Recent Press Releases

We publish all of our press releases from the last 12 months here so you can keep up to date.
Please email if you'd like further details on any of our press releases.
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  • Replacement Footbridge Scheme Being Considered for River Annan

    Tuesday, 21 May 2024 10:47

    Dumfries and Galloway Council has commissioned a feasibility study into options for a replacement footbridge(s) on the River Annan.

    This study is required following the removal of the two previous structures, the Cuthbertson Memorial Footbridge, and the Diamond Jubilee Footbridge, which were lost during significant flooding events in October 2021.

    Work began in January with site visits and a study of the available information, including the survey undertaken by local interest group A Tale of Two Bridges (ATOTB) back in the summer of 2022.

    As part of the feasibility work, a community engagement session with committee members from the local ATOTB group was held on Wednesday 20 March.

    A presentation from Amey, who is commissioned to undertake this project, highlighted work undertaken over the first two months and answered questions from committee members and representatives from Dumfries and Galloway Council. The aim of the session was to undertake early engagement with the group and gain feedback to ensure all key aspects will be considered during further feasibility studies.

    The feasibility works will steer the ATOTB group towards possible funding streams while sponsorship/collection activities continue to raise funds for the new structure(s).

    Key objectives during the meeting included identifying the number of structures to be replaced, the preferred location of the structures, and the accessibility provision for the new structure(s). Information was provided on flood zone impact, buildability, structural type, non-motorised user access, and indicative cost. Design standards and their use alongside the ways in which varying design criteria may impact on overall budget for the scheme were also highlighted.

    Following the presentation, a breakout session provided the group an opportunity to review plans, ask further questions and have a general debate around the potential options. A summary session was held where the ATOTB group reached consensus on the number of structures required, the preferred locations, and the design parameters to be developed further over the coming weeks – although no final decisions have been made about any future structures.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities committee said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council along with the Scottish Government have already pledged a total of £75,000 to support the community group, Annan A Tale of Two Bridges, to bring about a new crossing over the River Annan.The next stage is to consult the wider community and determine the number and location of the bridges, and we would like to thank members of the public for their patience and understanding during this process.

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities committee added: “The new bridge(s) will create invaluable space for walking and will represent a significant improvement to the health and wellbeing of the people of Annan.Not only will a new connection create a safe and convenient active travel route between Annan and Annan Rugby Club and the cemetery, but it also opens up a scenic setting for residents and visitors in the area to relax and enjoy what the River Annan has to offer.”

    Work will continue to progress with the ATOTB group and Dumfries and Galloway Council to facilitate a public consultation event over the coming months in Annan, with details to be announced in due course.


  • Ground Investigation Works Planned for Whitesands

    Monday, 20 May 2024 14:20

    Ground Investigation works on the Whitesands in Dumfries will begin mid-June. These will examine the ground conditions at various points along the proposed alignment of the Whitesands Project (Flood Protection and Public Realm Improvements Scheme). This will provide additional data to inform the detailed design process, to build on the current outline design.

    The Whitesands Project was presented to elected members at Full Council on 4 October 2023, where members agreed to progress the published Flood Protection Scheme. The scheme will provide both flood protection and regeneration for the Whitesands area of Dumfries.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “This is an important stage for the Whitesands Flood Defence Scheme that was voted through by the Full Council. It is a necessary step that must be taken before the full scheme can be implemented.”

    Vice Chair, Councillor Jackie McCamon, said: “The appointment of Turner & Townsend will provide technical project management services. This will give our council access to an experienced team of flood project specialists who has recently worked on a number of major projects across Scotland and the wider United Kingdom.

    It is anticipated that the ground investigation works will take approximately 16 weeks and represents an important milestone in the progress of this project.

  • Scotland’s Largest Armed Forces Membership Charity to Make History with Weekend Conference in Dumfries

    Monday, 13 May 2024 16:28

    Legion Scotland, Scotland’s largest Armed Forces membership charity, is to make history as it hosts their Annual Conference at The Bridge in Dumfries.

    For the first time in 20 years, the conference will be held outside of Perth, where members have been gathering each year to discuss charity business.

    Between 16 and 18 of May, more than 150 members, trustees, military personnel, and staff will meet to discuss comradeship for Scotland’s veterans community, and will hear from speakers that include the Lord-Lieutenant of Dumfries, Dr Fiona Armstrong, Provost of Dumfries, Councillor Maureen Johnstone, the Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Lt Cdr (ret’d) Susie Hamilton, the national president of Legion Scotland, Rear Admiral Mark Beverstock, the national chair of Legion Scotland, Lt Cdr Martyn Hawthorn MBE. An officer from 6 SCOTS will provide an update on the Armed Forces in Scotland.

    Legion Scotland will also welcome guests from partner charities, such as Poppyscotland, the Royal British Legion, the Royal British Legion Scotland Women’s Section, and the Royal Canadian Legion.

    Legion Scotland have held Annual Conferences since their first was held in 1923. They have only ceased to occur during 1940 and 1944, owing to World War Two, 1950, due to concerns surrounding the Cold War, and during the Covid years of 2020 and 2021.

    Typically, they provide opportunities for members to input to the strategy of the charity, to discuss the needs of the Armed Forces community, as well as ensuring Legion Scotland members can hear from other Armed Forces charities on their work to support the community.

    Commenting on the upcoming conference, CEO of Legion Scotland, Dr Claire Armstrong OBE, said: “Annual conferences are a favourite permanent feature of our members’ calendars. They provide an opportunity for members to share their views on the direction of the charity, as well as providing multiple opportunities to enjoy the benefits of comradeship with other members.

    “I would like to thank Dumfries and Galloway council for their support in providing us a venue, and for their engagement with us throughout the year. I must also thank our guest speakers for the insight that they will bring, and wish all members an enjoyable, prosperous annual conference.”

    Dumfries and Galloway Council Armed Forces Champion Councillor Archie Dryburgh MBE said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council is extremely privileged to welcome the Royal British Legion Scotland Annual Conference to Dumfries between 16 and 18 May.

    “For Dumfries to be the first town outside of Perth to host the Legion Scotland Annual Conference is an honour in itself and demonstrates the positive profile and excellent facilities of this part of the country.

    “Our council has been extremely supportive of this happening and, as the Armed Forces Champion, I am certain that it will be a successful event and we welcome this opportunity to show our pride, gratitude and respect to all legionnaires while they are in Dumfries and Galloway over the period of the conference.”


