This was my first visit to Govan and the River Clyde and it was an eye opener for me in many ways. I had just visited Edinburgh and in contrast Govan seemed poor and under-resourced. We heard dark stories of the dangerous river with underwater currents, suicides and poisoned waters. It was not a friendly way to look upon the river, even many buildings didn’t have windows toward the water. We learned that the city had a difficult time after the shipyard industry declined. It never really recovered from that.
But it felt very hopeful for the future. We explored the river by bike, on foot and even by row-boat and canoe. Dr. Alan Lesley and Ingrid Shearer shared the fascinating history and geography of the river when we visited the Clydesdale Rowing Club. We met many innovative organisations and people supporting local crafts people and cultural operators as well as social enterprises. We met the team at the Kinning Park Complex, a truly unique and pioneering organisation for the local community. There, I screened my first film from Levadia in Greece for everybody for the first time.
The Urban Lab was really inspiring with lots of examples of projects, events, and cultural heritage research that are flourishing there. It really sparked ideas and gave us deeper, insightful perspectives to develop ideas. We were also invited to the astonishing City Chambers in Glasgow for a civic reception where we met the Lord Provost – she was Swedish too! The building was constructed by slaves back when the port was an important trading route for goods and slaves.
The artists met regularly at the welcoming home of community activist Helen Kyle, and on the first night Liz Gardiner invited us to try the traditional Scottish Haggis – unforgettable! We also took part in ts Beall’s performative walk: The Strong Women of the Clydeside. The Fairfield Heritage Museum had a huge impact on me as it resonated with the history of the Gothenburg Shipyard and I plan to go deeper into archival research for my next visit.
The weather was exactly as I expected… our first gift was a umbrella! The shipyard area, the Govan Dry Docks, the River Clyde and Doomster Hill were very inspiring and I would like to explore the possibility of an Augmented Reality (AR) experience. Thanks to Liz, Hamish, Tara and everyone we met in Govan, I’m looking forward to the next time in Govan!