Archives for posts with tag: as i see it

We return to Govan Community Project this week to hear from Artist and Illustrator Alice Dansey Wright.  She fills us in on the progress the group have made in such a short space of time!  


Rosie and I have been working with two groups within Govan Community Project- the Homework Group for kids on a Monday night and the Men’s Group on a Friday night. Both groups meet in the community flat in Cardonald, which is a normal flat that has been converted in to a series of community rooms and a kitchen. The Men’s group meet to play football, make new friends and eat a meal together. The group has a facilitator who is helped by two local volunteers- a university student and an S5 pupil.

Over the course of two 2-hour workshops with the men’s group we met four men in addition to the facilitator and volunteers. The men keep in touch using a WhatsApp group and the atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly, centered around the preparing, cooking and sharing of a meal (which Rosie and I were lucky enough to get a plate of too). Due to the relaxed atmosphere, slower pace and language ability of the group we were able to introduce the project in a more developed way which started with us discussing images and information about a series of existing Glasgow statues.

IMG_3342The men shared their insights and knowledge about Glasgow and overall were in agreement that representation of different cultures in public sculpture is important, alongside information about Glasgow’s industrial past such as the ship building trade. We also discussed protest, rebellion and activism – looking at the rallies, talks and gatherings around George Square and La Pasionaria, the statue of communist politician Dolores Ibarruri which commemorates the 534 British volunteers who joined the fight against Franco’s regime in the Spanish Civil War. The slogan ‘People Make Glasgow’ was brought up as one of the men had seen it all over the city and didn’t understand what it was for/what it meant. After discussing this we felt that the slogan reflected our ideas for the As I See It project well.


The men were invited to develop a series of symbols that represented them as well as symbols that could represent Glasgow (which was a slight development on what we did with the Homework group). Despite some protestations about not being able to draw all of the group produced interesting drawings that were subsequently turned in to blocks and symbols for the statue making activity.

On the 2nd of June we held our big workshop/making day at Kinning Park Complex. Along with volunteers and staff from GCP both the men’s group and the kids from the Homework Group came together to collaboratively block print and paint a selection of t-shirts and a large piece of fabric which will be turned into our statue.


As I See It: Missing Statues culminates with a special event at South Block on Saturday 17th June where the statues will be unveiled. They will then be exhibited at South Block from 19th – 23rd June. For more info visit the Facebook event page.


It’s time to hear from Charlotte Duffy Scott – a cardboard artist who has been working with a group of visually impaired adults who meet regularly as part of the wider As I See It project.  Lets see what they have been up to!


Working with the As I See It group challenged the way I thought about not just the act of making but the role and responsibility public art has to be truly accessible to everyone in the public. Sight still is the most depended upon sense when it comes to experiencing and consuming a lot of art; statues, paintings, sculptures, video installation – so much of it relies on a foundation of seeing what’s there in front of you but also the presumption that every one who looks at it will be able to see it in the same way as the artist did. We class so much as ‘visual art’ with little thought as to what means to those who are visually impaired.


The piece we have created is collaborative in a way that I didn’t know was possible, the entire process has been an act of sharing and borrowing skills, views, experiences and opinions from one another in order to create something that, hopefully, can be appreciated through sound, or through touch, or through far away sight or close up sight. In each different way that it can be experienced a different story is told but with a shared foundation in expressing a different point of view.

IMG_20170503_151740Emmanuel has made the most intricate model of a plane. It is small but incredibly detailed and the viewer can see through the windows to the rows of tiny chairs inside, the propellers even spin when you blow on them.  My hands made this piece however it is entirely Emmanuel’s – each week he has described to me every single element he envisions from how many wheels it should have to the specific wingspan it needed. He drew imaginary lines with his fingers for where every cut and every join had to be. He told me off when it felt as though I hadn’t done exactly hat he had asked. We’ve made something together but he is the artist and I was a tool to achieve the image he had in his head.

On first meeting this group all told me of how they’d never made anything out of cardboard before and I replied that we were in the same boat because I’d never made anything without relying on my sight so we could learn together and make our own ways of doing things and representing things. And we truly have.



As I See It: Missing Statues culminates with a special event at South Block on Saturday 17th June where the statues will be unveiled. They will then be exhibited at South Block from 19th – 23rd June. For more info visit the Facebook event page.

As I See It Workshop Leader, Amy Conway, gives us an update on what’s been happening with the project.


