About What We Do Now
What We Do Now (WWDN) is a Creative Placemaking Network that has been piloted in Dumfries & Galloway and is hosted by the Stove Network, an award-winning arts and community organisation based in the heart of Dumfries town centre. Working with artists, communities, and organisations, WWDN is a unique and ground-breaking initiative that continues to evolve and expand with those involved.
The initial pilot supported community anchor groups (community hubs) in towns across Dumfries & Galloway to host creative practitioners for an extended period to work with sections of their communities to co-create new future visions and practical projects. Artists, hubs, and communities were supported to explore bold new ideas with a particular focus on those under-represented in local decision making.
Each of the founding community hubs are in or working with communities experiencing disadvantage. All have identified sections of their own community where COVID has accentuated existing disadvantage and exclusion and have some experience of working culturally.
The WWDN Creative Placemaking Network is now in a period of transition to establish itself as a sustainable network for the region that will drive forward community-led work and support the growth of resource, expertise, and knowledge in creative placemaking across Dumfries & Galloway.
Creative Placemaking was explored by The Stove through the Embers Report, co-written by Carnegie Trust UK and supported by South of Scotland Enterprise. The Embers Report consulted with 21 community organisations across Dumfries & Galloway, identifying this work as ‘creative placemaking’ and proposing a networked approach to support for creative community-led change. One of the early social enterprises initiated through the creative placemaking work of The Stove is Midsteeple Quarter which has a national profile as one of the most significant community-led developments in Scotland. Read more about The Stove’s story of regeneration in Dumfries town centre.
The Culture Collective Programme initiated in 2021 was part of the Scottish Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which supported freelance creative practitioners to work in communities as part of national covid recovery. Through Culture Collective, The Stove piloted a creative placemaking network, WWDN, supporting community organisations (place hubs) to host creative practitioners in five towns across Dumfries and Galloway (Castle Douglas, Dumfries, Langholm, Sanquhar and Stranraer – Lockerbie joined in 2022).
The WWDN pilot was an ambitious approach to creative placemaking in partnership with creative practitioners, community groups, and organisations across the region.
Evaluation Report – September 2022
The WWDN – Evaluation Snapshot Sept. 2022 highlights key learnings from the project’s first phase as a resource for developing the potential and scope of creative placemaking to promote economic wellbeing, social enterprise, and community development within and beyond the WWDN project.
The two independent Evaluators for this report are: Jenny Elliott, Urban Designer (CMLI) and Visual Communication and Shawn Bodden, Geographer and Evaluation Researcher.
kNOw One Place – September 2022
KNOw One Place took place in Dumfries in September 2022 and was an ambitious, future-thinking discussion on how communities can use creativity to lead the development of their places. Through a mixture of open space discussion and expert reflection, exhibition, and original artworks, it brought people together from public, private, independent, and charitable sectors to share and co-create an agenda for creativity and placemaking for the future.
Your Place – September 2022
The Your Place multimedia exhibition told the story of WWDN so far, as documented by artists Kirstin McEwan and Patrick Rooney. Throughout the project photographer Kirstin and filmmaker Patrick documented the various activities and initiatives and will showcase the highlights of the initiative as part of this exhibition.
“For years you’ve been told No! Things you want to achieve or have, are not possible, so you believe it’s never possible. Life has beaten you down and you believe this is all life is. Then you meet someone who can inspire and reignite your spark…they show you what is possible and the start of what can be achieved…your ‘inner activist’ starts to get the magic back and slowly you start looking at things and life in a different way. Here is where you start to plant your ideas, you’ll grow them and nurture them until you have a field full of dreams that are all coming true. And you will see that it is only you and the barriers of other people that have been fencing you in and stopping you grow to your full potential.”Angela Gilmour, Project Manager at LIFT D+G
Echoes in Eternity: The Story of What We Do Now (so far)
WWDN is supported by a regional partners group (DG Arts Festival, Wigtown Book Festival and Upland) and a strategic partners group (South of Scotland Enterprise, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Third Sector D&G and Skills Development Scotland) all of whom have supported the development of WWDN and will support the progress of ideas/projects as they emerge.
“Creative Placemaking uses creative practice to engage communities at grassroots level, building on the existing culture, activity and relationships in each place. It brings people, communities, groups and organisations, public and third sector agencies together to co-develop better strategies for our places. It is a collaborative framework that allows communities to take a lead and creates opportunities for personal growth in participants, the growth of new initiative/enterprises and supports a sustainable creative and cultural sector.”‘Embers: Creative Placemaking in the South of Scotland’