The heritage and history of Fittie is being celebrated in an arts project that also looks to imagine the unique community’s future.
Residents are being asked to join in with the Safe Harbour, Open Sea initiative and say what they would like to see it do and achieve as it looks at ways of bringing people together again as part of post-Covid recovery.
The year-long project – with arts organisation Open Road working in partnership with the Fittie Community Development Trust – now has a team of artists and creative producers working in this special fishing-village-in-the-city.
Pauline Brown, chair of the trust, said: “I think it represents a remarkable opportunity for those in Fittie who want to participate in something that honours the past of Fittie but looks towards the future and how they might be part of Fittie’s future.
People of Fittie will put meat on the bones
“I think it also offers lots of opportunity for socialisation, for recreation, for learning new things and for contributing your own skills, your own ideas and your own talent.”
The team started working from the community base in Fittie Gospel Hall last week and has already been brainstorming ideas for the initiative, which will be looking to help the area recover from the impact of Covid, and also addressing wider social, economic and environmental issues, not just in Fittie, but across the city.
Pauline said Safe Harbour, Open Sea is very much in its early stages, with nothing written in tablets of stone.
“We want this project to come from Fittie people and grow from the roots up,” she said.
“It’s important for us to have a frame in place so we know the direction towards the outcomes, but it’s the people of Fittie who will put the meat on the bones. We are not doing it unto people. People will do it together.”
Lesley Anne Rose, co-founder of Open Road and a Fittie resident herself, said: “We may be looking at community choirs, writing groups, film clubs where you might watch films, but also learn how to make films.
Giving the community a voice
“It is very much passing on skills so people can take their own creativity into their own hands as well as opportunities to come together, share their stories and have a voice. It’s those kinds of things as well as one-off events.
Some of the ideas might include a trail around the community to help manage where the tourists and visitors go in this small, historic area, or running upcycling workshops, or how to mend or adapt old clothes.
Much of the work – funded through Creative Scotland – will also involve giving the community a voice in its future, particularly as the city looks to a carbon zero future and a post-oil world.
Lesley Anne said: “What is this coastal community going to look like in 25 years’ time, what do we have control over, what can we come together over now?”
The team includes Geraldine Heaney, a freelance artist who grew up in Fittie who will develop a programme of creative initiatives and events, aimed at bringing the community hall and community connections back to life post-lockdown.
Creative community worker Victoria Fifield will be exploring themes of visitors and migration, while Martin Aitken and Marie Driver will be creative producers, helping to make projects and ideas a reality.
Help Fittie live alongside changes
Victoria said: “I would like to see this reknit the community, with an element of healing after what has happened in the past year.”
Marie said: “I would hope there will be some tangibles from this, maybe for a film club or community choir to keep going after we have left. That would be pretty wonderful.”
Pauline said her hopes were for a lasting legacy that would see a Fittie even more proud and sure of its identity.
“A settled, content Fittie that is living comfortably alongside the huge changes in the world – austerity, Brexit, Covid, the decline of the oil industry, over-tourism, all of the things we have to contend with.”
For more information visit fittietrust.org.uk