Woven in Govan: Deirdre Nelson

The latest artist to join the Woven Network project for the Woven in Govan is Deirdre Nelson, an Irish artist/designer based in Glasgow, who uses the medium of textiles to explore humour, place and social history. In her first action as part of the project, Nelson asks us to consider what we understand by the word ‘care’.

She partners traditional techniques with contemporary processes such as digital print in creating work not only to be exhibited but on artist residencies, within education and community projects. Resulting works cross over art, design and craft. Deirdre enables the communities she works with to explore social and environmental issues through making. She also works to commission for arts and healthcare organisations. Collaborating with creatives such as architects, musicians and writers allows her to create and produce diverse projects.

Deirdre studied textiles at Glasgow School of Art 1992 and a M.Philosophy in 1996. She has exhibited internationally and nationally and undertaken residencies both in the UK and Australia, including: including: The Kildas, Glasgow School of Art+touring 2016; Designed with Heart, St Etienne Design Bienalle 2019; Between the Kine, Harbourfront Arts Centre, Toronto, Canada, 2013; White, La Porte Peinte Centre Pour Les Artes, Noyers sur Serein, Burgundy, France.

Commissions include: Orchard View continuing care facility 2016; Edinburgh Royal infirmary 2009; Residencies include: Walthamstow Wetlands 2017/8; Textilsetur Islands, Iceland 2018; Caterans CommonAlyth, Scotland 2017; Platform Arts, Easterhouse, Glasgow 2016.

Woven in Govan: Audrey O’Brien

Audrey O’Brien – an Irish-born artist based in Glasgow, who works across photography, collage, sculpture, and curated events through a socially engaged practice – is the latest artist to join in the Woven in Govan part of the Woven Network project.

A background of employment in social care heavily informed her work in Arts and Health, Arts and Disability, and pedology. With both playfulness and seriousness having equal parts in her practice she is influenced by the Dada art movement. Her long-standing passion for this cultural and political art led to researching unfamiliar artists from this period and developing both collaborative and educational programme for community and school contexts. Creating interactive art works and focusing on the senses is essential to her creative exploration. Through working with diverse groups which as residents in supported housing to forest rangers and scientists she is a firm believer in collaborative production and democratising creative activity.

Recent projects include co-creating a self-led guide for Seven Lochs Wetland Park and collaborating with composer Sonia Allori with Sonic Bothy. She contributed to the School for Civic Imagination CCA Glasgow, a structured programme addressing socially engaged research and practices.

Woven in Govan: Alex Wilde

Alex Wilde visual artist who is interested in spaces for social and cultural exchange, particularly those which facilitate the growth of community and community activism. Much if this has focused on temporary and permanent community gardens, cafes and places for play. She sets out to animate existing connections and relationships and create new ones through collaborative projects with communities, using different tools, props and sets each time.

Ailie and Alex will share their Woven in Govan commission (as part of the Woven Network project).They have collaborated previously on the Creative Communities residency with Glasgow City Council (2019) and Manifesto for A Feminist Economy for Festival of New Economic Thinking and Kinning Park Complex (2018) and Swap Market exchange space (2018 – 2019). Both artists use their practice to critique our economic and political systems and imagine new inclusive futures, and each has 20 years’ experience in social and collaborative arts practice.

Woven in Govan: Ailie Rutherford

Woven in Govan is part of the European artist collaboration, Woven Network, with Intercult (Sweden) & PlatformTU (Ukraine). Fablevision is really excited to be a part of it and the first artist will be Ailie Rutherford.

Ailie is a pioneering visual artist and agitator. For over twenty years she has been collaborating and inviting people to become co-producers of work, activate public space and collectively imagine productive alternatives to the way we live. Her work explores the relationship between community activism and creative practice, deliberately provoking and asking difficult questions in order to propose new models for living and working together.

Initiated by Ailie in 2015, and now collectively run, The People’s Bank of Govanhill is a long-term social artwork and feminist community currency project in Glasgow. In 2019 Ailie also co-developed String Figures, a new collaborative software that allows activist, feminist and creative groups working for social justice to support and strengthen each other’s work through de-centralised open-source networks centred on a principle of mutual care.

Memory of Water EU Reviewed

Memory of Water EU was a six-city (Gdansk, Gothenburg-Stockholm, Govan, Levadia, Limerick, Ostend) Creative Europe-funded project which set out to answer the question: What’s next for post-industrial waterfront heritage zones in Europe?

Our lead partner was Intercult, Sweden, and we had a range of NGOs, social enterprises and public sector organisations in the partnership mix. Fablevision was the Scottish partner with t s Beall, the social engaged lead artist responsible for delivering residency programmes in Levadia, Gdansk and Govan. From Ostend, Belgium, the city council arts department nominated street artist, Siegfried Vynck. Levadia, Greece, another local authority partner, nominated performance artist Ira Brami, whilst our partner in Limerick, Ireland, was a visual arts organisation, Ormston House, with visual artist, Mary Conroy. Gdansk, represented by Nadbałtyckie Centrum Kultury, introduced visual artist, Iwona Zając, whilst Intercult contributed film director, Jonas Mystrand.

