Our History

Upland has evolved from Spring Fling, founded in 2003.

The inaugural year of Spring Fling: the event was founded by Jane McArthur, who was the Visual Arts Development Officer at Dumfries and Galloway Council in partnership with a committee of artists.

2003

Jim Buchanan's Labyrinth
Jim Buchanan's Labyrinth
Godfrey Smith
Godfrey Smith

This year saw the introduction of a public art commission ‘Shifting’ a specially commissioned mobile caravan installation work by Jo Hodges and Alice Francis in three locations across the region during Spring Fling weekend.

2004

'Shifting' Jo Hodges and Alice Francis Commission
'Shifting' Jo Hodges and Alice Francis Commission
Elizabeth Waugh
Elizabeth Waugh

Spring Fling linked up with the launch of Art in Gardens which coincided with Spring Fling weekend, and introduced collaborative exhibitions on two of the routes. The selection process was introduced this year.

2005

Fiona Thompson (Studio 55) Ceramics
Fiona Thompson (Studio 55) Ceramics
2005 Brochure Cover
2005 Brochure Cover

New Faces was introduced this year, a programme for recent graduates with a connection to the region. The Spring Fling Sing took place, and the event continued to grow as a partnership between the local authority and local artists.

2006

Shimara Carlow: New Faces
Shimara Carlow: New Faces
Steven Higginson: New Faces
Steven Higginson: New Faces

On the 5th birthday year New Faces continued to support 5 recent graduates. The introduction of local exhibitions in the run up to the Spring Fling weekend raised awareness of Spring Fling locally, as did the first series of Kids Club workshops as part of the event.

2007

Naomi Lethbridge, New Faces
Naomi Lethbridge, New Faces
2007 Brochure Cover
2007 Brochure Cover

Spring Fling worked closely with the education department this year on the CREATE schools residency.

A public art commission called Super Nature by Arts Collective CNN was hugely popular - a solar powered dance floor deep in the woods with disco bunnies, badger bouncers and a duck cleaning lady. Participants learnt dance moves in stages as they were guided through the woods.

New Faces continued and this year saw the first collaboration with the Robert Burns Film Theatre with an Artists Films Programme. 

2008

Supernature by CNN
Supernature by CNN
Jason Shackleton
Jason Shackleton

This year WASPS Kirkcudbright opened and to mark this Spring Fling co-ran a residency which was awarded to public artist Tim Taylor. New Faces became the Homecomers Scheme, supporting two artists with roots in Dumfries and Galloway. The Spring Fling Ceilidh and Hogroast, which continued for another three years started in 2009, and in its first year was a huge hit with visitors and artists.

A significant milestone this year was Spring Fling becoming independent from the local authority, forming a Community Interest Company with jeweller Natalie Vardey becoming the first Chair of the committee.

2009

Tim Taylor WASPS Spring Fling Residency
Tim Taylor WASPS Spring Fling Residency
Bus Tours
Bus Tours

Building on the WASPS residency in 2009 this year Spring Fling developed a partnership with Craigieburn Gardens near Moffat creating an outdoor residency and commission which was taken up by installation artist Calum Stirling who created the artwork Hypobaric Empyr.

Across the region during Spring Fling were a series of Hidden Film Screenings, and for the first time there were Spring Fling cycle tours, offering a greener way to studio hop.

2010

Calum Stirling Hypobaric Empyr and Craigieburn Gardens
Calum Stirling Hypobaric Empyr and Craigieburn Gardens
2010 Brochure Cover Illustrated by Nick Saunders
2010 Brochure Cover Illustrated by Nick Saunders

This was the 1st year of the now longstanding residency between Spring Fling + Wigtown Book Festival, with textile artist Deirdre Nelson exploring words and language in the setting of Scotland’s book town.

With a focus on public and environmental art, the Art of Place Lecture Series took place at Glasgow University in Dumfries.

Natalie Vardey stood down as Chair after three years of building the event alongside the committee of artists, with painter Hazel Campbell becoming the Chair of Spring Fling CIC. In 2011 the organisation employed its first two members of staff.

2011

Deirdre Nelson Spring Fling Wigtown Book Festival Resident
Deirdre Nelson Spring Fling Wigtown Book Festival Resident
Brochure Cover: Illustration by Lizzy Stewart
Brochure Cover: Illustration by Lizzy Stewart
Spring Fling Guided Walk
Spring Fling Guided Walk

In celebration of the 10th Birthday of Spring Fling 2012 was a 4-day event over the Queens Jubilee weekend with a wine tasting event at Shambellie House.

