Case Study – NW Dumfries

Lochside is a housing estate in Northwest Dumfries with the highest Index of Multiple Deprivation in the region, in top 5% nationally. In response to the stigma associated with being labelled a ‘deprived community’ local ‘Lochsider’ Angela Gilmour started putting on events and activities to celebrate and showcase what her community had to offer.

LIFT D+G (Lochside is Families Together D+G) was founded in 2016 with the aim of creating positive memories for the residents of Lochside, bringing people together and starting to use and create spaces that could help foster a sense of real pride in their community. 

Through The Stove’s What We Do Now (WWDN) project, LIFT D+G hosted three creative practitioners and supported them to work with residents from their local Dunlop Road flats, regarded by the local housing association as the least desirable accommodation they own. Residents there typically have significant issues with disability and/or social anxiety.

Careful and patient community engagement gradually drew residents into a trusting relationship with the WWDN creative practitioners and there followed a series of residents’ meetings around a homemade tattie (potato) oven. These sessions resulted in visions from residents for their own community space at the foot of the flats. The WWDN team were able to negotiate the gifting and siting of a portacabin for residents which is now being creatively converted into a community space by LIFT D+G and Lochside residents with continued support from WWDN team and a programme of creative activity is being delivered from ‘The Cabin’. 

The portacabin acts as a prototype for LIFT D+G for a brand new creative placemaking hub that they would manage and run for their community. WWDN is currently working with LIFT D+G to incorporate this idea into the regeneration plans the housing association (Wheatley South) and DG Council have for Lochside. The ambition is that Lochside will have a high-quality cultural space in the heart of its community, a place that people from outside the community will also want to visit and take part in, giving a new message that Lochside is a place to come to rather than leave from. With help of the WWDN team LIFT have just secured Creative Scotland funding to run a year long programme of creative residencies and workshops out of the newly opened portacabin.

Outcomes: Personal growth and increases in wellbeing for local community members, community voices being heard in local decision making, increased capacity/experience/skills for community groups, increased access to quality arts and culture, and community enterprises being developed by community groups.

‘I have gained massive confidence in my own abilities as an artist, and that’s been really important. I’ve also regained 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.’

Rosie Giblin, Artist in Residence in NW Dumfries

‘With our pop-ups we were able to create a personal hub of warmth, food, art, and conversation in a way specific to that place. People were touched by these elements together, and they each had a part to play by just being there. The whole was greater than the sum of the parts, and this part remained in folks’ minds and hearts after the tent was cleared away.’

Andy Brooke, Artist in Residence in NW Dumfries
Skip to content