Strathmore arts festival

stART 2007


As a result of the community based activities already running in East Perthshire, the Scottish Government funded a Cultural Pathfinder project which looked at the work of the stART group and saw how such a community approach can help to deliver 'cultural entitlements' in a local area. It has informed Perth and Kinross Council's approach to cultural entitlements and will continuer to provide an example for other parts of Scotland. This additional support meant that the stART festival can now expand and the benefits will be felt locally over a much longer period rather than just over the 2007 festival weekend.

Developing Cultural Entitlements in East Perthshire will mean increasing and promoting access to high quality arts and cultural activity in your local community. We want to help you do more in your rural home communities without having to travel to a major city. We already have a thriving network of voluntary groups who work hard to provide activity locally and the stART group and Perth and Kinross council have asked some of these groups how they would like to make the arts more accessible. This wonderful range of events is the result. Not only do these pages show the range of activities that local people have requested, but they also highlight many of the groups that run regularly and form the backbone of our local cultural life.

Looking at Cultural Entitlements also means protecting and celebrating our own very special culture here in the Strathmore Valley. An aspect of which has not been properly celebrated over time is that of our Travelling Folk. We are very lucky to have the internationally renowned Sheila Stewart M.B.E living in Rattray. In 2007 Sheila published her first book, a biography of her mother Belle Stewart 'Queen Amang the Heather' (which was launched in Blairgowrie Library before Christmas 2007), and has travelled all over the world singing the wonderful songs passed down in the oral tradition from her family. Over the weekend of the stART festival 2007, Sheila Stewart, her son Ian McGregor and author Jess Smith shared the wealth of their songs and stories and crafts with us in Rattray Church Hall. This was be a spectacular event. The National Portrait gallery worked with us to create a moving portrait of one of our own Cultural Icons.

Follow this link to read more about the Scottish Government Pathfinder Project:

What are stART OOTs?

Over the months of March, April and May 2007, the "stART OOT" workshops took place in various venues in the Strathmore area. These workshops were all hosted by stART's partners who welcomed participation from non-group members.
Some stART OOTs took place during the festival itself. (They are listed briefly below, please check the main 2007 festival listing for more details.)
  • Stone Carving
  • Paper Flower Making
  • Music and Song
  • Piping the Old Way
  • Story Round
  • Turlie Basket Making
  • Creative Knitting
  • Images and Stories
  • Music, Song and Stories
  • Songs and Stories Get Together
  • Storytelling and Ballads

To see the full listing of stART Oot Workshops that ran in East Perthshire in 2007, please click here.

So, overall was the stART Festival 2007 a success?

According to stART Festival Chairperson Rachel Bower, yes it was. “The responses we have received from people about their enjoyment of the festival has been overwhelming. I don’t think any of us really realized quite how big an impact the festival has on people’s lives. Some of the comments and stories that we have heard have been really touching—a surprising number of people have been affected in a very profound way by taking part in the festival.”

Here are some of the comments from people who took part:

“This workshop has changed my life forever-its been a lifetime ambition realised!” (oil painting masterclass)

“I really enjoyed myself and I can’t wait to do it at home” (2D animation)

“I feel very privileged and have learned so much about travelling people which was very enlightening. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.” (travelling traditions storytelling)

There were 58 different workshops on offer throughout the weekend. Just over 1,000 people took part. The largest group to take part was 5 –10 year olds and, on average, only fractionally more women took part than men.

“Across the board, people have enjoyed their experiences and said they would like the opportunity to be involved in the festival again. With positive feedback like that , we can’t help but accept that the festival has been a tremendous success” added Rachel

Every person involved in the event was given an evaluation form. At the end of the festival the results showed that 93.9% enjoyed being involved in the workshop and 76% were keen to attend another arts event because of the experience.

What next for stART?

“The greatest challenge now is to manage the snowball effect that the festival is taking on. Every year the communities ask for more and more workshops, which means more and more work and money is required. I really hope the Scottish Government will continue to support culture and realise what a vital component access to culture is in people’s lives in rural communities” Rachel concluded

How do we know it was a success?

Every person that took part in an event was given an evaluation form.
At the end of the festival, we looked at the forms to find out if people enjoyed the event.
Here are some of the answers we received.

Did you enjoy being involved in today's workshop?
Yes: 93.9% A bit: 4.5% No: 0.4% Blank : 1.2%

Have you ever taken part in arts workshops before?
Yes: 50% Yes: 50% No: 46.8% Blank : 3.2%

Are you more interested in attending arts event because of today’s workshop?
Yes: 76.9% A bit: 17.4% No: 2.4% Blank : 3.2%

Would you have liked to be involved in more Festival events?
Yes: 75.5% A bit: 16.5% No: 3.2% Blank : 4.8%

Do you feel more a part of the community as a result of today’s workshop?
Yes: 65.2% A bit: 25.9% No: 4.0% Blank : 4.9%

Are you happier as a result of today’s workshop?
Yes: 74.1% A bit: 17.8% No: 3.2% Blank : 4.9%

Do you feel more confident as a result of today’s workshop?
Yes: 46.6% A bit: 33.6% No: 11.7% Blank : 8.1%

How many miles did you travel to get here?
0-1: 31% 1-4: 9% 4-8: 34% 8-12: 11% 12-16: 6% 16-20: 4% 20+: 5%

(Did you know that the average distance from the Strathmore area to Perth concert hall is 20.9 miles, and 19.6 Miles to the Dundee Centre for contemporary arts?)

Have a look at some of the events

Find out about the artists who led the workshops