Couch, created by Alice Francis, was a subversive public art commission: a traditional galloway cottage covered with floral stretch-covered fabric. Looking In Looking Out, a Pecha Kucha lecture series in partnership with Glasgow University explored art practice in D&G and our neighbouring regions.

The Wigtown Book Festival Residency continued with photographer Kim Ayres as resident artist. This was the first year of the Young Artists Bursary Programme and saw the start of the Springboard Project, piloting year round youth and community projects and digital developments in the form of a webshop and smartphone app.

2012

Alice Francis, Couch
Alice Francis, Couch
Kim Ayres: SF X WBF Resident
Kim Ayres: SF X WBF Resident
Smartphone App
Smartphone App

Robbie Coleman created Fragment this year, an audio public art project happening in three locations, and Oceanallover performed Pollen in three gardens across the region.

The Young Artists Bursary Mentoring Programme continued and Joanne Kaar undertook the Wigtown Book Festival Residency. This year Spring Fling introduced the Neighbours scheme with three artists taking part in Spring Fling from Cumbria, Borders and South Ayrshire.

The Springboard Project continued with new partnership work on projects with schools, the local college, other arts organisations, and launching a webshop and further developing a smartphone app.

2013

Laura Perry, Young Artist Bursary Mentoring Programme
Laura Perry, Young Artist Bursary Mentoring Programme
2013 Brochure Cover Illustration by Jonathan Woodward
2013 Brochure Cover Illustration by Jonathan Woodward
Pollen at Craigieburn Gardens by Oceanallover
Pollen at Craigieburn Gardens by Oceanallover

Spring Fling collaborated this year with Amy Whiten & Ali Wyllie from Recoat on Spring Fling Rural Mural (#SFRM), commissioning local, national and international artists to create 13 murals across the region on farm buildings, houses, and 'unexpected things' such as a tractor, slurry tanker, and a horse's rug.

The youth programmes continued with the Young Artists Bursary Programme, and Spring Fling embarked on the first year of Modern Heritage Craft. Astrid Jaekel became the Wigtown Book Festival Resident with her beautiful paper cutouts.

After a successful Kickstarter Campaign crowdfunding campaign, Spring Fling went national with exhibitions in The Lighthouse Glasgow, The Biscuit Factory Newcastle, and James Harvey British Art London.

The Evolution of Spring Fling started this year; an organisational development project to evolve Spring Fling from being an event with peripheral projects to being Dumfries and Galloway’s visual art and craft development organisation.

2014

SFRM Mural with Recoat by Amy Winstanley & Will Barras
SFRM Mural with Recoat by Amy Winstanley & Will Barras
Spring Fling Exhibition Opening The Lighthouse Glasgow
Spring Fling Exhibition Opening The Lighthouse Glasgow
Astrid Jaekel: SF X WBF Resident
Astrid Jaekel: SF X WBF Resident

As part of Spring Fling, the The Stove Network were commissioned to create Running On Empty, a sustainable travelling food project in the form of a converted taxi marking the year of Food & Drink.

Spring Fling's youth programmes continued to grow and thrive with Young Artists Bursary Programme, Modern Heritage Craft, and Residents in Schools. Anupa Gardner was the Wigtown Book Festival Resident creating an installation called Wee Wigtown.

Eight Neighbours took part in Spring Fling and for the first time the event had a Northern Irish Neighbour taking part in Spring Fling in Stranraer: Laurie Campbell. The national and international exhibition programme became Spring Fling's 'Spring Shows' and Spring Fling went international for the first time with an exhibition in Berlin, continuing with the national programme in Edinburgh with the Dundas Gallery.

After a year long development project The Evolution of Spring Fling, and with careful and considered consultation with artists and partners, Spring Fling CIC evolves into Upland CIC, becoming Dumfries and Galloway’s visual art and craft development organisation, embarking on an ambitious new programme of local, national and international programmes rooted in a rural area. Spring Fling, the event, remains the same.

2015

Modern Heritage Craft with Amanda Simmons
Modern Heritage Craft with Amanda Simmons
Running On Empty: The Stove Network
Running On Empty: The Stove Network
Spring Show Berlin
Spring Show Berlin