from Belle Doyle
As we all take stock after the Stranraer Arts convention, the feedback I have received has remarkably open and candid. Who was the convention for? Who were its audience supposed to be? Is this the pattern of how things will be: people from the public sector congratulating themselves on supporting artists in what was supposed to be a revolutionary model for Scotland? Most of the people I talked to on the day and people I have been talking to around the region for nearly a year now are hungry for action and what everyone is insisting on is openness, transparency, and better communication. Above all, they are interested in the movement, in the flow of ideas, debate, discussion and arguments that a good artistic and creative ecosystem should support.
All four of us working as convenors in the Area Hubs have been as open and honest as we can be: some questions can’t be answered right now and for others, it is a question of waiting for the right moment. You have all been asking them: how accountable is the DG Unlimited Board? What is the mechanism for communication between Dumfries & Galloway Council and DG Unlimited? What is the relationship between the Regional Arts Hub and the Board and how is it made formal and accountable? Having spent the last few months trying to support this model, and trying to persuade others to bury their suspicions, I think we probably have until the end of the year to get this radical idea to work. And it is truly radical – this could be a fully functioning system of grass-roots, artist-led policies and strategies. Not public sector-led, not a top-down hierarchical system, but a supportive, open, intelligent network of people who realise the vision. This could be an incredible leap forward for this region, and this could be our one opportunity to get it right.
I was asked to write a Commonty piece about Nithsdale. Apologies - this is about the entire region, and it involves all of us.