  • May Activities at Gracefield Arts Centre

    Friday, 10 May 2024 15:48

    Landmark exhibition Crafted Selves tours to Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries in May, exploring dual identity in contemporary art and craft. Curated by Cat Dunn and programmed by Fife Contemporary, Crafted Selves: The Unfinished Conversation showcases the work of thirteen Scotland based artists exploring dual identities in their work.

    Featuring emerging and established artists and makers the exhibition features sculpture, painting, ceramics, textiles, installation, moving image films and creative writing and all in some way carry a dual identity. Many have a sense of their own self born from having a cultural heritage which is both Scottish and one which is rooted in another cultural home and explores other dualisms and expressions of identity such as their sexuality, disability, or trans and non-binary selves through their work.

    The artists include Barbadian-Scottish visual artist Alberta Whittle who recently represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale, Zimbabwean-Scottish artist, Sekai Machache who will represent Zimbabwe at the 2024 Venice Biennale, Chinese-Scottish ceramicist Viv Lee, Chinese-Scottish installation artist Rae-Yen Song and Iranian-Scottish visual artist Sara Pakdel-Cherry, with Ashanti Harris, Adil Iqbal, Eden Grant Dodd, Li Huang, Emelia Beale, Joy Baek, Tilda Williams-Kelly and Harvey Dimond.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council's Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake commented: “It’s fantastic to see the scope of art being created in Scotland today and engaging with current issue in such a creative and intriguing way – congratulations to Fife Contemporary and curator Cat Dunn for touring the work, we are delighted to host it here in Dumfries and Galloway.”

    You can join Cat Dunn on the opening Saturday, 18 May, at 1pm for a curator’s tour and question and answer session.

    Over in Gracefield Gallery 1, opening the same weekend isCENTRAL BOOKING: The Visual Read – Artists from New York and Dumfries and Galloway artists Hugh Bryden and Linda Mallett.

    CENTRAL BOOKING focuses on the breadth and depth of the book works of the more than 30 plus of the distinguished artists who live, work and are from New York. Curator Maddy Rosenberg said: “The historical structure of Gracefield provides the ideal venue to showcase the more traditional idea of the artist’s book as a handheld object, along with the expansion of it through sculptural installations – works that utilize the walls, floors, ceilings, and even staircases. Materials to explore include paper, but go well beyond an image on a flat surface; many of these artists approach the book as the sculptural object it is, therefore incorporating metal, stone and digital elements into their work.”

    In appreciation of the Scottish contribution of sandstone to the essence of architectural New York, some of the artists draw their inspiration from the subject, others deal with ecology and the waters that surround us, still others those of social and political issues, as do some draw you in with texture, colour and subtle cuts. Dumfries-based Hugh Bryden has been working with Central Bookings curator Maddy Rosenberg on their Sandstone Steps project and this led to the idea to showcase the wider range of artist work here in Scotland.

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: “It’s great to be part able to showcase international artists, don’t miss the chance to see this inspiring New York work in our local gallery.”

    Gallery Event: Saturday 18 May, 2 to 4pm. Join Maddy Rosenberg and Hugh Bryden in the gallery to chat about their work. Maddy will be based in Dumfries and Galloway over the summer and will also be working in the Gracefield Print Studio, available to chat and share her knowledge by appointment. Please contact the gallery for details of her schedule.

    Open again for teas, coffees, light lunches, and home bakingis The Studio Café . This is a new professional enterprise business from the Usual Place cafe.

    Admission to Gracefield exhibitions is always free and open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.


  • YouthBeatz 2024 - Acts Announced

    Thursday, 09 May 2024 10:37

    Youth Beatz Festival is once again back for 2024, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Youth Beatz takes place over a 9-day period, with the Youth Beatz Fringe taking place across every Ward area of Dumfries and Galloway, and the two main event days on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June at Park Farm, Dumfries.

    The main event days will be attended by 20,000 people per day, and Youth Beatz 2024 will continue to deliver a wide range of fun activities, musical performances from local and emerging young talent from across Dumfries and Galloway, as well as welcoming the following headline acts:

    Headliners on Saturday 29 June will be:

    Jonas Blue – multi platinum award winning DJ Jonas Blue has had a string of hits alongside some of the most recognisable voices in Music, including Raye, Becky Hill and Rita Ora.

    Jonas Blue said – “I cannot wait to get on stage at Youth Beatz, I have heard how much energy the crowd at Youth Beatz has and I always love playing in Scotland! See you all in June!”

    Alice Deejay – Alice Deejay have sold over 5 million singles worldwide with hit singles ‘Better off Alone’ and ‘Back in my Life’ being the soundtrack of Summer for millions of fans all over the world.

    Talia Mar – with over 4 million online followers, Talia Mar is taking the world by storm. Her collaboration with Sigala ‘Stay the Night’ reached the top 10 in the UK, and performances at some of the biggest arenas in the country mean Talia will continue to rise all the way to the top.

    Sunday 30 June will be headlined by:

    Sigala – DJ and producer Sigala has produced eight UK top ten hits, including the number one single “Easy Love,” On his debut album, Brighter Days, Sigala enlisted 24 star guests, including Kylie Minogue, Nile Rodgers, Craig David and many more. Sigala’s latest single, released in May 2022, is a collaboration with Talia Mar called “Stay The Night.”

    Sigala said – “I have always wanted to come back to play in Dumfries and can’t wait to see everyone, the fans in Scotland are unbelievable, and you always make sure you bring the party!”

    Cascada – Dancefloor fillers and good vibes whenever Cascada are around. With a string of dancefloor anthems Cascada will definitely bring the party! With more than 30 million album sales worldwide!

    Saint Phnx – Despite being only a duo, Saint Phnx have shown they have the ability to create a vast stadium-rock sound thanks to their soaring hooks and anthemic style of writing, topped by Stevie Jukes’ impressive vocals. With more than 150 million worldwide streams, Saint Phnx are fast becoming the Pride of the Scottish Music scene.

    As well as featuring well-known UK headliners, Youth Beatz Festival is proud to have local performers taking their place on the Main Stage programme for this year’s event, with a wide range of acts from across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said:

    “Our Council is once again delighted to continue with our support for this fantastic community event. Youth Beatz provides young people from across our region with a fantastic Festival experience in their local area, as well as valuable experiences through volunteering opportunities such as performing in the immersive youth led drama production The Toon, and participation in the annual Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award residential. I am once again looking forward to welcoming young people from across Dumfries and Galloway and the rest of Scotland through the gates at Park Farm on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June.”

    The Toon will continue to expand for 2024, with the hard-hitting interactive drama production gearing up for another year as one of the Festival’s biggest features. The Toon is designed and delivered by local young people from across Dumfries and Galloway and provides young people attending Youth Beatz with informative and accurate information and advice when dealing with issues that commonly affect their lives. The issues displayed in the production are chosen by the young people, and include poverty, sectarianism, drugs and alcohol, and sexual health to name a few.

