What Could Happen Here? A Creative Future For Stranraer

As part of their commission through ‘What We Do Now’ (WWDN), the regional project for Dumfries & Galloway, led by The Stove Network and forming part of the wider Culture Collective Programme, artists Hope London and Rory Laycock have worked with the Stranraer community, through the Stranraer Millennium Centre, for the last ten months on a participatory art project, which has aimed to reimagine a future for the historic harbour town.


This project is one of 26 taking place across Scotland involving artists, creative organisations, and is funded by Scottish Government’s emergency COVID-19 funds through Creative Scotland.


The culmination of Hope and Rory’s work will be the delivery of an audio-visual manifesto for change, that they hope will continue to inspire the inhabitants of Stranraer and foster empowerment and confidence in the future of the town.


Comprising of an original song with accompanying video and one-day celebration event including an exhibition of works, including some generated by the public though engagement with the Stranraer Colouring Book – What Could Happen Here, the manifesto is based on the thoughts, aspirations, challenges, and frustrations of the local community and aims to shine a light on the possibilities for the future of Stranraer.


The Exhibition and launch of the Song for Stranraer will take place at a public event in the Stranraer Millennium Centre on 2nd July from 12.30pm – 3.30pm and everyone for the local community is invited to attend.


Of the project, Hope London, says:

The development of a song for Stranraer has been an important aspect of my creative approach to this project, inspired by the amazing feedback gained from the community consultation and engagement work Rory and I have carried out over the last ten months. A song can be an anthem and can bring people together and this song, quite literally, gives voice to the subject of this project, and I hope the aspiration expressed within the song will inspire much needed change, particularly with regard to deteriorating buildings that have so much history and future potential”.


Rory Laycock adds:

Building trust within the community has been central to our approach, engaging with a wide variety of people to explore the new ways of looking at the town, our aim with this project is to inspire not only the towns people but also the local authority and Scottish government to look at public spaces in a new way and inform changes in policy that will encourage investment in towns throughout Scotland and in particular to look at the opportunities to develop disused sites for the community.”


The WWDN project aims to ignite and inspire new imaginative possibilities for towns in Dumfries & Galloway, supporting artists to explore bold new ideas with communities and partners to celebrate the voices often unheard in the region, weaving together and showcasing a united, creative vision of Dumfries & Galloway.

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