Updates on our capital development plans: July 2021

Internal view into yard, Architect's impressions of the capital development at SSW. Image: Collective Architecture

We are thrilled to share plans for phase one of our capital development project which will focus on a new Community Making Space, expansion of our ceramics workshop and newly refurbished artist accommodation.

The developments are led by Collective Architecture and will begin in autumn, following successful planning permission from Aberdeenshire Council. Generously supported with funding from the Bently Foundation, the first phase of developments are set to begin in October 2021 with completion planned for April 2022.

Within these plans, there will be a new Community Making Space on Main Street in Lumsden. Facing out towards the community, the space will be highly visible and accessible, its design and architecture inviting people in. It will offer dedicated space for groups and individuals to use for meeting, making and working together. Over the coming years, SSW will be working with people who live locally to SSW and artist collective Myvillages to develop how the space is run, as well as working together to create a community-led programme as part of The Rural School of Economics supported by the BEPART programme.

The new facilities for artists sit alongside the new community space, including a redeveloped ceramics workshop with increased capacity, improved access and maximised layout. The accommodation for visiting artists will also be refurbished. Accessibility is a key part of the plans, with improvements to the fabric of the building and to site navigation.

Sam Trotman, Director, SSW, says, “This is an exciting moment for SSW and Phase One of an ambitious plan ahead, where we open up our site and our organisation, and improve facilities and access for artists and the local communities. 

Camille Bently, Executive Director of the Bently Foundation, says, “We are proud to award a grant to an organisation with tremendous community and cultural value and with a mission which also prioritises the human need for environmental sustainability in all we endeavor. We look forward to seeing SSW continue to grow and inspire a worldwide community of artists from the heart of Scotland for generations to come”

Ewan Imrie, Collective Architecture, says, “We are delighted to see the first phase of redevelopment progressing at SSW. Although this initial phase will be modest in scale, the transformations of how the spaces can be utilised will be dramatic allowing many more people to take part in activities here and benefit from this wonderful facility. The changes will also greatly improve wheelchair users’ access and accommodation, providing a uniquely accessible facility”

The project will be supported by SSW’s Capital Cluster and Capital Project Manager, Jane Robertson. Phase Two of the Capital project, which is currently being fundraised for, focuses on the development of the other workshops, including foundry and casting spaces, wood and metal workshops, additional storage for materials and an accessible, residential bothy. 

In all forthcoming capital plans, we will focus on the environmental crisis and the role of making and material processes in this. We area committed to ensuring renewable energy production and use, as well as prioritising energy capture and storage throughout. 

For media information contact Nicola Jeffs – nicola@olearyjeffs.com / 07794 694 754 and Owen O’Leary owen@olearyjeffs.com /  07815 992 658 

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