    The Youth Work Area will also be back for this year’s Festival and will contain some old favourites such as creative arts and crafts activities, a youth information zone, chill out areas and the opportunity to win meet and greet tickets to see your favourite headliners through exciting competitions.

    As well as the Main Stage, Youth Beatz 2024 will have an additional two stages. The Second Stage will be dedicated to up-and-coming singers and musicians from across our region. The Second Stage is once again being programmed in partnership with Dumfries Music Collective. DMC is a platform for the music industry in Dumfries and Galloway, and they run a programme of music education and events throughout the year. DMC aims to educate a wide range of audiences, and to encourage them to understand, celebrate, participate in and be supportive of the local contemporary music community. The work of DMC ties in with the ethos of Youth Beatz Festival, and we are delighted to have them on board for 2024 after the huge success of their Second Stage in 2023.

    The Dance Stage will provide entertainment from dance groups coming from the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway who will be bringing their performances to Youth Beatz 2024. The line up includes dance groups and cheerleading squads from Stranraer, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Lockerbie.

    Festival organisers are working with partners to ensure that Youth Beatz 2024 is as inclusive and accessible as possible, with a working group recently established in order to ensure that the event is fully accessible and equipped to cater to the needs of everyone who wishes to attend. If you are interested in the work of this group, or feel that you may have a contribution, please use the contact details below to get in touch.

    The main Youth Beatz days will end a 7-day Fringe Festival which will see a number of fun community-based events taking place across every Ward area, providing towns and villages the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway with events for young people. The events will be developed and delivered in partnership with various community groups and organisations, and they will provide a series of fun activities and experiences.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon said:

    “Youth Beatz is more than just a music festival, as it continues to inspire young people to take a more active role in their community through various volunteering initiatives, allowing young people to feel a sense of ownership over the festival. The wide range of exciting activities that are available on the main event days and during the Fringe Festival support our young people to broaden their horizons, try new things and get a wide range of information on issues that affect their lives and the Services that are available to them across Dumfries and Galloway.”

    The award-winning event is managed through a partnership led by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service, in conjunction with the Oasis Events Team. Formed in 2010, the Oasis Events Team have undergone a great deal of training and events experience and now work in close partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council to co-design large scale events, such as Youth Beatz.

    Youth Beatz Festival is grateful to be supported by a number of funders for this year’s event, including Young Start, Awards for All, EventScotland (part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate), Alcohol and Drug Partnership and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

    Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said:

    “EventScotland is proud to be supporting Youth Beatz Festival through our National Events Programme. The Festival is not just a music event, it’s a vibrant celebration and showcase of youth culture, creativity and community spirit. Events play an important role in our community and Youth Beatz provides the perfect stage for celebrating the diversity, talent and endless potential of young people from across Dumfries and Galloway and the rest of Scotland.”

    Co-design is still an important aspect of Youth Beatz in terms of the Festival’s design. Events Groups in Moffat and Newton Stewart help to ensure that young people from both sides of our region can help to shape this year’s Festival by helping to design certain elements and ensure that the Festival is meeting the needs and wants of young people from across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Shaynie McMurray, young volunteer from the Newton Stewart Events Group, who has been involved in the co-design of the event said:

    “We are really happy that Youth Beatz is back for 2024 and we are looking forward to once again working with staff from the event and partners to ensure that the voices of young people from across the region are heard, and that this event reflects the needs and wants of young people from across Dumfries and Galloway.”

    Youth Beatz 2024 is a free festival, and tickets are available now from the official Youth Beatz website –

  • Regional Arts Fund Supports Local Organisations to Deliver Arts Activities and Events Across Dumfries and Galloway

    Wednesday, 24 April 2024 14:31

    Dumfries and Galloway Council in partnership with DG Unlimited has made grant awards totalling £50,000 from the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Arts Fund 2024/25.

    Thirteen local groups across the region are benefiting from the fund this year, which among other projects is seeing Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival work with venues, promoters and performing artists across the region to present high quality theatre, music, dance, film, comedy and spoken word performances throughout the year, and Dumfries Music Conference CIC’s DMC ON TOUR! is working with young people across the region to create a live music tour aimed at encouraging the next generation of young creatives to build their own D.I.Y. music scene.

    The Stove Network’s HearIHear project will be a collaboration with Fair Scotland (Trust advocating for the rights of Scotland’s Travelling Showpeople) highlighting the past contributions and future potential of the Showpeople community for Dumfries, while in Whithorn Building Futures Galloway Ltd will be bringing leading boat builder Gail McGarva and her Story Boat on wheels to local primary schools with storytelling, object handling and performance. Kirkcudbright Fringe Festival will host acclaimed young photographer and disability advocate Dylan Lombard as artist-in-residence. During the Festival Dylan will photograph scenes in Kirkcudbright and present a photographic exhibition in Kirkcudbright Galleries.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said: "It’s exciting to see such a range of projects being supported across the region, and good to see so many opportunities for young people to get involved in creative activity."

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities Committee said:
    "It’s great to see how these projects are giving our region’s artists and creative freelancers opportunities to connect with audiences across our region and beyond."

    Frank Hayes, Chair of DG Unlimited, the independent charity that champions the region’s arts, said:"DG Unlimited is proud to work with Dumfries and Galloway Council in support of the Regional Arts Fund which directly benefits the creative and culture sector. This year’s awards are for projects which cover the length and breadth of the region, showcasing all types of artistic endeavour including dance, theatre, performance, music, literature, visual art and crafts. It is particularly heartening to see so many projects embracing diversity, equality, and sustainability in their activities. DG Unlimited wishes all the recipients every success with their projects. We will be featuring them in forthcoming issues of our digital magazine, FOCUS and look forward to the fruits of their labours."

    Awards are as follows:

    Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival: £7,500 for Performing Arts Live 2024–2025
    Through our Performing Arts Live programmes we work with our regional network of venues, promoters, creative practitioners, as well as nationally based artists, to present high quality theatre, music, dance, film, comedy and spoken word performances and events which inspire and connect with audiences throughout Dumfries andGalloway, stimulate meaningful community participation and engagement, and celebrate the transformative power of performing arts.

    Wigtown Festival Company: £7,250 for Change the Stories
    We need new ways to talk about the climate emergency. Wigtown Book Festival’s Change The Stories brings four fresh commissions about the way our environment is changing, inspired by four Dumfries and Galloway locations – Wigtown’s Community Shop, Logan Botanic Gardens, Tongland Power Station and the Whitesands. Global warming has never felt so local.