As I See It is back with a brand new project! Last year was a busy one for Kathy, Emmanuel, Joe and Frank, our visually impaired tour guides, with two successful projects under their belt. Back in early April, our guides delivered a fascinating, personalised insight into the Gorbals area of Glasgow, and then in June they hosted a community event in Maryhill celebrating Glasgow dancehalls and the city’s enthusiasm for dance, both past and present.


As I See It: Dancehall Experience (Photo by Jassy Earl)


And as if that wasn’t enough, our intrepid participants finished the year with the research phase of their next project which is all about the public statues, monuments and sculptures of Glasgow.

This is obviously quite a broad topic and not specific to any particular area of Glasgow, unlike our past projects, and we have had a brilliant time so far, thinking about the many existing statues in our fair city, learning a bit about how these statues are created, and starting to think about what statues might be missing from the city landscape.


Out and about researching

A few fun facts we have gathered from our research for you:

  • If you’re a fan of cartoons, you might already know that there have been two statues commissioned to celebrate the life of Scottish (Partick-born) newspaper cartoonist, Bud Neill. You may know that sheriff “Lobey Dosser” used to sit astride his two legged horse, El Fideldo, on Woodlands Road until it was vandalised and removed by the council. But did you know that there is a second Bud Neill character, “G.I. Bride”, in Partick Station still going strong?
  • Speaking of other statues that have been removed, Robert Burns used to occupy a prime spot in George Square but has been absent recently to undergo restoration and cleaning.
  • Unfortunately we found almost zero statues commemorating the achievements of women(!), but we were interested to learn that the person most depicted in statue form (other than religious icons) in the world was Queen Victoria! Mind you, she did get about a bit.

We’ve also been lucky enough to receive a guided tour of Glasgow Museums Resource Centre by    3-D Art (Sculpture and Installation) Conservator, Stephanie de Roemer. She gave us an exclusive look at some of the pieces she was restoring at the moment and a glimpse into the challenges that an international conservator faces. She’s also employed by UNESCO so gets to help protect sculpture from all over the world, including in places of ongoing conflict! It was particularly interesting to discover that Stephanie disapproves of the infamous traffic cone on top of the Duke of Wellington’s head in Royal Exchange Square. Whilst some feel that this semi-permanent addition to the statue is just part of the cheeky “Glesca” patter, she feels it is disrespectful to the historical significance of the piece, as well as to the publicly-funding authority that maintains it.

Something that irked all of us more generally about the sculptural landscape, is the lack of accessible statues. Older statues tended to be mounted on a high plinth and were generally out of reach with the result that those with visual impairments were not able to fully appreciate or enjoy them. We acknowledged that some of the more modern statues were specifically designed to be interacted with and touching was by no means prohibited, yet there had been instances where this accessibility had led to vandalism or even theft (most recently a statue in the Gorbals got its foot sawn off)!

Having cast a critical eye over Glasgow’s existing statues, observing the recurring features and different types, our guides are now starting to think about what they feel is conspicuously absent. Who or what are not represented in these public artworks? Glasgow institution and champion boxer, Benny Lynch, has already had a statue commissioned which will be erected in the Gorbals area sometime in the near future, but if you could commission one statue for 2017, what would you choose? This is the question our guides will be looking to answer in the coming months and will work with a local artist to realise their ideas.


As I See It: Statues is created with support from the Big Lottery Fund. Terra Incognita is working with groups across Glasgow to create new statues of people and events that are currently missing from Glasgow’s landscape. These statues will be unveiled at a special event in June 2017. Watch this space for more information.


Under the Monkey PuzzleAs part of our As I See It project, we’ve been collecting stories from across Glasgow inspired by the Botanic Gardens. This is our final blog sharing these stories with you. This time the stories are from a lovely bunch of folk at Castlemilk Seniors Centre. Thank you once again to everyone who contributed. 



We used to go on the steam train a lot when I was younger. Once, I think we were on our way to Saltcoats because we used to go there a lot, I stuck my head out the window. I was just a girl and I was wearing this bright yellow dress. As I looked out, I was covered in all this black soot. I pulled my head back into the carriage and the soot was all over the yellow dress. I was covered. My mum shouted, “Hands up! Don’t touch it!” And she was right. It fell off the dress on its own and didn’t leave a mark. If I’d have rubbed it off it would have left black marks all over it.


Glasgow Green is the park I’ve spent most time in in Glasgow. I remember fair fortnight when I was younger. They used to have the shows. There was the big wheel, flying chairs, dodgems. You were fleeced with your money but it was good fun!


