Director of Wide Open, which works all across Dumfries and Galloway with an office at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries
Tell us a little about what you do and why you love it
We develop environmental art projects, place making projects, and are co-producers and orchestrators of Environmental Art Festival Scotland. I enjoy connecting people to a landscape which I have loved since I was a small child and I am constantly fascinated in creativity and finding the perfect recipe for creating beauty through arts events, experiences and artworks. Beauty in terms of the essence of the arts its soul, ethos and the spirit in which it was made.
What makes Dumfries and Galloway special to you?
I was born here and my love of the landscape inspired me to go to art school and study environmental art. This was a rebellious thing to do coming from a farm in the 1980s!
Are you involved in other arts and cultural activities?
I am an artist myself and am interested in life as art.
What projects are you involved in right now?
Environmental Art Festival Scotland, commissions for a new medical Centre at Dunscore and Dalbeattie, a commission for Loch Ryan with the Solway Firth Partnership, supporting the Sanctuary festival (that’s me pictured on the right at last year’s event with my daughters) with artists, Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman and an exciting creative and wellbeing project linked to landscape which we are in the early stages of developing, doing a business plan. Also exploring a way forward for the Star of Caledonia celebrating its inspiration from James Clerk Maxwell and the links between the arts and science.
Hopes, ambitions or plans for 2015?
For EAFS and Sanctuary to be beautiful, thought provoking and consciousness raising experiences and that we get the funding to make them happen. For the Creativity and Wellbeing landscape project to produce an exemplar business plan and secure significant investment in order to support regeneration and the creative and environmental industries in the region.
Have you always been in this role – or have you/do you do anything else?
I was a lecturer in art at Newcastle College, did one of the first practice led PhDs in the UK in Environmental Art at Sunderland University. I delivered public art for DG Arts and Ginkgo projects including Striding Arches and Adamson Square.
If we asked a friend to tell us something surprising about you, what would they say?
I was painfully shy at school.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I love Dumfries and Galloway, the landscape, the people who work with and love the land, and of course the creative community. I want us all to connect and make this region an amazing experimental place to live and visit, a place that explores new ways of living and being sustainable in the future. I see myself as working between the land based, health and creative communities, working between worlds creatively weaving and negotiating ideas and making opportunities.
I also love working with my colleagues in Wide Open like Tom Littlewood, Jane McArthur and Chris Freemantle and my colleagues in EAFS, Matt Baker, Leah Black, Andrew Lyons, Mike Bonaventura and Robbie Coleman. They are amazing creative, intelligent and talented people who have the very best interests of the region, the arts at the heart and a desire to change the world for the better.