    Cairn Chorus: £6,750 for Galloway Sang Streams – songs to link life, land and legacy
    Tapping into the rich cultural heritage and vibrant artistic performers of this area, local choir Cairn Chorus and guest collaborators have created an exciting multi-media project for 2024, featuring music, words, soundscapes and images inspired by our environment and including new commissions from Emily Smith, Jamie McClennan and Hugh McMillan.

    Dumfries Music Conference CIC: £6,000 for DMC on Tour!
    DMC ON TOUR! is a live music tour across four regional venues and partners. DMC ON TOUR! will engage with local 14–25 year olds, to find the next generation of young creatives, and encourage them to participate in a gig, to inspire and empower them to localise their own D.I.Y. music scene.

    The Stove Network: £5,500 for Hear|Here
    'Hear|Here,' is project of national significance produced by the Stove Network in collaboration with Fair Scotland (Trust advocating for the rights of Scotland’s Travelling Showpeople). A programme of original public works, events and exhibition highlighting the past contributions and future potential of the Showpeople community for Dumfries.

    Oceanallover: £3,000 for Kroovan Wings
    Kroovan Wings is a homage to trees. Gaelic craobh (pronounced kroov) means 'tree'. It is a celebration of two magnificent trees in particular that stand at the gateway to the Galloway Forest Park and at a meeting point on the Southern Upland Way below Culmark Hill.

    Bunbury Banter CIC: £3,000 for Whisper In The Woods
    A spine-tingling outdoor production that blurs the boundaries between reality and the supernatural, Whisper in the Woods weaves together immersive storytelling, evocative design, and cutting-edge audio technology to draw audiences into a world where the everyday and the mysterious converge.

    Building Futures Galloway Ltd: £2,000 for The Story Boat
    Leading boatbuilder, Gail McGarva, will bring her unique Story Boat on wheels to provide residencies for local Primary schools with storytelling, object handling and performance : children will learn about maritime heritage and the craft of traditional boats. The residency culminates in a Story Boat parade of parents and children.

    Absolute Classics SCIO: £2,000 for Absolute My Music
    The Absolute My Music project is powered by Absolute Classics and is a project that will support young people of all skill levels to locally access music making activities, which also bring demonstrated social, personal and academic benefits.

    Shambellie House Trust: £2,000 for Artists of Shambellie House – Affordable Art Workshops
    This project will promote a series of visual art workshops by our collaborative group ‘Artists of Shambellie House’, making art accessible for all.

    Cample Line: £2,000 for creative participatory workshops led by three visiting artists relating to our exhibitions programme 2024
    A series of creative workshops and activities led by three visiting artists that take inspiration from our exhibitions programme in 2024, providing opportunities to participate in and explore processes and materials used by artists Claire Barclay, Asli Çavusoglu, and Chiara Camoni, including macramé, textile printing, natural dye-making and using local clay and botanical materials. The workshops and activities will also engage with our green space and immediate surroundings, reflecting upon seasonality, locality and biodiversity.

    Kirkcudbright Fringe Festival: £1,537 for Kirkcudbright Fringe Festival’s Pauline Saul Artistic Residency: Dylan Lombard, Photographer and Disability Rights Advocate
    Dylan Lombard will photograph scenes in Kirkcudbright for a photographic exhibition that will run in Kirkcudbright Art Galleries during, and after, Kirkcudbright Fringe Festival in September 2024. Dylan – acclaimed young photographer and disability advocate from Glasgow – is autistic, deaf and one of 13 people worldwide with MDP Syndrome.

    The Bakehouse Community Arts £1,463 for BIG LIT: The Stewartry Book Festival
    Big Lit: The Stewartry Book Festival will include schools events in June and public access events over three days in July '24 in venues in Gatehouse of Fleet. It will comprise 12 events for the general public plus four events for primary schools and will include opportunities for creative work through workshops and opportunities for local writers to read from their recent publications.

  • 2024 Exam Diet Set To Start

    Monday, 22 April 2024 10:52

    Learners across our secondary schools will begin their exams next week as the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exam diet begins today (Monday 22 April.)

    Young people from S3 to S6 will sit examinations in a variety of subjects across the next few weeks, in the classroom, the computer suite, the exam hall, the PE block, the art class and the science laboratories to name a few. The national exam timetable sets out what subjects and levels will betested on what day, giving learners a clear picture of when their first, and indeed when their last exam, will be and is available at

    Speaking ahead of the start of the exam diet, Councillor Richard Brodie, who is Chair of the Council’s Education and Learning Committee said:

    “I would like to wish all learners in all of our schools across the region the very best with your exams and I am confident that all your hard work will be rewarded. Over the next few weeks, it will be a very stressful and important time for young people, and I’m sure that each and every pupil will do their best. It’s often an anxious wait to get the exams kicked off, but as of now, the exam diet is underway. No matter what the subject, no matter what the level, give it your all and do not put too much pressure on yourself on the outcome.”

    Vice Chair of Education and Learning Committee, Councillor Maureen Johnstone commented on the support available for learners:

    “We know what results day will be on the 6th of August this year, and for many if not all, this will seem like a lifetime to wait for the results of this year’s exams. I would urge all learners to use the support networks that are available if they’re struggling during or after their exams. There’s some excellent resources available on the SQA website as well as help and advice from our own teaching staff within our schools. Good luck to everyone sitting exams this year.”

  • Creative Legacies

    Friday, 19 April 2024 14:53

    An exhibition celebrating the art of William Hanna Clarke (1882–1924) and his great niece Alison Kinnaird MBE, internationally renowned glass artist.

    William Hanna Clarke was a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, a stalwart of the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Colony and a prolific and successful artist despite his early death. His great niece Alison Kinnaird M.B.E has carried on the gift of artistic talent and has become an internationally celebrated glass engraver as well as a talented musician. Creative Legacies, on show now in Gallery Two at Kirkcudbright Galleries, celebrates this talented family with a unique exhibition of their combined works.

    Clarke was born in Glasgow to Alexander Clarke, a Northern Ireland émigré, and Margaret Cooper, the daughter of a Kirkintilloch Chemist. As with many artists, William was encouraged to qualify for a profession beyond his already burgeoning passion for art, and with his mothers’ encouragement he trained as a dentist, qualifying in 1904.