Being involved has been a massive capacity building process for Fablevision in many ways: our profile and social media presence has been boosted exponentially; our project collaboration in Govan with activists, artists, architects, politicians and planners has first of all stopped the building of 750 high rise flats on Govan’s iconic, A-listed Graving Docks, then supported the developer to change plans and prioritise heritage, industry, tourism and recreation. Finally, by December 2020, we learned that Glasgow City Council has removed the Victorian dry docks site from the housing register so it is no longer zoned for housing. There is no doubt that without international benchmarking (in particular with the historic shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, whose iconic cranes were given protected status, and which, as of December 2020, is well on the way to having the whole shipyard area designated with UNESCO World Heritage site status) partnership with artists and academics, urban lab discussions, and the high profile residencies themselves, none of this would have happened.

An unexpected aspect of the learning and development for Fablevision was the arrival of Covid-19 which could have scuppered the whole project but in fact allowed us to invent whole new methods for delivering participatory artist residencies remotely that involved local people, community organisations and Govan-based artists in the delivery! Substantive research and relationship building gained during the first residency in 2019 coupled with the close, trusting relationships of partners and the expertise, professionalism and dedication of the artists involved, transformed disaster into opportunity and delivered output of exceptional quality.

The benefits are almost too numerous to list but leverage of match funding; the ability to remain within the European project at a time when Brexit is dragging us out; legacy developments like new East European project partners from Georgia and Ukraine and new projects like Woven Network are a few highlights. 

We are very sad that we have been unable to be a lead partner on Memory of Water EU and are now reduced to third country status going forward but we hope this will be temporary and we are determined to continue working with current partners as well as forging new ones.

As the two year journey now draws to a close, you can catch up on some of the amazing dialogues and digital exhibitions of the artists’ work via the following links:

Memory of Water EU – Webinars, Podcasts, Labs, Posts

Memory of Water EU – Artists’ Biographies

Memory of Water EU – YouTube Channel

Memory of Water EU – Facebook

Discover – Create – Share – Enjoy – Protect

Lia Ghilardi, Franco Bianchini and François Matarasso, cultural planners, took to Facebook to discuss the proposition which lay at the heart of the Memory of Water EU project: What’s the future of waterfront heritage zones in the post-industrial cities of Europe?

The discussion, which is facilitated by Liz Gardiner of Fablevision and Iwona Preis of Intercult with contributions from Professor Katarzyna Kosmala, Agnieszka Wolodzko and Roman Sebastyanski, focuses on three strands:

  • The myth and reality of regeneration (Bianchini)
  • The unique DNA or essence of place and how that can be used to shape the future (Ghilardi)
  • The “five capabilities” as laid out in the 2020 Rome Charter, without which the right to participate in the cultural life of the community cannot be exercised (Matarasso)

Full digital content of the Memory of Water EU project, which prefaced this particular discussion on post-industrial regeneration, can been viewed via the following links:

Memory of Water EU – Webinars, Podcasts, Labs, Posts

Memory of Water EU – Artists’ Biographies

Memory of Water EU – YouTube Channel

Memory of Water EU – Facebook

Glasgow Artists Sought for Govan-based European Project

Fablevision wants to hear from artists for community/socially engaged work on micro-commissions based in Govan. The project, which is funded by Creative Scotland and Nordic Cultural Fund, will involve three artists working on a Fablevision micro-commissions based in Govan. These commissions will form part of Fablevision’s contribution to the Woven Network / Women’s Stories – an artist-lead account of the role played by women during the Covid19 crisis.

For more information please see attached link with details on how and to whom you should apply…

An Opera to the Unsung

Join the curators – Fablevision’s Liz Gardiner (Scotland), Mariupol Platform TU’s, Diana Berg (Ukraine) and Intercult’s Iwona Preis (Sweden) – in an “armchair chat” to discuss the Woven Network.

As this historic year of global pandemic draws to a close, the three partners, who have provided enabling services (leaving our female artists free to explore their creative practices), will kick off their shoes and put their feet up to reflect on what has been achieved. Under discussion will be how the Woven Network had provided the world with historic documentation by way of women’s feelings, reactions and reflections on what this year had done to us as individuals and how it has impacted on our NGOs, cities and countries. The project aims to make the invisible visible by focusing on the role art has played in heralding the work of female workers in this crisis. It is an opera for the unsung.

The Ukraine had led on this particular cultural project but the involvement of Scotland the Nordic countries in it bodes well for future collaboration.

The Woven Network is supported by the European Union via the House of Europe programme. At the Scottish end of this project, Fablevision is being funded by Creative Scotland.

Don’t forget to tune into the live chat next Friday, 11th December, 2020 at 12:00 GMT on Facebook.

Awakening The River

The film entitled, “Awakening The River”, is a collaboration between Fablevision, who co-ordinated the project, STAGE (Scottish Talent Across Generations Events), and the Greek Memory of Water EU artist, Ira Brami.

