....a great opportunity for people to browse in a market. And a chance for Dumfries to re-establish its riverside as a place for people rather than parked cars!

All proposals to be made by Friday 22nd August to

Join The Stove Sewing Bee..

Can you sew? Volunteer stitchers are wanted to sew up some flags for Nithraid.

If you have a sewing machine and are willing to help, we have an awful lot of flags and pennants to make, to decorate the boats and the river banks for Nithraid on Saturday 13th September.  Very easy stuff – sewing a hem and ties into lightweight ripstop nylon.  We will provide the material, pattern and instructions, you just provide the skill (and thread) to put them together.
Interested? Get in touch.... 
Flags from a previous Stove project - Creetown Ferrythorn....designed by the wonderful Lisa Gallacher

Friday 25 July 2014

The Stove Network Project Manager

You know how names for things at The Stove can be a real challenge (err opportunity?) ….never more so in the case of our new Project Manager! The job title went through unimaginable twists and turns (you might remember it was advertised as ‘Organisational Manager/Projects Coordinator’). Anyways we are delighted to announce that Stove member Ailsa Watson was offered and accepted the role –the first task Ailsa tackled was the job title – ‘Project Manager’ it is!!
Those paying attention will remember that Ailsa joined us in April initially as our Finance Administrator.

A rare photo of Ailsa
Ailsa says she is  'not really be from anywhere’ – she was born in Paisley and grew up on the West Coast before a globetrotting existence led her back to Glasgow where she met and married a dashing Doonhamer. She is an Art Graduate who has followed an amazingly impressive career path through a mixture of high profile arts jobs and working within the commercial digital sector. Naturally one of the most impressive things on Ailsa’s CV is her role as a producer on The Stove’s ‘First Foot’ project in Jan 2012 – she has been a member since the get go.

Ailsa and her husband have been living between Glasgow and Dumfries for some time whilst looking for the right opportunity to move to the South West full-time. The next bit of good news is that the couple have found a place on the outskirts of Dumfropolis and will be flitting Glasgow in August.

Ailsa is looking forward to seeing more of her D+G pals, making new acquaintances and working with the wider community

This feels like a really significant move for The Stove Network to be now working with genuine administrative and managerial capacity. It  has been a long time coming, but that is part of the essence of working collectively – things do take time – but when they do happen we know that we have all travelled together to reach this place.
We had an amazing response to our call for people to take on this role – including others form our incredibly talented membership – it was a tough, tough task making this decision and we’d like to thank everyone that applied…there were many other people that we are sure we will be working with in the future.

Do pop in and introduce yourselves to Ailsa!

The Stove in Exile - our temporary address

Its been a restless old year so far as afar as studio space goes…..we vacated 100 High Street in mid February and then had a spell of operating out of cafes and peoples flats (thank due to all the café owners in the town and Belle Doyle). Finally in early June our pals at the Council sorted us out a temporary office in Queensberry Street (see below). But, we still have no regular studio space and are very much in the debt of Father Andrew Crosbie who kindly let us use Greyfriars Church Hall as a making space in the lead up to Guid Nychburris.
Here is a map for our current premises. 
Click on the map to enlarge and then save and print if you like
We are on the fourth floor and there is no entry system – so please ring us when you get to the door and we’ll let you in:

The Stove Board - Away Day

One of our standard ways of describing The Stove Network is that 'The Curatorial Team decide and deliver the artistic vision for The Stove Network – in this they are supported by a Board, who are responsible for governance and The Stove Network has a general membership of 110 people, ranging from contemporary artists to café-owners, to video artists and DJs.' Whilst strictly accurate this does not even scratch the surface of how crucial the Board really are....they really are the 'wise heads on young shoulders' of The Stove midfield.
Everyone has been looking at ways to continue the momentum of collaborative working in the Board and between the Board and the Curatorial team. Some bright spark suggested an Away Day - where Board and CT could spend some quality time, find out what made each other tick and do some big thinking about The Stove Network.....this is what happened next:

The Stove Network Board and Curatorial Team assemble in Kippford - 27.06.14. From left: Scott McIver, Mike Bonaventura, Colin Tennant, Matt Baker, Linda Mallett, Katie Anderson, David Smith, Fiona Smyth, Magnus Smyth, Andrew Ward...Will Levi Marshall was taking the picture
We started by each talking about an object that inspires us or says something about who we are.
Things got even more arduous with a walk along the shore
Board and CT in 'deep thought mode'
Board members admitted some disappointment when the menus turned out to be People's Charters for Dumfries
Linda was uncharacteristically sceptical on the merits of Lada Four-Wheel Drive
The day was perfectly timed to help the final push before submission of our application for 'Regular Funding' ....loads of good ideas and shared vision for The Stove Network....that was described as more of movement than a business by one Board Member....bring it on!

Monday 21 July 2014

Calling all Musicians!

Nithraid returns for 2014 - bigger and better than ever!

For those of you who made it down to the Whitesands last September, you may remember our fabulous scratch Samba band which paraded it's way around the town and down the river to welcome the boats.

This year, we welcome Ruth Morris and Gavin Marwick, who will be writing new music especially for Nithraid!

Would you like to be involved? We are looking for young people (16-25 ish) who would like to be part of a Balkan style street carnival band that will form the core of a procession group leading the town down to welcome the boats on the Whitesands.

We would particularly like some brass, woodwind, accordion and percussion players, but all instruments are welcome. Intermediate level and above, capable of learning a short piece of music, by ear or from music, and playing whilst walking.

Nithraid this year takes place on the 13th of September. There will be several rehearsal dates in the run up to Nithraid taking place in Dumfries at a venue to be confirmed.

Interested?? Send us a quick email to with your contact details and we'll be in touch!

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Opportunity: Public Art Residency

An opportunity for an artist (or artist team) to be supported for a of period of socially-engaged research within the context of the changing identity of the ‘Regional Capital of the South West’ – Dumfries. The selected artist will work alongside The Stove Network and take advantage of their resources locally, nationally and internationally. The outcomes of this commission will be presented as part of a major public art programme for Dumfries supported by Creative Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Holywood Trust.
The Stove Network is an emerging artist-led organisation based in Dumfries. The organisation is led by a Curatorial Team who in turn lead a diverse membership in excess of 100 people in projects that work creatively with local people in Dumfries and surrounding area to collectively build a new vision for the town.

A fee is offered of £8,000 (+ additional production budget for realising an outcome of the research period)
Deadline for submissions – 28th July 2014
Full brief from

Thursday 26 June 2014

Dumfries is what we All Make Together - Charter14 Unveiled

If you’ve never been to Guid Nychburris before, it’s too late - you’ll have to wait until next year. The annual event, which celebrates the 1395 Royal Charter for the Burgh of Dumfries, has become a regular in The Stove calendar (previous exploits here and here).

Drawing inspiration from the 'original' Charter (an update from the earlier 1186 Charter), which is read out on Guid Nychburris Day, The Stove embarked on the ambitious task of writing a new ‘People’s Charter’ for the town, inviting input and inclusions from community groups, organisations and individuals living, working and inhabiting Dumfries. Where the original Charter granted land and fishing rights, Charter14 set out a declaration, of values for the future prosperity of Dumfries. “Dumfries is what we all make together.”

We were overwhelmed by the response to the idea with contributions coming in from all walks of life - all underlining the depth of felling that people have about Dumfries. The first draft of Charter14 was compiled with the help of local writer and lecturer Dave Borthwick from the contributions of the public and was unveiled in grand fashion, with the Dumfries Fountain as the centrepiece on Saturday with lots of help and the handy adage ‘Just Add Water’….

Thanks to Mike for all his work on the Fountain’s new structure!

The text on the banners around the fountain changed colour when they became wet....buckets were filled from the fountain and people were invited to hurl wet sponges at the banners to reveal their message.

Charter14 is not intended as a finished document. Like the original, revisited and amended – The Stove invited Doonhamers from across the town to add their mark; editing, adding and signing over 150 variations of the new charter over the course of the afternoon.

