SOCIAL, CIVIC & ECONOMIC VALUE
Community & social empowerment | Environment | Equality, diversity & inclusion | Health & wellbeing
BUSINESS PARTNER BENEFITS
Business and/or brand name awareness | Corporate social responsibility | Creative development | Developing community links | Enjoyment
Dumfries town centre, like many in Scotland, has struggled with the decline of the retail market with many of its shops and buildings now standing empty and falling into disrepair. There is little or no ‘after dark’ economy and D-Lux Arts CIC’s overarching aim for this project was to enable the town to be experienced in a new and playful way, as a place that is both safe and inspiring at night. Alongside other organisations and events in the town, D-Lux Arts CIC wanted to support Dumfries town centre to reimagine its post-retail future.
In 2018, the Festival’s second year consisted of three elements. Firstly, an imaginative take on town illuminations was installed, creating a spectacular light-filled space in the centre of town. From the upper floors of empty buildings, high power spotlights were used to create a video game effect by dropping changing patterns of pools of white light onto the pedestrian precinct below. With the permission of Dumfries & Galloway Council, the iconic, listed Midsteeple clock face was lit up with colourful projections and strobe lighting, while LED colour-change wash lights were used in window spaces to create night-time interest in buildings otherwise largely held in darkness on their upper floors.
The second strand was Our Moon, a new projected animation piece for Dumfries, based on the faces of residents and created by artists Hannah Fox and Jason Threlfall. It became a friendly, watchful eye over the town centre through the winter. Thirdly, Whose Hoose was a commission by The Stove Network featuring an interactive video jukebox offering 30-second video tracks created by artists and the community. This played from dusk until 11pm with members of the public able to select the films they would like to see. Following the launch of Whose Hoose, seven workshops were held with the people of Dumfries, generating a further 20 films.
Jardine Funeral Directors has been established in Dumfries for over 100 years and enjoys a trusted relationship with the local community. Mark Jardine, the business’s CEO, was keen to support D-Lux Arts CIC in an effort to boost the town’s regeneration and, quite literally, shine a ray of light on some of its abandoned buildings in the dark days of winter. As a long-standing resident and respected business owner, Mark was also able to gather useful feedback and insights directly from townspeople, on an informal basis, which both influenced planning meetings and facilitated new relationships with other local businesses.
The partnership has also provided a channel for Jardine’s to engage with the community in a way that contrasts with their usual role. The firm collaborated closely with the festival organisers, and the positive associations of light and hope, regeneration and rejuvenation reflect the business’s values of trust and compassion.
The positive outcomes
The D-Lux Festival of Light has emerged as a vibrant and growing community-based event that has gained real traction among local people and businesses in Dumfries, with an audience reach of an estimated 5,000 people. New commissions support the work of professional artists while bringing tired areas of town into the spotlight in a positive and visually exciting way.