    However, he did not let this ‘sensible’ career stop him from his first love and in 1909 he was accepted into the Glasgow School of Art, which was then under the influential directorship of Fra Newbery. Juggling the two careers for a few years, Clarke worked in London until two successful submissions to the Royal Glasgow Institute of Arts in 1911 and 1912 persuaded him that he could follow his heart. He and his wife, Betty, moved back to Scotland and by 1915 they had joined the thriving Artists’ Community in Kirkcudbright.

    William Hanna Clarke showed that the: “idyllic sense of colour, sunlight and the pastoral life surrounding farm steadings and the intimate woodlands captivate him most.”

    Clarke was able to earn a good living as an artist and in 1924 began building a new house for his family in Kirkcudbright, but he was tragically killed in an accident before he could truly enjoy his success. Despite only 12 years as a professional artist Clarke has left an impressive body of work. His deftness with colour, subtle use of figures and clear love of landscape are a testament to his skill, which offers us a glimpse of what could have been. The publication of William Hanna Clarke: A Kirkcudbright Artist by Christine Wimbush in 2019 has helped to create a lasting record of one of the notable Kirkcudbright artists of the early 20th century.

    Alison Kinnaird has an international reputation as a visual artist and musician. She works primarily from her home and studio, a converted church near Edinburgh, Scotland.

    One of the world’s leading glass artists and engravers, with work in public, royal and private collections throughout Europe, America and the Far East, Alison’s glass ranges from small intimate pieces to largescale architectural installations which incorporate light and colour. A recipient of many awards and winner of many competitions, her creative contribution was recognised in 1997, when she was presented with an M.B.E for services to art and music.

    Alison is also one of the foremost exponents of Scottish harp music, playing both gut and wire-strung Scottish harps. She was the first player to make a recording of Scottish harp music and co-wrote (with Keith Sanger) ‘The Tree of Strings’, a history of the harp in Scotland, as well as producing many other recordings and printed collections of music. She is much in demand at home and abroad as a performer, lecturer, and teacher in both her fields.

    Speaking on ‘Creative Legacies’, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, commented: “This exhibition provides a harmony between the family ties of William Hanna Clarke and Alison Kinnaird M.B.E, but also a contrast in the mediums both artists have worked from. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring such unique and remarkable sculptures by one of the world’s leading glass engravers to Dumfries andGalloway.”

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee,Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “Showcasing the importance of William Hanna Clarke in the centennial year since his passing, alongside glasswork by Alison Kinnaird M.B.E, Creative Legacies is an exhibition that is both thought provoking and inspiring. The range of exhibitions that Kirkcudbright Galleries can display continues to promote tourism to the region.”

    The exhibition is on show until Sunday 16 June. Free entry to this exhibition, but donations are welcome. Kirkcudbright Galleries are now in Summer Hours that are Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm, and Sundays: 11:30 – 5pm. The last entry to major exhibitions at 4:45pm.
  • Southern Upland Way celebrates 40 years with an exhibition on the history of the path.

    Tuesday, 16 April 2024 10:42

    The Southern Upland Way, Scotland’s Coast to Coast path, was officially opened on 27 April 1984. Since then, thousands of people have walked, or more recently cycled, the 214 miles from Portpatrick on the west coast of the Rhinns of Galloway to Cockburnspath on the east coast of the Scottish Borders.

    To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Southern Upland Way Ranger Service has created an exhibition about the history of the path.

    Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Councils Economy and Resources committee said:

    “The Southern Upland Way was Southern Scotland’s first long distance footpath and the first official coast to coast path in Britain. It takes people through some of the best of the region’s coastline, hills, forests and valleys and is a great way to experience the wild scenery of Dumfries and Galloway. This new exhibition is a perfect way to celebrate 40 years of this spectacular path.”

    Councillor David Inglis, Vice Chair of Economy and Resources committee committee added:

    “Over the last 40 years, the Southern Upland Way has brought millions of pounds of tourism to the area, helping local businesses. I am excited that Dumfries and Galloway Council is investing in the future of the route and new plans to improve and promote the path should allow thousands more people to enjoy this unique and special trail.”

    The exhibition will be launched at a special event on 27 April 2024 at the Hive at Glentrool. The event will run from 2pm to 4pm with a talk about the history and future of the Southern Upland Way at 3pm.

    Following the launch event, the exhibition will be on display at the Glentrool Hive for two weeks, before moving to the Newton Stewart Walking Festival on 10 May.

    It will then move across the region throughout the rest of the year. Please check Southern Upland Way - Dumfries & Galloway Council ( for details of locations and dates.

  • Amazing Summer Fund Launches

    Wednesday, 10 April 2024 09:03

    Dumfries and Galloway Council is delighted to announce that £80,000 of funding will be available for local third sector organisations in Dumfries and Galloway to give children and young people a summer to remember. Following on from the successes of the Amazing Summer fund over the last three years, we are once again seeking local third sector organisations who will deliver free activities for vulnerable children and young people aged 5–16 for the duration of the Summer Holidays, allowing them opportunities to socialise and meet with and make new friends.

    This funding is to provide children and young people, aged 5–16 activities over the summer holiday period. The programmes should enhance equity by widening opportunities for children from low-income families to play, socialise, get active and access a range of activities that broaden their experiences, supplement their learning and deliver positive outcomes. Activities and programmes will integrate food provision wherever possible and be focussed on children and young people within our priority groups. We are looking to see a range of different activities and experiences for young people of all ages from communities across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “By providing young people across our region with the opportunity to take part in a programme of exciting summer opportunities, it will encourage them to broaden their horizons, and build their confidence whilst having fun with their friends. The activities delivered by third sector organisations will be co-produced with local children and young people to ensure that they get the activities that they enjoy, and they will also be key part of the decision-making panel through members of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council.”

    Third sector organisations from across Dumfries and Galloway can apply for this funding for amounts of £500 up to £5000.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, said of the fund: “This funding opportunity for our third sector partners continues our commitment as a local authority to ensuring that we create lifelong learning opportunities that allow children and young people to develop their skills and contribute to their communities. This funding is available for all third sector groups, and we want to support as many groups as possible to help make this an amazing summer for children and young people across Dumfries and Galloway.”
    Applications are open now and the closing date for submission of organisations completed applications is 12 noon on Wednesday 8 May.

    Ailsa McDairmant, Chairperson of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council said: “The Youth Council is really pleased to be working alongside the council to deliver an amazing summer programme of activities for young people across our region. It is an exciting opportunity for members of the Youth Council to collaborate with our partners for the benefit of children and young people. It is important to us to ensure that the funding goes towards opportunities that will make the most difference to young people across the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway.”

    Applications forms and guidance notes can be downloaded from 9am on Wednesday 10 April by visiting

    If you have any questions on the application process or would like any advice and guidance, please call 01387 260243 or e-mail

  • Youth Beatz Seeks Volunteers

    Tuesday, 09 April 2024 12:46

    Youth Beatz Festival is back for 2024 and sign-ups have now opened for young people and adults to register their interest in volunteering at this year’s event.

    This opportunity is specifically for people who want to support the delivery of the event over the Youth Beatz festival, including our region-wide Fringe programme that will see free events delivered across every Ward area throughout Dumfries and Galloway – and the main event days.

    Volunteering roles during the main event days range from photographers to stage support, welfare to customer service, content creators to donation points collectors and more. There are also opportunities for those who would prefer to volunteer behind the scenes in the week leading up to and following the main event with a call out including people who want to give their time to physically transform the site from field to festival.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, said: “In 2023 we were incredibly grateful to have over 9,300 hours of volunteering from both young people and adults. If you are thinking of signing up for Youth Beatz 2024, I would encourage you to do so. There are plenty of opportunities to suit all interests, whether this is in customer service or stage management. If you have some spare time or would like to get some volunteer experience, we’d be delighted to hear from you.”

    This is the perfect opportunity for people interested in:
    Gaining experience working in live events industry.
    Building their skills and working as part of a motivated team to deliver an award-winning experience for young people.
    Sharing their expertise and experience.
    Getting more involved in their community.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, said: “Our council is very grateful to those who choose to volunteer their time to this fantastic event that brings so much to our region. We are also delighted that we will once again be welcoming back young volunteers from across Scotland who will be participating in their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Residential through the festival.”

    Sign-up is now open until 31May:

    People can also call 01387 260243 for further information.


  • U3A Art Appreciation Group Collection Choice

    Monday, 08 April 2024 12:34

    A new exhibition opens in Gallery 1 on Saturday 13 April at Gracefield Arts Centre, featuring an eclectic mix featuring works from the Gracefield permanent art collection. The U3A Art Appreciation group spent time in the stores and online selecting and researching their top four artworks. The show is displayed with personal response to each work from the 12 group members.

    The project began back in 2023 when Dawn Henderby, Art Officer, based at Gracefield invited members of the Art Appreciation Group, to consider curating our own art exhibition, with selected paintings from this marvellous collection. Margaret Smith, who co-ordinates the group said: “As no one in the group had any experience in such a task, it certainly was a challenge. It has been such a privilege, as we have been allowed, with Dawns supervision, to see all the items held in storage. To accompany the selected artists/paintings, we have had to prepare information about the artist and paintings, along with reasons for our choice.”

    Councillor Ian Blake added: “It’s great to see work from our own collection and the group has selected some fantastic old favourites alongside some rarely seen items.”

    Join the group on Saturday 13 April at 2pm to chat with members about their choices. It is a free event with teas and coffee served. Please pre-book if you can by calling01387 262084or email

    Over in Gracefield Gallery 2 is Eduardo Paolozzi: General Dynamic F.U.N.

    This touring exhibition from the Hayward, with added Gracefield Art Collection pieces, showcases the talents of the Edinburgh-born artist in the centenary year of his birth. Galleries across the country will be celebrating his life and work as one of the UK’s leading pop artists, and Gracefield is delighted to show his work here in Dumfries, running until 11 May.

    Created between 1965 and 1970, Paolozzi’s canny alchemy is vividly apparent in General Dynamic F.U.N. For Paolozzi, the modern age, exposed as ephemera, is a necessarily fragmented collision of visual stimulus and influence, and his work is a 'health warning for an uncreative and thriftless society.'

    Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “It’s great to be part of the celebrations of this remarkable artist – don’t miss the chance to see his work in our local gallery.”

    If you are in Edinburgh, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern 2) has an amazing recreation of Paolozzi studio, and some of his remarkable sculpture including his 6m high Vulcan in the café.

    Admission to Gracefield exhibitions is always free, open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. The U3A exhibition continues to 4 May, and the Paolozzi until the 11 May.

    The café at Gracefield is now open again asa Usual Place Enterprise.The Studio Caféoffers teas, coffees, light lunches, and home baking.


  • New Local Outcomes Improvement Plan Approved for Dumfries and Galloway

    Thursday, 04 April 2024 13:07

    The Dumfries and Galloway Community Planning Partnership recently approved a new Local Outcomes Improvement Plan for Dumfries and Galloway with a refreshed vision and new supporting outcomes that unite partners and our communities in helping to help tackle inequalities and build a thriving economy over the next 10 years. Our new vision is:

    “To work in partnership to ensure a confident, ambitious, healthy and fairer Dumfries and Galloway for everyone who lives andworks here.”

    Some of our key focuses will be continuing to mitigate the negative impacts on our most vulnerable linked to the Cost of Living; supporting positive mental health and wellbeing; addressing skills and recruitment gaps and maximising employability.

    Partners have also committed to concentrating our joint resources around “place” which will include tackling issues around local health inequalities; child poverty; digital exclusion; community transport; and climate.

    The plan, which is required through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, is available to view through our Community Planning website and is accompanied by five new localised data profiles which have been produced in conjunction with Public Health Scotland.

    The Co-Chairs of the Community Planning Partnership, Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Gail MacGregor and Chair of the NHS Board, Nick Morris, commented, “We are delighted that Community Planning Partners have endorsed our new Local Outcomes Improvement Plan, which sets out our priorities and ambitions over the next ten years. This will bring our collective partnership working closer together than ever before, making best use of our combined resources and tackling some of the key issues facing our communities to help make a real difference.”


  • Youth Beatz 2024 – Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Residential Opportunity

    Thursday, 04 April 2024 12:54

    Youth Beatz Festival is once again delighted to invite young people to Park Farm Showfield in Dumfries to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Residential. The residential is aimed at young people aged 16+ who are currently going through their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

    The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth awards programme that helps and enables young people to discover new interests and talents, encouraging them to develop essential skills for life through volunteering and activity-based programmes.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee Councillor Ian Blake said: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provides young people with fantastic opportunities to learn new skills, broaden their horizons, and to take part in valuable volunteering opportunities. We are excited to be welcoming young people from Dumfries and Galloway and from across Scotland to take part in this great residential delivered in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Scotland.”

    Participants are invited from across Dumfries and Galloway and the rest of Scotland to undertake their gold residential section at Scotland’s largest free youth music festival. Young people will work alongside the Youth Work Team to work on-site at Youth Beatz 2024, helping to build, deliver and take down the event, and providing vital support in the delivery of the festival.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “Providing young people with opportunities such as the Youth Beatz Duke of Edinburgh residential is very important to our council. We are grateful to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and thank them for their ongoing partnership enabling us to create lifelong learning opportunities that allow young people to develop their skills, gain new experiences and to become active citizens.”

