Whithorn life filmed for posterity

Whithorn Business Association has commissioned Urbancroft Films to lead an exciting creative residency project in Whithorn from June 17 to 26 of June.

‘All Roads Lead to Whithorn’ is a creative community consultation exploring and celebrating the talents and skills people have in the area. The findings will be recorded as a high quality documentary film, which will be used to demonstrate the potential for a large-scale event in the area in the future.

Four artists will work with different people to explore the ‘All Roads Lead to Whithorn’ title of the project.

In the Douglas Ewart High School in Newton Stewart and Whithorn Primary School, two theatre artists will use a drama-based approach to devise ideas/proposals and create beginnings for what could become a large-scale event in the future. They will explore what Whithorn means to them now and in the future. Their ideas will be creatively presented and documented on film in order to share them with as wide an audience as possible.

At the Douglas Ewart, English teacher Graeme Davies, a Whithorn resident and member of the steering committee for the campaign said: “The whole area has such a diverse range of skills and talents so this is an exciting way to promote the area, build lasting links between residents and attract new visitors. Modern Scottish Education is more about learning skills for life, getting our young people involved in what’s going on in the community and promoting what is important to them within the context of their own lives. This exciting opportunity is one that our young people will always remember and who knows the lasting impact it may have on the aspirations for the future.”

In addition to the schools residencies two documentary filmmakers will work in a detached way in Whithorn. They will immerse themselves into the life of the community. They will use film as a way of engaging and recording people on the streets, in places of work, pubs, in houses and on public transport. They will meet individuals, groups and capture the views of local people on the themes of journeys and modern day pilgrimages to Whithorn.

The product will be a documentary film, which may be projected outdoors by the business association or in a shop front for the community to view. It will celebrate all things Whithorn and the community’s thoughts about coming together to create a unique event. It will provide evidence of the appetite for a future event and share the range of skills and talent in their area. It will be a piece of genuine creative consultation but also an artwork in its own right.

The project is being led by Urbancroft Films who make community films across the UK and made the successful The Folk who Live on the Hill documentary in Stranraer in 2008.

Creative Director Martyn Robertson, who is directing the project on behalf of the business association, commented:

“We’re looking speak to anyone from the local area willing to share their skills, thoughts and talents with us. We want to hear local peoples ideas on what a unique event in Whithorn might look like. The film will be used to help the association move the project to the next stage but it will also be a fantastic artwork that can be treasured by the community for future generations to watch. I’d encourage all local people and groups to get in touch via social media or telephone to participate in the film.”

A Whithorn Business Association spokesman added: “This is only the first stage in a series of events. The films created in this first phase will be used by the Business Association to apply for lottery and other funding, so that a grand community event can take place - the finale of which will be in 2014, the Year of Homecoming, which has strong links to our theme of pilgrimage, journeys and travel to Whithorn, The Association hopes that as many people as possible will participate, not only in the schools, but community groups and individuals as well. It will all help make the films as rich a picture of community life as possible and create a good argument which we can transmit to funders”.

Phase one of the project is funded by Wigtown Area Committee and the Holywood Trust, Dumfries.