Andy Brooke on ‘Cheerful thinking and lateral learning’

Andy Brooke on ‘Cheerful thinking and lateral learning’

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Dumfries emerging artist Andy Brooke shares his insights from recent activities.

Check out more insights and information on his website.

May has been a more reflective month for our team after a series of pop-ups and a field trip. There is a lot to process and think about for the next stages of what we are doing. In the middle of the craziness of helping nine or ten young people make a coil pot, there is a lot of lateral and sideways thinking going on above the level of conscious thought… As well as the enjoyment of seeing raw learning happen in front of your eyes.

Pics of clay making by Patrick Rooney

…we will return as soon as we can to build on our friendships and seek to involve more folk in our future plans for the coming Art Cabin (permanent space for workshops and conversations over food and drink). This inclusion of the people we are coming to in the plans for what we will do with them is crucial for laying foundations for an alternative model for building back new social directions post Covid.

Pop-up for older residents

We did a pop-up during the day for the more mature folks who live in Burnett Avenue. A select few responded to our invites and we had some in-depth conversations with them. These conversations reminded me that each resident of Lochside has a crucial perspective which we need to hear if we are to truly bring something of lasting worth.

Rosie hammers in a tent peg in Burnett Ave
Rosie hammers in a tent peg in Burnett Ave
Having a friendly chat with David the Police Community Support Officer for Lochside as we set up. He used to live in Lochside and has recently returned to contribute something positive to his old stomping ground. We explained our intentions to do something similar but from a very different perpective.
Maria ponders inside the tent while Reggie tries to escape. We got to know her and her partner Paul last year at the Residents Consultation and they are now looking forward to moving with their three girls into a brand new house in Heathhall, having stayed 8 years in Dunlop Road.
Davey shows a newspaper cutting from 2002 about flooding in Lochside – future food for thought? We had a long chat with Davey about the ongoing problems of flooding in the area and the hazard of sewage for playing kids. Davey was very passionate about it and has written many letters to the council over the past two decades. We listened intently and then Alice asked him if he had heard about reed beds naturally purifying contaminated water. That was new to Davey and perhaps opended a sideways approach to the whole issue, rather than an unwinnable fight with the council. We are still thinking about how we could use this issue for future creative work in the community…our role as artists must include thinking laterally but also practically, and always asking fresh questions.

Fresh discourses create new possiblities

“Michel Foucault suggested that decisions made on the part of a given group not only deal with particular concerns and problems, but also form discourses that regulate the flow or circulation of power in a society or social collective at any given time.”

Quoted from Art and Politics: a Small History of Art for Social Change since 1955, Claudia Mesch, 2014

We want to help create new discourses or ways of thinking for the folk we work with, with art at the centre of a new creative focus for motivating and learning new things. This is something that we hope will become more tangible and achievable as we move towards having a more permanent local space.

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