    The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential will run from Tuesday 25 June to Tuesday 2 July. The residential is free for young people residing in Dumfries and Galloway, and £100 for those who live out with Dumfries and Galloway (cost includes all meals and accommodation).

    If you are interested in taking part in the Youth Beatz Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential, please complete an application form by Friday 3 May. To register, please visit and click on “Duke of Edinburgh’s Award”.


  • Dumfries and Galloway Council Announces More Than £270,000 of Festivals and Events Funding

    Tuesday, 02 April 2024 16:25

    Dumfries and Galloway Council has announced £270,000 of funding for more than 35 festivals and events across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Dumfries and Galloway has become a renowned events destination and the council is committed to supporting events organisers take forward their projects. The funding is believed to be the most any rural council in Scotland is committing to developing their events sector this year. The funding was awarded at the Communities Committee of the local authority this week.

    The £270,000 of funding will support major events in 2024 such as the Wigtown Book Festival, the Stranraer Oyster Festival, Spring Fling, the Arts Festival and many other superb initiatives. There are high hopes within the council that another World Championship Ice Hockey tournament can be attracted back to Dumfries soon, and that the Gralloch Gravel Cycling World Cup that is being held for the second time in Gatehouse this May 18, can become the most important annual gravel cycling race in Europe.

    The Wild Goose Festival in October and Music at the Multiverse in September, both of which have grown sustainably in recent years and developed their profiles, have seen an increase in their grant awards.

    Twenty four grant awards are being made to applicant organisations to the council’s Regional Events Growth Fund, a new Fund set up to support festivals and events with the potential to grow and attract visitors from across Dumfries and Galloway. The council is delighted with the response to this new Fund and believes it is helping to lay down the foundations for dozens of successful festivals and events in the region for years to come.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee said, “The Council is making a significant investment in our region’s festivals and events due to their contribution to the community, cultural and sporting life of our region. Across Dumfries and Galloway there are superb events that are working closely with businesses and tourism agencies to bring in thousands of visitors to our region and delighting local people with their programmes. The council’s Events Strategy 2023-2027 is being fully delivered and creating tangible results for the regional economy.”

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice Chair of the Communities Committee said, “There will be something for everyone in the festivals funding we are providing this year. Whether you love getting out to our forests to see the Scottish Rally live or live for ice hockey, if you love seeing authors you admire at the Wigtown Book Festival or enjoy the buzz and cookery demonstrations of the Oyster Festival, the council’s events grants will sustain and develop events that our population and visitors support in great numbers.”


  • Council Agrees New Net Zero Targets

    Thursday, 28 March 2024 13:19

    Dumfries and Galloway councillors agreed today (Thursday 28 March) to establish two new net zero targets – one for the council and one for the Dumfries and Galloway region.

    Councillors agreed the recommendations in a report discussed at Full Council today that Dumfries and Galloway Council becomes a carbon neutral organisation by 2033.

    And it was agreed that Dumfries and Galloway Council will support the region to achieve net zero status on or before 2040, with a move to become a carbon negative region by 2045.

    The new commitment replaces the previous target agreed by the council in 2019 for the region to achieve net zero carbon emissions status by 2025.

    Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, said: “Our original target was, rightly, aspirational. We always knew it was ambitious, but we wouldn’t have achieved our great results to date if we hadn’t set ourselves a goal.

    “We have reduced our carbon emissions by 51% between 2018 to 2023, which is an astounding outcome. By reducing our own emissions, we are in a better position to lead by example, encouraging other organisations to set and achieve strong climate change goals.

    “By setting these new still-ambitious but realistic targets we will be able to deliver on the principles set out in our Council Plan – to address the climate emergency we declared in 2019 and protect our natural capital.”

    Scotland has a legally binding, national target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030; 90% by 2040; and 100% by 2045 (from a 1990 baseline).

    Most councils throughout Scotland have set a net zero target for the council’s own emissions but there are significant differences in the targets they have set.

    An inquiry by the Scottish Parliament Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee (NZET), reported that some councils anticipate serious difficulties in meeting these targets due to the significant regional emissions, grid capacity and connection issues, which are outwith councils’ control.

    Dumfries and Galloway Council carbon emissions represent fewer than 1% of the total region-wide emissions.


  • HRH The Princess Royal Visit Marks Anniversary of Lockerbie Air Disaster

    Tuesday, 26 March 2024 14:50

    Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Lockerbie on Monday 25 March to mark the 35th Anniversary of the Lockerbie Air Disaster and to visit the recently refurbished Dryfesdale Lodge Visitor Centre.

    Those receiving The Princess Royal at Dryfesdale Lodge included the Depute Convener and Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillor Gail Macgregor, and the Chief Executive, Dawn Roberts.

    Accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant of Dumfries, Fiona Armstrong, HRH The Princess Royal’s visit to Dryfesdale Lodge Visitor Centre and cemetery provided the opportunity to meet with Dryfesdale Lodge trustees who have been involved in the refurbishment of the facility and to speak with Tundergarth trustees, local residents and guests of their experiences of the air disaster – and their acts of remembrance since.

    After having the opportunity to view the Pan Am 103 exhibition and displays at the lodge, HRH Princess Royal unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit and signed the visitors’ book. Her Royal Highness and the other guests made their way to the Garden of Remembrance and Memorial Wall where Ms Armstrong said a few words about the Lockerbie Air Disaster before inviting HRH to lay a wreath to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Lockerbie Air Disaster.

    As part of the days programme, Her Royal Highness also visited MacRebur Limited in Lockerbie to meet staff and learn about their innovative approaches that help address financial and environmental challenges facing the roads industry. She also officially opened Browns Food Group's new food processing facilities in Kelloholm in her capacity as President of the Scotch Chef's Club.

    The Convener and Depute Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Malcolm Johnstone, and the council’s Director of Communities, Derek Crichton, were in attendance at the new processing facility.

    Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “We are delighted to have hosted Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in our region this week.

    We have a long and proud tradition with members of The Royal Family. In addition to paying her respects at the Lockerbie Air Disaster Memorial, The Princess Royal also had the opportunity to experience two excellent examples of entrepreneurial businesses, and see what a varied and wonderful region we have.

    It has been an honour for our region to give her a warm welcome and demonstrate the hospitality and community spirit that we are rightly proud of.”

  • International Volunteer Exchange Trip Presentation

    Wednesday, 20 March 2024 16:55

    On Thursday 29 February, 10 young people from Annandale and Eskdale presented their experience and cultural learnings to peers, family, educators and funders from a previous exchange trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong October 2023.

