How can we better understand and use creative action and making in community-led change and grassroots place development (creative placemaking)? How can this approach to working be shared and communicated for creative practitioners, community members, groups and organisations interested in creative, community-led regeneration and civic participation?
The Embers Toolbox is a publication for community groups and individuals who are active, or wanting to be active, in bringing about positive change in the places they live and introduces creative placemaking as a means by which to do this. It has been developed over 12 months and draws on her work in creative placemaking with The Stove Network, an arts and community organisation she has been part of shaping for the past 8 years.
Katharine’s interest lies in how we can support and work with artists and other creative practitioners, a chef, gardener, writer, in a collaborative approach to change making and place development that brings together professionals and non-professionals with community members to respond to the challenges we face in our society.
Katharine is a community and social art practitioner. Her creative practice is focused on community embedded creative work and the power it has for wider societal change; a practice Katharine identifies within creative placemaking. Whilst acknowledging the contentions of this term, the use of it is in part to reposition it as a grassroots approach to place development, the core principles of which are laid out in The Embers Report (Wheeler 2020), a piece of consultation she led for The Stove Network.
The Embers Report looked at embedded creative work within communities across Dumfries and Galloway and its influence in shaping the development strategies of those communities. The report aimed to identify this work within a deeper understanding of placemaking in Scotland.
"We define creative placemaking as: a community led approach that uses creative activity to support collective decision-making and positive change for people and the places they live.” (The Stove Network 2023)
Creative placemaking is being explored by The Stove Network through What We Do Now, a project Katharine coordinates, working within 5 communities across Dumfries and Galloway (May 2021-June 2023). Community groups and creative practitioners are being supported through collective working sessions, one-to-one support, capacity building, and project development to initiate programmes of engagement within their local communities and co-develop new projects and ideas.
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