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June 2, 2020

Atlas Pandemica

There is a depressing irony about times like this that the arts and cultural sector must be all too familiar with. When the economy is strong, the arts are courted as an integral part of how any decent society should function. Not a ‘nice to have’ cultural trinket but a prerequisite of a properly balanced wider economy. But when the storms come, our cultural assets are often the first to be blown away. Good to see that those culture cultivators at The Stove Network in Dumfries are putting the arts front and centre of the recovery.


The Stove Network

We believe that a creative voice is vital in the conversation about the futures being planned for our communities. To that end, we are gathering together creative practitioners, from all walks of life, to work collectively on a project that will examine the way our society is reacting to the COVID pandemic and make creative responses to what is happening and what could happen in the future.

The pandemic is both local and global as it is lived by individuals and communities.  Above all, it is a collective experience, and one that must be looked at through different scales of magnification to reveal the different truths and insights about relations between individuals, communities and the larger influences in our lives; and some of the inequalities embedded within these, as well as the positive possibilities.

Over the last few months we have all seen and sometimes participated in many, many examples of cooperation, generosity and care.  Maps to a Kinder World is a means of creatively learning and building on these informal networks and gestures of human solidarity. Can an Atlas Pandemica help reveal the real power of the local for the way we live together with each other and the environment into the future?

Atlas Pandemica: Maps to a Kinder World is one means to support creative voices to be heard and offers an opportunity for new thinking, actions and innovations.

We are looking for eight people to work on the project. Each will be given a separate commission to explore a theme. Projects will be of an action research nature – working alongside people, groups, organisations and agencies to learn and engage, then making creative responses to the research that deepens understanding and the potential for further participation and development of ideas. Each of the eight creative journeys will be seen as a map (in the widest sense) that will be gathered together in an atlas of Maps to a Kinder World that can be used to help our region navigate to a new future from the COVID pandemic.

We very much hope that you will be interested to take part in the project, if so, please do get in touch. We would like to hear from creative practitioners with an initial response to the project and proposal of what they would like to research and with which communities, people and organisations. We have identified a list of a themes that are intended to give an idea of the direction we imagine the project going in. We’d like you to respond to one of these and propose an approach you would take to developing this. All options that engage with local activity and aim to enhance the future for communities are valid – we are committed to the idea that we are navigating uncharted territory. Supporting the greatest diversity of approach and people is our aim.

Please follow this link for the proposed themes for Atlas Pandemica.

The Commissions:

We are offering eight separate commissions to take part in the project. These are available to individual creative practitioners or teams (see Background and Criteria below). Each commission will receive an all-inclusive fee of £3,500 and the project is planned to last for approximately 5 months (NB we live in times defined by uncertainty).

Commissioned practitioners will be supported by The Stove Network in terms of project management, partnership working and personal support. This project is about kindness and mutuality and we aim to create a collective support network around Atlas Pandemica with regular group check-ins and opportunities to share insights and learning across the group for the benefit of all. Sharing of work in progress will be an important feature of the project as it exists within an incredibly fluid and changing context. Commissioned practitioners will be working with the project’s co-curators (Robbie Coleman and Matt Baker) to develop their work in a form that can sit alongside the work of others to be presented as part of a collection of ‘maps’ in the Atlas Pandemica.

Please download the background and criteria for the project here.

To Apply:

Please send us:


  • A statement of no more than 500 words stating how you would propose to approach being part of this project. Please include your theme of study and whom and how you would propose working with to explore this.
  • Current CV
  • Up to 4 examples of past work that you feel best supports your application – this can be in any form (images, films, texts, testimonials etc, links to online video or other online resources, etc)
  • Please send by email to with a maximum file size of 10MB
  • The deadline for receiving submissions is 5pm on Wednesday 17th June
  • Interviews for the commissions will be held virtually on 30th June and 1st and 2nd July. By applying you are deemed to be making yourself available for interview on one of these dates.
  • We will always send an email acknowledging receipt of any applications. If you do not receive an email, please contact us again by email.
  • If you require specific support when making an application please let us know