I spent yesterday in Glasgow, meeting people, generating discussion around Discovering the Clyde, and giving one half of a sell-out talk at Glasgow City Heritage Trust.
The day began at the Hunterian Art Gallery, enjoying the Duncan Shanks exhibition.
Shanks, a former lecturer at Glasgow School of Art, has lived and sketched in the Clyde valley for nearly fifty years. He has gifted his collection of over a hundred sketch books to the University of Glasgow and thirty of them are on display in this exhibition. It was fascinating to see his artistic response to landscapes which we have been considering in terms of their historic environment significance. In a quick look round the rest of the gallery I saw one other artwork, a painting of Port Glasgow Harbour, which was set on the Clyde.
Two strands of thought came to mind from this visit. Firstly, that it would enrich our understanding of historic sites on the Clyde if we could see them through the eyes of artists past and present, not to mention poets, prose writers and other creative artists. Secondly, for the pre-photographic age in particular, painting and drawings are our best hope of seeing what places along the Clyde looked like in the past. We would love to hear from anyone who is, or has been, involved in artistic projects with an element of the historic environment of the Clyde or its tributaries.
Moving on from the Hunterian, my first meeting of the day was with Dr Stuart Jeffrey, Research Fellow in International Heritage Visualisation at the Digital Design Studio of the Glasgow School of Art. We talked about a number of ways in which Discovering the Clyde and the Digital Design Studio might be able to collaborate on projects. Stuart said that I could quote him as ‘excited’ at the possibilities.
My second meeting was with Dr Chris Dalglish, an archaeology lecturer at the University of Glasgow. Talking with Chris it became clear that many different academic disciplines within the University are carrying out research at, and about, locations in the Clyde river system. We are going to work together to set up a number of sessions bringing these people with a view to see who we can work with in partnership, enriching each other’s work.
My final stop was at Glasgow City Heritage Trust. I was the second half of the evening’s lecture programme. My colleagues from the wonderful Scotland’s Urban Past informed and enthused the audience about their project, and then I spoke about Discovering the Clyde. A number of useful avenues for research were suggested, and at least one project is likely to come out of it.
All-in-all a very productive day!