From Countryside to High Street: Creative Projects Kick off Across Tay Region
A group of seven Creative Practitioners challenged to boost climate justice efforts across the Tay region has been unveiled today (Wednesday 4 August 2021).
Appointed by Creative Dundee’s CULTIVATE programme, each practitioner will work with a Community Partner for six months, developing place-based solutions to boost engagement and capture hearts and minds within their local community. Through workshops, activities and events with local communities, they will create new ways to respond to local climate change and social challenges that can then be shared across the Tay region.
In Dundee, Fine Art graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Finlay Hall will be working with The MAXwell Centre in the Coldside/Hilltown area of the city. Its community centre and garden team provide a welcoming and empowering environment where groups and individuals of all ages and backgrounds can learn and share, grow and socialise. The team supports people to address issues affecting them such as poverty, poor health and social isolation through dignified, creative and sustainable solutions.
Finlay, who will be studying Horticulture at the Scottish Rural College from September is looking to engage with those who do, and do not, use the space locally and facilitate fresh approaches to drum up engagement. He hopes to leave a lasting legacy that will strengthen community bonds, encourage dialogue between residents and promote learning and pastimes.
Meanwhile, in the West End of Dundee, The Gate Church Carbon Saving Project is seeking creative input to boost engagement with its Community Wardrobe. The project aims to reduce the community’s carbon footprint while inspiring people to make sustainable choices by donating pre-loved garments and acquiring new clothes for free.
Commissioned to address its challenge is Dundee mum Jade Anderson, actor, theatre-maker and facilitator. Her work focuses on celebrating the working class Dundee and their local dialect. Having grown up in some of the most deprived areas in the city, Jade is looking to explore why people from deprived backgrounds can struggle to see the arts as accessible or relevant, and reverse that thinking, believing that, “everyone has a voice and a story to tell and the right to tell that story.”
Meanwhile, in Angus, Kirsty McKeown and Jeni Reid will be working with social enterprise Community First which runs Angus’ first social supermarket, S-Mart in Forfar alongside eco-friendly recycling shop BRAND.
Kirsty teaches Art and Design at Glasgow Clyde College and also at Art Angel Dundee, supporting people with mental health difficulties through creativity. She also co-organises Dundee Zine Fest and runs Chainworks Studios in Dundee. Meanwhile, Jeni is a photographer following a career as a Social Worker specialising in mental health support. She is currently working with Arbroath 2020+1 on a project reflecting the town’s linen industry, placing large cyan-blue photographic prints in civic spaces.
The duo hope to become immersed in the community, engage with everyone, regardless of any barriers or preconceived ideas they might have, drill down to the issues they face and pinpoint potential, locally-led solutions.
In Fife, Zoe Swann has been commissioned to work with People Learning About Nature in Tayport (PLANT), a subgroup of Tayport Community Trust which brings people together to grow food and flowers, while reducing carbon emissions and enhancing Tayport’s natural environment.
Zoe (22), who specialises in illustration, video and music believes 2021 could be a ‘pivotal year for Tayport’ with next month’s Tayport Climate Festival and the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. She aims to bring all corners of the community together, hear about their dreams and goals for Tayport and beyond and help facilitate the actions the community seeks to take.
Last but by no means least, in Perthshire, writer Taylor Waggoner (24), who recently graduated with a BA in Contemporary Performance Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, will work with the Scottish Crannog Centre at Kenmore, by Aberfeldy. The Crannog Centre cares for and makes accessible the finds of Crannog dwellers on Loch Tay 2500 years ago. Having recently acquired land across the Loch to expand their offering, the Centre aims to become the greenest museum in Scotland, inspiring the future with minimal impact on the local environment.
Through her passions for storytelling and writing, Taylor aims to get more younger people involved in the Centre’s longer-term aims, ‘passing the torch to the younger generation’ and developing community ownership, through the ancient practices and their relevance to the modern day.
Meanwhile, Nicky Bolland has been commissioned to work with what has been described as a ‘museum without walls’, the Cateran Ecomuseum and Alyth Development Trust who have recently joined forces to launch Scotland’s first ‘Museum of Rapid Transition’. Over the next three years, events and activities are being designed that will show local people and visitors how the story of our past can help guide the story of our future.
Nicky (33), a creative arts practitioner and community worker from Caputh has worked with communities across Scotland and internationally on a wide range of issues and enjoys building relationships, growing ideas and exploring big questions. Nicky hopes to engage the local community, including the younger generation, using the lessons from the past to shape a better and more sustainable future.
The Creative Practitioners will take up their six-month projects on 23 August 2021 and an additional six opportunities will be available with a new set of Community Partners at the end of the year.
As well as working with their specific communities on a climate justice challenge, the practitioners will all come together to exchange knowledge, develop their work and spark new collaborations and opportunities across the Tay region.
Claire Dufour, Creative Climate Producer, Creative Dundee said, “We’re delighted to join forces with these brilliant talents and CULTIVATE will offer them brilliant opportunities to explore how their creative skills and expertise can be harnessed for the benefit of the resilience and wellbeing of our communities, in face of the climate emergency. Local environmental challenges and social issues have been made starkly visible by COVID-19, with inequalities more often felt by those who have the least say, and I believe that any resolution must come from local organising and cross-disciplinary collaboration.”
“The Tay region is so diverse, geographically, socially and economically, and CULTIVATE will also enable regional learning and sharing around being a sustainable place to live, work, play and visit.“
Creative Dundee has secured £300,000 of Creative Scotland ‘Culture Collective’ funding, part of the £6M Scottish Government emergency COVID-19 fund, to support this exciting, new 18-month programme which will include projects across the Tay region – Perth and Kinross, Dundee, North East Fife and Angus. In total, the project will create 12 paid opportunities, of which half will be exclusive to young practitioners aged 16-24. The project will also reach the wider public through a visible high street presence within empty retail units.
CULTIVATE will be delivered in collaboration with a number of partners, including both Dundee City Council and Perth and Kinross Council.
Launched in 2008, Creative Dundee leads collaborative projects which generate local, national and international opportunities for people and the city, supporting Dundee’s strong creative ecology. Most notably, Creative Dundee led the development and creation of Dundee’s Creative Industries Strategy in conjunction with key partners.
To find out more about CULTIVATE – and take part in public events and workshops – please visit https://creativedundee.com/cultivate/
NOTE TO EDITORS
Creative Dundee is one of 26 organisations to secure Culture Collective funding, delivered by Creative Scotland and part of a £6M Scottish Government emergency COVID-19 fund to help Creative Practitioners, organisations and communities develop ways of responding to the impacts of the pandemic.
The 18-month CULTIVATE project has recently commissioned one cohort of seven Creative Practitioners (artists, designers and makers) working with six Community Partners across the Tay region – Perth and Kinross, Dundee, North East Fife and Angus. Each partner has set an ambition which the Creative Practitioner will help achieve through whatever creative practice/s they choose to embrace. Six further commissions will be open for application later this year.
Kathryn Welch, Culture Collective Programme Lead, added, “It’s a pleasure to welcome these artists and creative practitioners to CULTIVATE, and to the national Culture Collective network. By connecting their work with community-rooted projects and artists all across Scotland, there’s a real opportunity for these artists to support one-another, share their learning and expertise, and be part of a network advocating for the role that creativity can play in our communities. As the network grows, CULTIVATE’s new team will be able to connect their experiences in the Tay region with the wider cultural and community sector – exploring and testing new models of engagement and participation that have the potential to shape the future of local cultural life.”