Front cover of 'A Creative Placemaking Approach' paper

'A Creative Placemaking Approach' paper published by The Stove Network and SOSE

Dumfries & Galloway based arts organisation, The Stove Network, with support from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), have published an important, new approach to Community Wealth Building and Community-Led Place Development.

The paper, entitled, ‘A Creative Placemaking Approach’ presents a methodology identifying how creativity and culture can work collaboratively with communities and support cross-sector working, addressing civic, economic, and development needs locally with communities.

Designed as a guide for organisations, agencies, local authorities and other stakeholders working at scale to deliver services, capital infrastructure, place-based development, and policies for deeper community benefit. This publication aims to support a vision of place and community where: creativity is used to develop a resilient and fair, future society, built on community wealth building principles, innovation, and long-term thinking.

The paper is the culmination of over 10 years of rural-based practice in the South of Scotland alongside wider research and consultation already carried out by The Stove Network, including Scotland’s first Creative Placemaking Forum, ‘kNOw One Place’ hosted in Dumfries in 2022.

Katharine Wheeler of The Stove Network and Director of WWDN (Creative Placemaking Network) said:

“For a long time, we have seen first-hand the gap between national policies in areas such as community empowerment, wellbeing economies, sustainable tourism, place-based planning, and what it takes to really make these work for local communities. New approaches are needed that enable local communities to come together to work through ideas, think differently, address challenges and come up with their own solutions whilst at the same time building the capacity to take this forward for themselves. Significantly this is a place-based approach that is enabled, and not led by, the multiple agencies, organisations and service providers that have a stake in a place.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of South of Scotland Enterprise said:

“We believe this Creative Placemaking approach is hugely important in supporting change for communities in the South of Scotland and beyond. With unique villages and towns this approach can help unlock opportunities and potential to build stronger and sustainable communities. SOSE fully supports the approach outlined in this paper, it aligns with our values of bold and inclusive, while empowering our communities using creatives to translate ideas and thoughts for a meaningful community wealth building approach.”

Placemaking traditionally refers to the concept of developing successful spaces for communities and encouraging connection and creativity for the common good.  Creative placemaking is a cultural and arts led approach to placemaking that uses creativity as a support structure for communities to take a leading role in the development of their places. Creative placemaking is particularly effective at developing community engagement, amplifying less heard voices, and supporting the development of community capacity and partnerships to effect real change.

Matt Baker, CEO of The Stove Network said:

“What we have seen through creative placemaking projects is a range of impacts for communities from major physical regeneration projects, such as Midsteeple Quarter in Dumfries, to life and career progression for individuals in communities - new skills, confidence, increased social networks etc. The key connecting factor has been the effectiveness of creative placemaking initiatives as open and inclusive ’spaces’ which give less-heard sections of community new agency within local decision-making processes and new empowerment for themselves to be part of making the change they wish to see.”

The published paper can be downloaded from here.