When I was younger I spent a lot of time in Elder Park. It had a pond there and once a year a boat club would come out and race their yachts on the pond. But my favourite green space is Culzean Castle. We used to spend almost every weekend there between May and September. We’d leave the tent there. The only thing we brought home was our dirty washing. Then we’d go back there the following weekend. The only thing we had to do was move the tent once a month so they could cut the grass. One of us would hold the tent pole on one side and the other would hold it on the other side and we’d pick the tent up and move it a few metres along so they could cut the grass where the tent had been.


We’ve spent the most time in Linn Park and King’s Park. We used to take our kids to Linn Park a lot, and in King’s Park they had the bikes there during the Commonwealth Games. They did it all up and it’s lovely. The parks are in much better condition than they used to be. When we lived in Govan we used to take the Govan ferry to go to Kelvingrove Park. There were these big steps that led down to the ferry. One ferry would be at one side of the Clyde, and one ferry would be at the other side and they’d cross each other as you travelled. It only took ten minutes and it was free.


My favourite thing about Glasgow Green is the mosaic tiling on Templeton Carpet Factory. It’s beautiful. They were the best carpet makers in Victorian times. They were even popular with the Americans – who had the factory make a carpet for the Oval Office.


I remember my dad took us to the old transport museum when I was a child and you were allowed to climb into the old train cars. When I was older I took my kids to the museum but you weren’t allowed on anything, you could only look at it. My son set the alarms off twice trying to get on things. He used to run everywhere. As soon as I heard the alarm go off I thought, ‘Oh no, I bet that’s Kevin.’ The security guard came over to talk to me and I told him I thought it might be best if I took them to Kelvingrove Park instead!

Joe at the monkey puzzle with group

Inspired by our As I See It walking tours of the Botanic Gardens, here are a collection of stories from the Creative Writing group at Visibility.

Thank you to all those who contributed.

A park in Dubai. by Jen Worrall

It was quite warm.  Unlike other parks, it was very clean.  In Dubai, they have a high standard of cleanliness, everything is spotless, and, for example, the toilets are sparkling clean.  It was a children’s   park that we were going through; it was a bit of a short cut.  It was just nice to walk around.

This was about three years ago.  There was also a wee mini train that took you around part of the park.  The train was very small – it was mainly for kids, so we were squashed into our seats.  It’s too hot for flowers, but I could smell the smell of sunshine and food and chips.


Untitled by Amy Henighen

The Sunday before Gary and his family left for Australia, I remember Ava going on the swings and the flying fox, which is like a big roundabout.  It was a happy day but tinged with sadness because they were leaving the next week.

Forres Morayshire  by Jane Chisholm

As I sit here at the top of a green hill.  I look around me and see the turbine wind mills.

I watch them dance round and round, as they supply the power to the folks all around.

Untitled by Isobel Haddow

Glasgow is full of lovely parks.  They were made during the time of the ‘Industrial Revolution’ – so that the workers who worked under hard, terrible conditions after the hard work, they could relax in these lovely green places.

I don’t work know but still I love these parks.  My friend and I often go to the Botanic Gardens after tea and believe me, going there is a joy.  The things you see aren’t just the lovely trees and flowers, it’s the folk who go there – all shapes and sizes, kids, scooting around on their scooters and of course, being Glasgow, everyone speaks to each other.  The chat is something you don’t want to miss!

The Music by Isobel Haddow

The first wee part I heard sounded like big waves crashing on to the shore or buildings.  It sounded exciting.  It reminded me of all the lovely holidays I’ve had.

Now it’s louder, it sounds very dramatic.

It makes me want to get down to the beach and sea.  Wonderful feelings.

It reminds me of when I learned to swim – down at Rothesay and the pier there.

My Aunt Peggy taught me to swim there – right next to the pier but importantly, there’s  something I’ll never forget – my Mother couldn’t afford to buy me a bathing suit so my Aunty Peggy knitted me a costume.

You can imagine, I’m sure, what happened when I tried to get out of the water – yes the swim suit nearly fell off me in the water – and the beach .

Inspired by our recent As I See It walking tours, we have been holding storytelling workshops with a whole range of groups. Artistic Director, Victoria Beesley, tells us about this week’s workshops at Shanti Bhavan and the Fred Paton Day Care Centres.

Kathy at the train station 2

On Wednesday I was collecting stories. I visited two centres that offer day time activities and services to older people – Shanti Bhavan and Fred Paton Day Care Centres. I arrived at there with three things: photographs from our recent As I See It tours of the Botanic Gardens; a recording of tour guide Kathy’s story of travelling to school by steam train; an audio recorder. I left with much more.

