Govan (Gdansk): Heritage, Regeneration & Alternative Futures Prof Katarzyna Kosmala (UWS), Liz Gardiner (Fablevision/UWS), Graham Jeffery (UWS), Lee Ivett (Baxendale), Iain McGillivray (CDPI), Krisztina Lackoi (NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde).

This page outlines the resources for the workshop and site visits held as part of the Participatory Action Research in the Field course (26th April 2018 in Govan Film City and on site, through the School of Media, Culture and Society at the University of the West of Scotland as part of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences and Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities interdisciplinary doctoral student training programme).

In this day workshop, we will introduce participants to the work that the team has been doing between the two waterfront industrial heritage zones of Govan in Glasgow and Gdansk, Poland. This action research project has been running for nearly a decade, and has its origins in a PhD research project at UWS undertaken by Roman Sebastyanski, exploring the role of artists in preserving and protecting the heritage of the Gdansk shipyard, Poland. It soon became apparent to his supervisors, Prof Katarzyna Kosmala and Graham Jeffery, that there could be significant value in establishing an exchange between artists, researchers, activists, planners and communities surrounding both shipyard sites and a series of projects and interventions have been developed over the last seven years which engage with the two places. Working with a range of artists, activists and social enterprises, in particular through the facilitation of Liz Gardiner of Fablevision in Glasgow, and Roman Sebastyanski in Gdansk, the ‘Govan-Gdansk’ knowledge exchanges initiative has been subsequently developed into an international research network Regeneration and Waterfront Heritage Zones in Northern Europe that delivered a range of workshops, events, exhibitions, seminars and public interventions, in collaboration with many different ‘stakeholders’ – including Glasgow Museums, NHSGGC and Fairfield.

Today we will mainly focus on Govan’s riverside, which is in the midst of significant change. We will travel from Film City Glasgow on the edge of the Pacific Quay ‘digital media quarter’ to the east, via the Graving Docks heritage site, currently subject to a highly contested housing planning application, to Water Row opposite the Riverside Museum, to Glasgow’s new ‘mega-hospital’ to the west to see the current exhibition Riverside Solidarity. Along the way we will uncover and examine a number of artistic and cultural interventions that have been intended to influence the debate about the future of Govan as a place to live, work and visit. These changes are taking place in the context of Glasgow’s ‘competitive city branding’ strategy with major events, creative industries, and cultural participation given prominence in official regeneration narratives; Govan’s heritage of medieval kings, shipbuilding, dissent, colonial/imperial connections, and football is often invoked as part of the official ‘Glasgow story’. Despite this celebratory (and occasionally mythological) narrative, much research continues on social determinants of ill-health, sectarianism and other forms of division and exclusion; and many sections of the city, including Govan, experience persistent poverty, under-employment and low life-expectancy. The site is a highly contested, fluid, difficult and complex set of spaces, with multiple layers of history, heritage, narrative and economic activity to contend with.

There is a considerable body of research on Govan’s third sector, legacies of philanthropic Victorian capitalism (e.g. the Pearce Institute) and ‘municipal socialism’ in the heritage-led story of Govan, expressed through institutions such as the Govan Fair and Govan’s status as an iconic political site, with political struggles played out from the rent strikes of the early 20th Century, through Jimmy Reid and the Upper Clyde Shipworkers to the political rise of Nicola Sturgeon; all these narratives persist alongside continued, multi-layered and complex interconnections between organisations, strategies and the local authority, what Amin (2002) has critiqued as the ‘corporate social economy’.

By the end of the day, we hope to have introduced participants to:

In-depth exploration of site using ‘live methods’, including walking, live encounter with place, and direct engagement with different sites

• Some practical, ethical and logistical dilemmas of delivering live work in place

• Exploring different modes of participatory action research, with a focus on arts-based methods – performative, visual, auditory, generative, curatorial

The site visit takes in cultural sights of Govan and presents an opportunity to view some of the sites discussed in the morning sessions in context, as well as discuss further some of the issues and opportunities for using PAR in the field.

The site visit to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital will allow viewing of the Riverside Solidarity exhibition, with further opportunities for discussion.

