Upland, Dumfries and Galloway’s visual art and craft development organisation, have had to make a quick pivot due to COVID-19 and the requirements of social distancing, since so much of their work relied on in-person events such as exhibits, classes and workshops. They introduced their Digital Diversions project, a new way of promoting, connecting and providing income generation for their members. Having evolved from Spring Fling Open Studios CIC, Upland not only presents the UK’s premier arts and crafts open studios event (Spring Fling) but it also provides year round support for artists and makers.
They also identified new ways to hold their annual flagship event, Spring Fling Open Studios. Since they could not have actual studio visits, they held virtual workshops and posted studio and artist information on line. SF | At Home was a digital programme that ran in May and was designed to fill some of the gap left by the postponement of Spring Fling, Scotland’s leading open studios weekend. Spring Fling has been postponed until later in the year, and is hoping to take place in the autumn.
The free workshops included “Drawing Under Lockdown,” “Juice Box Houses,” “Self Portrait in Isolation” and others, as well as virtual studio tours and an online exhibition. The resources can also be used to keep children entertained with fun and positive projects and help with home schooling. Though the event finished in May, there is still a good deal of information on their website, https://www.spring-fling.co.uk/.
Upland also connected to regional businesses to support them; promoted members online, on social media, and through press releases to engage with new and existing audiences; developed and leveraged members’ skills and Upland resources to present new income generating opportunities for members; and presented new platforms for exchange and networking. More information can be found on their website: https://www.weareupland.com/
Image Credit: Colin Tennant.