I shared the photographs and recording with the groups and told them the story of our walking tour. In return, I was gifted with story after story on a whole range of topics – days spent playing football in Bridgeton Park, experiences as a soldier in the Indian army, growing up on a Highland farm.

Here are three of the many stories I collected. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories with me.

A meeting in Balloch

If you go right up to the top of Balloch Park there’s a castle. It’s beautiful. It’s a lovely walk, right up to Loch Lomond. I used to go there when I was courting. I’m 80 now. I went up there looking for boyfriends. You got all dressed up. I didn’t meet anyone there though. There was a dancehall in Balloch and I went there every Saturday. That was where I met my husband, who came from Glasgow. He was there with a friend. He had a wee car, which was unusual at the time because nobody could afford a car. I didn’t go for him at first, it took a long time, but he won me over in the end!

A glazier for Glasgow

I used to work in all of Glasgow parks. I was a glazier, repairing all the broken glass. It was mostly working on greenhouses and glasshouses, especially at the Botanic Gardens. I was one of seven glaziers. It was a busy job. Glasgow is a big place so you can imagine I covered quite a large area. I didn’t have a favourite park. I liked Maryhill Park because it was nearby where I lived, it was handy. I used to like walking along the canal in Maryhill too – when I was a child I even used to go swimming in it! It was lovely.

India by train

When we were young we used to go with our parents to our mother’s parent’s house on the train. They lived in Kolkata. We always had a nice picnic on the train. People would come in to sell stuff for eating and drinking. It was great fun and we used to sit there and enjoy it. In those days the train wasn’t fast; it took so long. A lot has changed, we’ve grown up, the trains are so fast, and you can even get food included included in your ticket. It’s very refreshing.

Theatre-maker Ishbel McFarlane has been delivering some workshops with groups of young people who came to see the As I See It Botanics tour. She tells us a bit more about last week’s workshops at Toonspeak Young People’s Theatre.

During our three days of workshops at Toonspeak we were focusing on making our own tour, and using that to help us tell stories. Though we were using a similar form to the Botanics tours, our tour could hardly have ended up more different!

We started each day with a physical warm up, to get our blood flowing. After I discovered that the participants were keen dancers and gymnasts, on the second day they led us in a bit of a gymnastics warm up. I’m pretty pleased to say that I managed a cartwheel and didn’t embarrass myself. I think that is a win all round.

Toonspeak Group PicAfter physical warm up, we had to do a brain warm up. Like our muscles, our brains can get pretty stuck in the same old ways and we need to stretch them to keep them supple and imaginative. We used a technique from Keith Johnstone, the famous teacher of improvisation – first we walked round the room pointing to things and saying what they were: chair, window, bag, shoe etc. Then we stopped and walked around again this time pointing at things and naming them things that they aren’t: kitten, bus, jam jar, Playstation etc. It’s amazing how that freed us from thinking about things as they literally were.

I had brought a collection of random objects which I arranged under a sheet (because who doesn’t love a reveal?). I set each of the participants the challenge to take three objects and re-imagine them as something else. Some tinfoil became a snake, a box of hankies became confetti, and a cut up toilet roll tube became Golum’s ears. Together they came up with the idea of doing a pet shop tour, so we got out all the objects and they transformed them into different pets. And thus was born Olivia and Sean’s Pet Shop Parade!

The second day was spent making the Toonspeak studio space into a pet shop, arranging the pets we had around the room and making five more pets from Toonspeak’s amazing collection of craft materials and props. The time sped by and when the taxi beeped to pick up our performers, we were all surprised!

Toonspeak SnowyOn the third day we finished making a safety path on the floor with chalk to keep our audience contained (some of those pets are pretty dangerous!) and we rehearsed until the audience arrived. The performers did a fantastic job introducing us to Tilly the Cat (who looked a bit like a wig), and Penny the Parrot (who resembled a steam inhaler), and the ant hill (which reminded us of tissues and tin foil). Everyone was impressed by how polished the performances were, and everyone had their favourite pet. I think Snowy the Owl Who Looks Like ET might have won over all. The performers worked so hard to make the descriptions interesting, and Olivia and Sean did a great job of staying in character as the two owners of a rather remarkable pet shop that has a bear and giant bee with a poster of the queen (bee). I’m glad I finally worked up the courage to hold Sarah the spider…

Thanks to the excellent performers for a fun few days, and to the staff of Toonspeak for all their help organising it. The Olivia and Sean Pet Shop was a true Terra Incognita – unknown land!