From August to December last year, Karen Campbell was writer in residence, attached to Dumfries and Galloway Council to chart the initial response to Covid, and how this was impacting on staff within the local authority.
Karen’s series of short stories, titled “Here is our Story” was printed last week and is available for you to read in all of our Council libraries and museums across the region, as well as being available to download from https://thestove.org/atlas-pandemica/here-is-our-story/. The 132 pages are split into 21 short stories that capture the thoughts, tasks and feelings of Council workers from right across the organisation as they handled that first lockdown last year and the fast-moving feast of work that came from it.
Author Karen Campbell said;
“I was really keen to capture the wee, quiet moments folk were having to deal with – the stuff the public may not see. Moments of resilience yes, but also of doubt and worry for the future – emotions we were all experiencing. As an ex-Council officer myself (albeit in Glasgow), I know what it’s like working in a local authority at the best of times – let alone during a pandemic. Seeing how the Council responded with such dynamism and energy to keep our communities safe was a real privilege. I’m so grateful to everyone who took part. Without them, there would be no anthology.”
As well as being sent to all of our libraries and museums, the Council has also arranged for copies of the book to be sent to local resilience groups across D&G, and will also be contacting reading groups that we have contact details for to arrange for copies to be sent to them, to allow them to enjoy the book too.
Speaking on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Leader Elaine Murray and Depute Leader Rob Davidson said;
“As a Council, we are privileged and proud to have been able to host Karen as our writer in residence. This was new territory for a local authority and came at a time when all of our wonderful workforce were facing change, be that working from home, being redeployed, working unusual working patterns and dealing with families and friends who were directly and indirectly affected by Covid-19. We are delighted with the final product and would urge you all to have a read through the stories either in hard copy at one of our facilities or by reading online.”
The residency was part of a regionwide Arts project called Atlas Pandemica, funded by the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund and led by The Stove Arts Organisation in Dumfries.
Matt Baker, from The Stove Network commented;
“Karen’s work seems to embody the whole Atlas Pandemica project – her reflections on how the regions public servants have responded to a crisis are insightful, perceptive and humane. Her involvement in the project and her writing shows the importance of the creative voice in our region.”
‘Here is our Story’ is one of 10 creatively led projects that make up Atlas Pandemica: Maps to a Kinder World. You can find out more about this project by visiting www.atlaspandemica.org