Here at Commonty Central we love the rough and tumble of the arts debate and more than likely this weeks important announcements will spark a new round of same...bring it on! We thought that it might also be timely to cast an eye back over the events of the last few years to remind ourselves about how we have arrived at this point...could be useful in gathering our thoughts about what we are now looking at and how we move forward from here? It is brilliant that we all have the opportunity to come together in November to reflect and debate on all this.
We have all achieved an amazing amount together and many will have experienced the way that other parts of the country are looking to 'what an incredible amount is happening in the arts in D+G'. There is a lot at stake here and still an enormous amount to be gained by us raising ourselves up within the national an international scene - to do this we need to keep working together and keep focussed on the big picture of what can be achieved by positivity and cooperation (and, conversely, how much we stand to lose by doing the opposite!)
The bottom line is that three years ago (ish) the region's art sector set out on a journey together with the aim of seeing if it was practical/desirable to run our own affairs. This whole process has been reported on The Commonty throughout (in fact this blog came into being as part of the process). It would be impossible for 'the blog' to tell anyone what to think (it is just the collective voice of what is sent in, after all)....so this is simply a chronology of how we got to this point told through posts on the blog.
- 60 artists and makers from the region gather in Rhonehouse to discuss ways forward after DGC's Visual Arts Officer and Craft Officer posts were discontinued
- A group of artists launch The Commonty blog
- The future of DGArts (for 30 years the umbrella arts organisation for the region) looks uncertain and in September the organisation ceases trading
- A meeting is held at CatStrand at which people from the local arts sector discuss ways forward
- Further meetings are held
- A 'regional stakeholders' gathering was held in Dalbeattie Town Hall in October 2011- Creative Scotland and DGC attended - this was the meeting where the shape of an 'arts-led structure for D+G' first emerged in public through ideas shared by those attending
- DGC convened an open session to propose ways forward after Dalbeattie - this proposed that DGC would support the region's arts sector to create a democratic structure that would run its own affairs and advise DGc and Creative Scotland on where to target public resources for the arts.
- By December 2011 together, we had set up 5 'Area Arts Hubs' (Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, Stewartry, Wigtownshire and the Regional Projects Hub) - these were supported by Council Officers and Chaired by practitioners
- A group called The Chamber of the Arts began to meet - this had representation from all the Area Arts Hubs, DGC, Creative Scotland, Health, Tourism and leading practioners, organisations and events from the region
- The Chamber of Arts identified potential funding from LEADER for a major consultancy project to assist in laying the foundations for the arts-led structure. A temporary board called DGAP (Dumfries and Galloway Arts Partnership) was formed with the sole remit of applying for the funding and managing the consultancy
- Kathleen O'Neill, Peter Stark and Matthew Shelley are appointed to deliver the 'Fesh Start for the Arts' consultancy project for D+G
- There followed an intense period of consultations around the region and at national level...if you are struggling to remember - then click here and scroll to the bottom and work your way up....it was emotional
- As part of the Fresh Start project small arts projects are funded in the region as a way to support the overall Fresh Start initiative eg Satellite projects at Environmental Art Festival Scotland
- The Fresh Start for the Arts report is given a national launch in Dumfries in November 2013 and Creative Scotland declare what is happening in D+G as 'nothing short of a revolution'
- A Regional Projects Fund is announced
- Four Area Convenors are commissioned
- Our Regional Convenor is appointed
- The Chamber of the Arts is constituted and seeks ordinary member and board members
- The Regional Arts Hub begins to meet regularly - this group is made up of the four Area Arts Convenors (to represent practice on the ground in their areas) and practitioners, organisations and events in the region (in receipt of funding from DGC/Creative Scotland 'Place Partnership'...the Regional Projects Fund etc)
- 'Introducing DG Unlimited' - the unveiling of a trading name and brand identity for the arts-led structure in our region (that'll be the demise of 'FreshStartChamberHubCouncil' then)
- DG Unlimited - The Manifesto - a statement of intent and values for us to work to and deliver
- McMillan's Gallovidian Encylopedia - the launch of a new publication creatively underpinning the regions creative arts
- The announcement of a Regional Convention for the arts in D+G to gather people together to reflect and look forward