a city on the edge

by Catriona Duffy from Panel

hello

Throughout March and April the Arches has invited me to contribute some thoughts, to describe my response to the Behaviour Festival and its place within our city – its streets, shops, parks and museums.

I run a company called Panel with Lucy McEachan. We organise projects and exhibitions about design that find new contexts beyond the gallery, utilising a variety of space across Glasgow.

Lucy and I both came to Glasgow from Edinburgh to study and have been here ever since. We liked the possibilities afforded by being in a bigger city, one that was elementally foreign to the staid rationality of our hometown. Glasgow’s sprawling mish-mash of architectural modes, its industrial and political legacy and its dynamic social life seemed, to us, to be reflected in its commitment to a cultural democracy and diversity that has been flourishing in recent years.

Glasgow is a city with multiple perspectives: A transatlantic trading port; a post-war, new town suburb; a north western European city with eastern European socialist leanings; the ‘workshop of the world’…well until global capitalism and then conservative individualism forced its regeneration in the latter half of the twentieth century. It is a city-state with a split personality, and between its dividing territories we can cross and re-cross.

In the coming weeks Behaviour will animate and activate its own selection of spaces within Glasgow’s public sphere. Performances sensitive to their location have already begun, others will use the high streets and shops (and their rapidly changing facades and fronts) as anonymous backdrops – conversely bringing them into focus – where the temporal nature of the work will allow fresh perspectives to be brought to seemingly homogenous places again and again.

Behaviour’s emergence from the Arches building is carefully balanced with the scope and emphasis of its programme – a programme which engenders a sense of community, with room to grow, throughout the duration of the festivals eight weeks. Civic venues and spaces, meeting places, parkland and the public realm are integrated into the very nature of its events. It is a festival that seems bound by its place and its people, a collection of activities that can be distilled into one over-arching idea: The celebration of Glasgow’s bold and sophisticated cultural standing.

By stepping out of its institutional confines, Behaviour will create new types of exchange with audiences – audiences comprised of the casually curious as well as those with established connections to the Arches. It can offer multiple perspectives of and for contributing artists and audiences and propose multiple narratives of and for our city.

Through this blog I hope to collect, borrow and share some of these to tell a kind of story about Glasgow, and how we create within it, now.

First, here is a video clip of a film about Glasgow as it was then, as it grew into how we know it now.

C

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