Discussion questions:

  • What is the role of the experiential, the sensory and collaborative in PAR approaches?
  • How can arts-based methods contribute to generating community-based knowledge? What are the risks and benefits of such approaches?
  • Is it possible to conduct this kind of work without prior knowledge of the place/site? How can researchers manage the tensions between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ knowledge of place?
  • What are the challenges and tensions of sustaining these approaches beyond the single ‘project’ or programme – how do you build the long-term relationships central to this kind of work?
  • The politics and the practicalities of ‘partnership’ – developing ethical and sustainable approaches to researcher-community engagement?
  • What is the role of curator and curatorial practice in PAR approaches?
Gdansk Shipyard

PAR in practice - Govan Docks and the Riverside Solidarity project: Liz Gardiner (UWS) and Iain McGillivray (Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative) (click on first slide to view as slideshow)

Govan Docks and the Riverside Solidarity project: Liz Gardiner (UWS) and Iain McGillivray (Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative)- Slides

PAR, Role of Arts and Exhibition curation: Professor Katarzyna Kosmala (click on first slide to view as slideshow)

PAR, Role of Arts and Exhibition curation: Professor Katarzyna Kosmala- slides

Research/practice interventions: Lee Ivett (Baxendale) (click on first slide to view as slideshow)

Research/practice interventions: Lee Ivett (Baxendale)- slides

Where now for Post industrial waterfront heritage zones of our ship building cities? (click on first slide to view as slideshow)

Where now for Post industrial waterfront heritage zones of our ship building cities?- slides

Participatory creative practice: Insights from Regeneration and Waterfront Heritage Zones in Northern Europe- Professor Katarzyna Kosmala (UWS) (click on first slide to view as slideshow)

Suggested Readings:

Further Web links and resources:

Speaker biographies:

Liz Gardiner

Liz Gardiner is PhD candidate at the School of Media, Culture and Society at the University of the West of Scotland, an artist, teacher and free-lance consultant, specialising in cultural planning. The subject of her PhD is an exploration of what’s next for European post-industrial waterfront heritage zones with a focus on the Govan Graving Docks. Participatory Action Research is being delivered in partnership with the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative and Govan Docks Regeneration Trust. As executive director of Fablevision, she develops and delivers case study examples in practice often in partnership with other third sector organisations, community development trusts or local authorities. Current examples include Centipede in Muirhouse, Creative Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Witch Hunt1697 and the Tapestry of Renfrewshire.

Graham Jeffery is Reader in Music & Performance in the School of Media, Culture & Society at the University of the West of Scotland. His work spans spans participatory and community arts practices, creative pedagogies, cultural policy and urban and community development.

Professor Katarzyna Kosmala is Chair in Media, Culture and Visual Practice in the School of Media, Culture & Society at the University of the West of Scotland, an art writer and curator. Her main research specialisms include heritage and participation, art production and enterprise, as well as gender and politics of representation. She chaired conference sessions and spoke at invited panels on these subjects at international conferences such as the Association of Critical Heritage Studies Biennial Conference; Gender Work and Organization, Arts in Society; and Habitat III the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development.

Iain McGillivray - Having an academic background in applied chemistry, Iain is a Freelance photographer, Executive Director of the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative and Project Director of the Govan Docks Regeneration Trust which is concerned with protection of Govan's historic graving docks. Through CDPI and more recently the Govan Docks Regeneration Trust he has coordinated a campaign since 2014 to challenge a major housing development on the docks.

Lee Ivett is an architect, designer and founding director of Baxendale Studio. His work attempts to use creative interventions to engage people and places in useful and transformative ways

Krisztina Lackoi is Health Improvement Practitioner: Exhibitions and Performing Arts Events Coordinator at NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGGC). She has over 15 years’ experience facilitating collaborative projects between museums, libraries and academia. Before joining NHSGGC, she worked for 5 years with the university collections at University College London involving object-based learning and collections-based research. Most recently she ran the National Alliance for Museums, Health & Wellbeing, a national consortium which mapped best practice in the field of museums and wellbeing across the UK.

Created By
Alison McCandlish


Photos by Alison McCandlish

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