The 1395 Charter was venerably sealed with the town seal, also celebrated in the Guid Nychburris festivities, and Charter14 was no different, with it’s very own seal created by artist David Ralston.

The project prompted discourse late into the evening, around notions of authentication and validity, as each charter was signed by a unique signatory, ranging in age from 5 to 85, including everyone from local politicians, to the Queen (of the South)’s attendants, and passers by.

The Stove has been absolutely overwhelmed with the amazing response to #MakingDumfries and the Charter14, and would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to the Charter, joined in on Saturday, helped facilitate the day and worked from our studio-in-exile in the run up to the event.

Dumfries is what we all Make Together.

Brave Enough to Take Risks and Surprise People.

To see more images of the day - have a look at our flickr set here
All Photo Credits: Colin Tennant.

Thursday 12 June 2014

The Grand Unveiling of a Charter in Process....your invitation

Revealed in the streets as only The Stove Network can
.......@ Guid Nychburris

'just add water'
12.30pm on Saturday 21st June

The artists of The Stove Network have challenged the town to create a ‘peoples charter’ for the future of Dumfries.  The 1395 Royal Charter for the Burgh of Dumfries, is read out each year as part of Guid Nychburris (Good Neighbours) Festival – this year there will be an alternative version as well….

The Dumfries Charter 14 is made up of contributions from individuals and community groups and begins with the premise that people are responsible for making their place – and they do not need to ask anyone’s permission other than their fellow citizens.
Dumfries Charter 14 near the town fountain on the High Street immediately after the crowning of the Queen of the South at 12.30pm on Saturday 21st June

You're invited to come and be part of it - see you there!

It is all too common for people to think that ‘someone else is in charge’ of what happens here – we hope this new people's Charter will inspire more people to believe that we all have a part to play in making Dumfries the best place for everyone to live, work and play
From enterprise and opportunity to diversity and bus srevices, ‘Dumfries is something that we all make together’ has sparked conversation and debate as suggestions towards a new charter have flown in. 
'We were delighted to be approached to contribute to the new charter. We exist to give a voice to people who do not always feel included and we feel very proud to be part of a charter which reflects local people’s commitment to increase understanding and promote equality'  Dumfries and Galloway Multicultural Association

Dumfries Charter 14 will be launched on the High Street on a series of giant canvas banners – the text on the banners requires the application of water to make it visible – Stove members will be inviting members of the public to assist them in ‘applying’ the water and revealing the Charter to the world.

Also people will be invited to edit, stamp, sign and seal their own personal version of the Charter to take away with them and members of The Stove team will be there to help and talk. Proceedings will also be helped along by the visit of a mystery guest from history who has already played a part in social movements in Scotland.
 Background - here

and on Stove Facebook - here 

This is The Stove Network's third year at Guid Nychburris:
2012 - Punkin' the Jubilee
2013 - Back2Back Dumfries 

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Opportunity: A Temporary Installation in a River

A temporary public art commission forming a central feature for Nithraid 2014, a temporary public participation event developed by The Stove Network as part of TheStove@TheStove public art programme.

Nithraid is a challenging sailing race from Carsethorn on the estuary, up the River Nith to the very heart of Dumfries – a distance of about 10 miles.

The Nithraid, and all its constituent parts are about re-connecting people with the River and the spaces around it. Whilst waiting for the sailors to arrive at the finishing line, the audience lining the banks of the river (2,000 last year, hoping for over 5,000 this year) will be engaged in activities created by artists as part of the overall event which are likely to include:
* A marching band in procession
* A street market along the river
* Skateboarders and rollerbladers performing

The temporary river installation commission
We want to mark the race finishing point in the river with a dramatic feature, in place just for the day of the event, Saturday 13 September.

We have few preconceptions regarding the final form of the installation, so are hoping to be surprised and inspired! The installation could definitely (but by no means exclusively) use water as its main material.

Key Dates
* Submission date for spplications 4 July 2014
* Nithraid Event date 13 September 2014

£3,000, including fees, all materials and costs, VAT.

Application procedure
A detailed brief is available from
Digital applications only, to be received by 4 July 2014

for images from the inaugural Nithraid staged by The Stove - see here