Reflections – Jim Buchanan

Reflections – Jim Buchanan

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As What We Do Now transitions towards an exciting new phase, those involved reflect on their experience.

Jim is a renowned labyrinth-maker and artist, working on exciting and ambitious installation and labyrinth projects. As the established artist in Langholm, Jim looks back at some of the highlights of this time.

Why did you want to be involved in WWDN?

To work locally with The Stove and local community. As an artist working nationally and internationally it was an important opportunity to test if I could embed my practise within D&G.

What has been your highlight of phase 1 of WWDN?

My highlight of the WWDN experience is that we have a youth club organisation open to continuing with creative practise, and creative place making.

What has been the biggest challenge during phase 1 of WWDN?

I would propose that the biggest challenge in Phase 1, is when we needed to reframe the initial brief and our direction of travel. Across the team and community there were slightly differing assumptions, and these can quite quickly become challenging disagreements if not managed properly. Holding the space for these conversations takes a lot of skill.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into creative arts?

Don’t. Its competitive, barely pays and you will be bottom of the professional pecking order.

My advice is to start from being skilled in another field, then transfer your skills gradually towards the creative arts. Well you did ask.

What inspires you generally?

The most inspiring aspect of my practise are the people I work with. Some are teachers wanting a new early years garden, or healthcare professionals requiring a meditation space, or a community group interested in learning a craft or making skill.

All share an interest in learning and exploring – and that’s what gets me outta bed each morning!

Why is a project such as What We Do Now important for Dumfries and Galloway?

I don’t feel able to locate its importance within only D&G. Since my WWDN project was primarily focused towards young people – I feel they have every right to be more than disappointed with us (older generations of) decision makers, and what we have done to their world. If WWDN is an improved way of working to effect positive change, then great. But we should question if its sticking plaster or structural change.

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