Alchemy Film & Arts launched Hawick in Common, a two-year creative project exploring the histories, cultures and heritages of Hawick, in autumn 2023. 

Spanning Alchemy’s core and intersecting programme strands of festival, residencies and community engagement with a thematic focus on ideas of commonality in Hawick, the project is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with additional support from Scottish Borders LAG Community Led Local Development Fund. Project elements relating specifically to Film Town’s community engagement strategies include support from Creative Scotland’s Participatory Arts and Mental Health Fund, Youth Music Initiative, and capital support toward new creative digital equipment from South of Scotland Enterprise. 

Managed by Alchemy’s Project Coordinator Zuzana Fryntová, Hawick in Common includes paid traineeship opportunities and prioritises engagement through participant-led steering, manifesting across the following elements: 

  • an 18-month community filmmaking and creative mentorship programme; 
  • a skills development and training programme focusing on the researching and preserving of social histories and alternative forms of archiving through film and film-adjacent means; 
  • the collaborative creation of a new ‘Hawick Songs Book’; 
  • the production of a new feature film about Hawick’s centuries-old Common Riding traditions. 

This year, Hawick-based musician Miwa Nagato-Apthorp continues Hawthorn Songs, a long-term residency she began in 2022, researching and speculating on agriculture, labour and culture in Hawick’s history. Miwa has been collaborating with community partners to develop a new songbook for Hawick. 

The production of our new feature film focusing on Hawick’s Common Riding traditions and the town-wide, often-unseen labours that make it possible is directed by former Alchemy artist in residence Mark Lyken.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

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Banner image: Hawick In Common, Mark Lyken, 2023