Documenting What We Do Now in Stranraer

Stranraer

Kirstin is a freelance photographer and filmmaker originally from Dumfries & Galloway, but now living in Edinburgh. She is documenting the What We Do Now project alongside filmmaker Patrick Rooney. Here she shares her reflections on working with established artist Hope London, and emerging artist Rory Laycock, in Langholm. 

What excites you most about documenting this project in Stranraer?

I was lucky enough to spend some time in Stranraer a few years ago documenting the 2019 Skiffie Worlds alongside Patrick Rooney and CT Productions – it was a huge event that was really beneficial to the town and highlighted the potential of Stranraer and the amazing events and projects that could happen there. So to be back photographing WWDN there has been really exciting for me. It’s been great to document the evolvement of Hope and Rory’s project and I’ve been able to see first-hand how that is directly benefiting the community of Stranraer. There seems to be a hive of activity in Stranraer now, and it’s great to see this town thriving with so many exciting projects. 

Kirstin McEwan
Kirstin McEwan

Has anything surprised you about documenting this project in Stranraer?

One of the main things that stands out to me is how much is happening in Stranraer at the moment – being based in Dumfries, it can often feel like Stranraer seems so far away, so I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time there. But visiting Hope and Rory has allowed me to see all the incredibly exciting things that are happening there, as well as meeting the people who are making these things happening. 

Why do you think a project like WWDN is important in Stranraer?

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been able to see the ways in which this project has been benefiting the Stranraer community. What Hope and Rory have set out to do is really interesting, particularly with the ideas behind the Stranraer colouring book – encouraging people to think of the potential of old and underused buildings to bring life back to their town. So often these buildings are viewed in a negative way, and seen as an eyesore in so many town centres. But Hope and Rory have turned the conversation around into something positive, and hopefully have shifted people’s mindset about these buildings and spaces that sit on our High Streets. 

What has impressed you most about working with the artists in Stranraer?

Hope and Rory are both incredible artists individually, and it’s been amazing to see how they’ve used their skills and knowledge to work together to bring their WWDN project to life. I’m always impressed by their ideas and work ethos in continuing to make this project exciting and interesting, and their commitment to building trust with the community through these ideas has been amazing to see.