‘Creative Caerlaverock’ Heritage Project Launches in Dumfries

The Stove Network, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland (HES), launch ‘Creative Caerlaverock’, an ambitious project unearthing imaginative possibilities for one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks.

Led by The Stove, the project aims to apply a co-creative approach, connecting key stakeholders across the region to develop new and innovative approaches to heritage.

In collaboration with, Creative Engagement Lead, DJ McDowall of The Imaginarium, HES, local communities, artists, and creative practitioners from across the region, the project will explore ways that local heritage sites can become a valuable and well used resource for our local communities. Over the coming months the Creative Caerlaverock team will deliver a series of events and activities to support new opportunities for both those working within the sector and those who are underrepresented or not currently engaged with heritage, to interact with and feed into the future of the project.

A community engagement phase is currently underway using pop-up historic interactions, schools’ engagement, time-travelling forest school, soundscapes, and immersive Ancestral Suppers, to involve the public and encourage participation from a wider audience. In addition, the use of physical postcards and social media as prompts to encourage people to ask a question of Caerlaverock Castle, of its past, present, or future and suggest new ways of working with and around the castle.

The information gathered from the public will be collated and used to form a future phase of activities to be delivered next year, inspired by the castle, and inform an audio/visual spectacle hosted at Caerlaverock Castle in early spring.

Of the project DJ McDowall, Creative Engagement Lead says:

“’Heritage’ can be a misleading word, many people associate it exclusively with old stuff, but our heritage exists in the here and now – it’s dynamic. How each generation perceives our heritage is refracted through our ever-shifting perspectives, so it is continually changing, and new. With this project we aim to awaken the joy and richness of our local heritage within our communities, working collaboratively to deliver creative experiences and opportunities to connect with each other, our histories and in turn inform and shapes our collective futures.”

Craig Fletcher, Head of Learning and Inclusion at Historic Environment Scotland:

“We’re very excited to be collaborating with The Stove on Creative Caerlaverock. It’s a fantastic opportunity to use a local site to inspire creative learning, support inclusive access to heritage and provide participative opportunities for local groups who might not have otherwise had the opportunity.”

Martin O’Neil, Artistic Director of The Stove Network says.

“Creative Caerlaverock is an immensely exciting project for The Stove Network and the communities we’re connecting with. The project has the potential to align the arts with heritage through a local lens to experiment, to play, research and evolve radical new interpretations of the role historic sites and places have in our collective understanding of the world, as well as determining the value and meaning of these places for our future generations.”

Creative Caerlaverock is a creative learning and inclusion project working across arts, heritage, and sciences, to develop skills, increase confidence and support wellbeing through storytelling, history, creativity, and technology. Through the targeting of priority local audiences (e.g. young people, people with additional support needs, LGBTI, BAME etc), the project aims to engage these groups and support equality through providing inclusive access and participative opportunities.

Young people play a key role in the project and through the creative think tank, ‘Heritage Remixed’, a steering group of four young, local entrepreneurs growing careers in communications, journalism, heritage, and creative industries, the project will investigate opportunities for employability, skills development, and collaboration across the region.

Katharine Wheeler, Project Development & Partnership Lead at The Stove Network said

“Creative Caerlaverock brings people together to rethink and shape experiences that dig into the less represented stories of our historic places and use creative activities to learn about these together with local communities.”

More information on the Creative Caerlaverock project can be found here:

Creative Caerlaverock

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