    The group was formed early 2023 where they participated in Global Education workshops weekly as well as fundraising up to four times a week to raise the funds for the trip. The group then went to Taiwan for seven days where they volunteered in local community centres and primary schools, and were interviewed on the radio. Not only did the group learn about Taiwanese culture, but the group also presented a cultural presentation about Scotland to five different groups, led on sports, taught ceilidh dancing and sang Scottish anthems.

    During the time in Hong Kong, the group visited the Keswick Foundations projects where they experienced an escape room about gambling harms and visited a museum about the social housing crisis, followed up with meeting members of the community and hearing their stories. The young people aim to empower other young people to speak about other cultures, challenging opinions and meeting new people.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said: “Youth work is such a diverse profession and I believe this just shows the variety of provision and opportunities that is on offer within this region. The young people should be proud of the hard work they endured not only whilst volunteering but whilst still in Scotland at the workshops and fundraising. Well done to all involved.”

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: “Hearing about the voluntary participation undertaken by this group has been heart-warming. Seeing the video of their experience you can see the change of group dynamics; happiness pours from it. Congratulations to all involved, what an incredible experience to participate in.”

    If you would like more information on what activities are available through the council’s Youth Work Service, visit social media and look for “Youth Work DG.”

  • New Exhibitions and Easter Activities at Gracefield

    Wednesday, 20 March 2024 16:12

    Gracefield Gallery 2, hosts a new exhibition – Eduardo Paolozzi: General Dynamic F.U.N.– from 23 March to 11 May.

    This touring exhibition from the Hayward, with added Gracefield Art Collection pieces, showcases the talents of the Edinburgh-born artist in the centenary year of his birth. Galleries across the country will be celebrating his life and work as one of the UK’s leading pop artists, and Gracefield is delighted to show his work here in Dumfries, opening on Saturday 23 March.

    Created between 1965 and 1970, Paolozzi’s canny alchemy is vividly apparent in General Dynamic F.U.N. The series illustrates how the self-styled ‘wizard in Toytown’ employed the technologies of mass-reproduction to gorge on its idols – the household names and familiar faces of consumer advertising, high fashion and Hollywood in the 1960s.

    A compulsive collector and jumbler of icons, Paolozzi (b.1924-d.2001) is equally revered for his mechanistic sculptures and his kaleidoscopic print projects. He transformed the mundane, the derelict and the mass-produced into images that zap with electric eclecticism and impress with their graphic complexity. The artist's friend and sometime collaborator, J.G. Ballard, described General Dynamic F.U.N. as a "unique guidebook to the electric garden of our minds."

    For Paolozzi, the modern age, exposed as ephemera, is a necessarily fragmented collision of visual stimulus and influence, and his work is a 'health warning for an uncreative and thriftless society.'

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of the council's Communities Committee comments: “It’s great to be part of the celebrations of this remarkable artist – don’t miss the chance to see his work in our local gallery.”

    Continuing until 6 April over in Gracefield Gallery 1 ConvergeDiverge: a joint retrospective by Gordon Cockburn and Ronald Rae, follows the path of two Ayrshire artists who met in the 1970’s and became lifelong friends. Exhibition curator Dr Robert De Mey describes “The artists’ transcendent achievement is an ability to use gesture, line and form to shortcut emotional expression. They worked closely together in the 1970’s (‘converge’), and the exhibition then follows the subsequent development of each artist (‘diverge’).”

    Ronnie Rae, b.1946, continues his working practice, sadly Gordon Cockburn (b.1944) died in July 2022 and did not see the exhibition completed, but his family and friends have helped to coordinate the loans of works for the show which launched at Rozelle House in Ayr in November last year, shows at Gracefield until 6 April and then travels to the Baird Institute in New Cumnock for May.

    You can join us for a free gallery talk on Saturday 6 April at 2pm. Exhibition curator Dr Robert De Mey and artist Ronnie Rae will give a short talk on the inspiration behind the exhibition and the work. Please pre-book by calling 01387 262084or email

    Easter School Holidays

    For all budding artists, Gracefield’s kids club runs every Saturday for ages 5 to 12 years, and a once-a-month session for the teenagers and baby and toddlers (cost from £3.50 to 5.50 per session). Give Gracefield a ring or visit to be added to the arts and museums mailing list to be kept up to date with what’s going on pinged direct to you phone or email.

    This Easter school holiday we’ll have some fun Wednesday and Saturday workshop and art days, plus the usual free Easter egg hunt in the grounds on Good Friday and Easter Saturday – find the letters and you could win a creme egg, enter the prize draw for a cholate bunny.

    This year’s drop-in workshop has a nature focus. With nestbuildingand making clay birds eggs to fill them up, you can come for an hour or so for a pre-book a slot, or just drop in between 10.30 and 2.30pm on 29 and 30 March. Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, said: “The Easter egg hunt is always fun and a great free activity to keep kids busy this school holiday”.

    Admission to Gracefield exhibitions is always free, open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

  • New Initiative for Robert Burns Visitors

    Wednesday, 20 March 2024 14:32

    There will be opportunities to step inside the Robert Burns mausoleum throughout the summer in a new initiative by Dumfries and Galloway Council museums. From April to September, museum attendants from Burns House in Dumfries will be at the mausoleum in St Michael’s kirkyard at 11.15am and 2.15pm from Mondays to Saturdays to let visitors visit the interior of this memorial.

    Though Burns was a famous poet and songwriter, he was buried in a simple grave in St Michael’s churchyard in 1796, which visitors struggled to find. The Bard’s close friend John Syme organised a committee to build a mausoleum that they felt would be more fitting for Burns’ legacy. Friends and admirers of his work gave donations to fund this grand building where Burns was reburied in 1815. The white structure with its green copper dome now stands out clearly among the many elaborate sandstone memorials in the churchyard.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council's Communities Committee, said: “Schools and tour groups are often shown into the mausoleum by the museums team, but we’re very pleased to be able to offer these regular opportunities for more people to step inside this memorial where they can experience more of Dumfries’ rich heritage connected to Burns.”

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee,Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: “There are lots of fascinating stories around Burns’ funeral, the mausoleum and the wider churchyard. The museum team is passionate about this history and are looking forward to sharing this with more visitors throughout the summer.”

    The outside of the mausoleum can be viewed at any time and there is an information panel telling its story. Robert Burns House where the poet spent the last years of his life and where he died is just a short walk away. The house has displays of original manuscripts and artefacts that belonged to Burns. The house and mausoleum are both free to visit.