Phase One Reflections

Phase One Reflections

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As What We Do Now (WWDN) transitions towards an exciting new phase, some of the artists and place hubs involved reflect on their experience.


I learned that there was a curiosity for trying new things together, and sharing skills in Lockerbie. What I learned from participant feedback was that people found it useful to try out new processes in a social setting and without the barrier of equipment costs. They seemed to be enthusiastic to get messy and just go for it. There was an abundance of ideas!

Elizabeth StephensonLockerbie Artist

Being part of WWDN has been incredible. I’ve really enjoyed working with the young people of Sanquhar and seeing them flourish both creatively and in their confidence. It has also been great to be able to spend time focusing on my own practice and being afforded the time to develop some personal projects that mean a lot to me. 

Saskia CoulsonSanquhar Artist

I think the effects from projects like this will last and the young people we work with now will help these pockets of creativity blossom and in doing so, shift the perspectives of the past.

Natalya SmithLangholm Artist

They (Colin and Saskia) really looked after the young people, in that they’ve cared about them, they’ve made sure that they nurtured them. They’ve helped them to do applications for college. So, it’s been wider than just being two artists being parachuted into a community. They really got to know everybody.

Yvonne Barber – A’ the Arts – Sanquhar Place Hub


I have gained massive confidence in my own abilities as an artist, and that’s been really important. I’ve also regained generally in my confidence in the power of good long term art projects that are engaged with and deeply committed to the communities in which they’re happening.

Alice FrancisDumfries Artist

The young people have responded really well to the What We Do Now project. I think that it has been a long time coming that the young people of Langholm have had access to free art workshops.

John Smith – The Xcel Project – Langholm Place Hub

This creative cross collaboration is crucial, and brings new creative forms into being. This form has always existed in every community. But the What We Do Now project, in a graceful way, highlights it and then underscores it, and then with the heart of the community works with them.

Rory LaycockStranraer Artist

We were keen to be involved because it was something different for us, something we hadn’t really done much of before. We’ve done creative projects, but nothing that was really directed in the way that What We Do Now could be, especially working with artists with different skill sets. The highlight for Xcel has been working with those different artists and just understanding how they work and different ways of working. We’ve had some diverse skills within that group, whether that’s animation or willow weaving.

Duncan Elliott – The Xcel Project – Langholm Place Hub

What I have learned is that working with and within communities takes time and a certain type of approach and understanding. One of the greatest strengths of the WWDN project is the time frame that was offered by the project. Sustained ‘community engagement’ takes empathy and understanding and that is something I have learned in greater depth through the project.

Colin TennantSanquhar Artist

It’s tremendously gratifying to work on a project like this with the potential to make a real, positive difference to the community.

Hope LondonStranraer Artist

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