Pilot Project

The What We Do Now pilot was an ambitious approach to creative placemaking in partnership with creative practitioners and community groups and organisations across Dumfries and Galloway (Sanquhar, Langholm, Stranraer, NW Dumfries, and Castle Douglas and later Lockerbie) that ran from May 2021 to Oct 2023. 

Community Organisations (place hubs) and creative practitioners were supported to initiate programmes of engagement with local communities with the aim of engaging groups that were less represented in local decision-making (young people, disadvantaged and marginalised communities) and co-develop new projects and ideas. By engaging directly with less heard sections of communities, local people were supported to develop projects/initiatives/groups/enterprises and use the collective resource of the WWDN network to grow the capacity within their communities to deliver outcomes imagined by local people. 

A total of 77 freelance commissions were awarded through WWDN, including 14 long term commissions (12-18 months) amounting to £264,115. Through the course of project activity over 200 events were delivered with approximately 3500 active participants across the region.

An evaluation process embedded through the project gathered insights and feedback from the creative practitioners, community organisations and participants involved. Methods included one-to-one interviews with practitioners, place hubs and partners at key stages through the project, group development sessions, reflective blogs, participant sessions, and qualitative documentation. 

As part of looking for ways to understand the financial value of the social impact of the WWDN pilot, the project was run through a Social Value Engine tool used by Dumfries and Galloway Council. In this framework WWDN was shown to return just under £4 for every £1 invested.

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.


Contour lines in teal that represent the height of topography. Just used as decoration.

I feel that it is such a creative, interesting and important project to be a part of, and I am delighted to be working alongside Kirstin McEwan as the Documentarians throughout the project’s duration.

Patrick Rooney

Documentarian – WWDN Pilot Project

Having the opportunity to document Dumfries and Galloway’s expanding arts and cultural scene is incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for all the artists and organisations involved in this wonderful project.

Kirstin McEwan

Documentarian – WWDN Pilot Project

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