Directed and produced by Helen Kyle, the film provides a narrative of poems, music and photographs to evoke something of the essence of the river which has played such an important part in Govan and Glasgow’s history. Contributors include: “The Greatest Iron Ship” by Danny Kyle; “Clota, Goddess of the Clyde” performed by Louise Oliver; “Fear” by Kahlil Gibran (translated and performed by Michael Dempster) and “Braw Sailing on the Sea” by the Iona Fyfe Trio.

Remembering the Clyde Puffer

The Covid19 crisis has had far-reaching implications for all aspects of life and the arts are no exception. Fablevision’s sister organisation, Fablevision Studios, was in Govan to video and photograph the installation of Belgian artist Siegfried Vynck’s Clyde Puffer mural. Originally, the project – part of Memory of Water EU – envisaged Vynck working with local volunteers on his vision of this particular aspect of Govan’s industrial heritage and culture. The Clyde Puffer – like its equine counterpart the Clydesdale horse – was the workhorse of the River Clyde.

Hamish Rhodes, Ines Cavaco and Fiona Fleming worked with local volunteer, Rory Kyle, on interpreting Vynck’s vision on the gable end of Quickshift Tyre Services on the corner of Clydebrae and Stag Street.

Marking Govan’s Stones

Fablevision and sister social enterprise, Fablevision Studios, were in Govan on 15th October, 2020, to shoot video and photograph at the start of Memory of Water EU’s engagement and collaboration with Govan Stones Trust.

Limerick-based artist, Mary Conroy, operating within the constraints imposed by Covid19, sent over stencils depicting the Govan Stones for use on the Old Govan Walkway, the riverside ambulatory which runs from the site of the Govan ferry along the river behind Old Govan Church. The stencils are designed to mark the cultural heritage of Govan, in particular, the extraordinary legacy of the hogback tombstones which are some of the finest funereal relics in existence.

The photographs feature Bren MacNeil (who produced the photograph of the featured image), a volunteer with Govan Stones, and Ines Cavaco and Hamish Rhodes, who are engaged on the Memory of Water EU project with Fablevision and Fablevision Studios.

Glasgow Press will create letter press prints of her artwork to be gifted to Govan Stones and sold to help to fund the activities, as well as other merchandise. She has gifted six drawings to the Govan Stones Trust so that they can continue to carry on the collaboration.

Look! Made in Govan

Fablevision’s sister organisation, social enterprise Fablevision Studios, was recently at Govan’s Graving Docks to photograph and video Iwona Zajac’s installation, “Look!”, which was designed in collaboration with Eugenia Tynna and Fairfield Govan for the Covid19-hit Memory of Water EU project. The strictures on movement imposed by Covid19 has meant that artists, Hamish Rhodes, Beatrice Searle and Ines Cavaco, had to stand in for Iwona Zajac to bring this particular element to fruition.

Fablevision is among seven cultural organisations from seven European cities working together on the Memory of Water project: Batumi, Gdansk, Gothenburg, Govan, Levadia, Limerick and Ostend.

“Look!” encourages us to explore the meaning of place and belonging in cultural heritage. “Born in Govan” and “Made in Shipyards” pays tribute to the largely voiceless people and communities who played such an important role in making the Clyde a byword for excellence in marine engineering. “Clydebuilt” wasn’t just a marketing slogan, it was a leitmotif for quality.

Govan Fair

Fablevision has worked collaboratively with the Govan Fair Association in various ways over several decades. For the first time, however, three projects have come together (Fair Glasgow, We are Listening and the Old Govan Fair – A Festival for the Future) to allow real focus on a rejuvinated Fair in 2014 and a programme of development  work with the committee until at least the end of the year.

Having supported the Govan Fair Association committee to access funding from Awards for All (2013) and the Celebrate Fund (2014), Fablevision has been able, for the first time, to deliver focussed support and commitment to the trustees of the Fair (local volunteers who have held the space for decades). This herculean team effort has paid off and we are delighted to report that for the first time in almost a decade, the funfair returned to Elder Park for the 2014 Govan Fair (6th and 7th June 2014). 

Fablevision supports the Govan Fair Association to re-invent the ancient Govan Fair as a Festival for the Future.

Since Early 2013, this has happened in different ways:

The Heritage Lottery Funded Fair Glasgow Project allowed us to explore the intangible history and heritage of Showfolks nationally.

A partnership with Police Scotland called We Are Listening allowed us to work with representatives of the Police locally and nationally to develop new creative partnership policing methodologies. The Govan Fair, with its historic issues of anti-social behaviour and gang warfare in Elder Park, was the obvious choice as a trial ground for new approaches.

For more information on We Are Listening, see here: http://wearelistening.org.uk/

Visit www.govanfair.wordpress.org for more information.

See here for some film footage of the Govan Fair 2014 made for the Govan Fair Association by Fablevision Studios:

See here for the schools outreach project delivered for the Govan Fair by Fablevision volunteers.

Some coverage from STV here: