With the support of Uninstal, as part of a two day exploration of critical urban praxis with radical sound art collective Ultra-Red, The Strickland Distribution are hosting a public walk on Sunday 9th May. The walk is intended as a means to investigate contemporary urban dispossession as a consequence of gentrification in light of historical forms of primitive accumulation in the city. Led by independent writer and researcher Neil Gray, in collaboration with a range of activists and artists and housing and community groups, the walk will take a digressive route through George Square, the branded ‘Merchant City’, Glasgow Green, and the Barras Market. In a form of live critical praxis, the walk will aim to illuminate such shadowed areas as the ‘Cancer of Empire’ and the dead hand of Victoriana; the secret of primitive accumulation, past and present; ‘the Selfridges effect’ and the rent-gap; the ‘arts-led property strategy’ and affective labour; slums, tower blocks and penthouses, and the continuing crisis in housing; and the neoliberal pulverisation and commodification of social spaces.
The title of the walk refers to ‘Shadow’ and his ‘Midnight scenes and social photographs’, a paternalist Victorian account of Glasgow slums written in 1858. In the Shadow of Shadow, we propose instead an investigative ‘history from below’; a critical exploration of gentrification set in the historical contexts of the ‘second city of Empire’ and contemporary city-building. While Victorian paternalists like Shadow promoted top-down, moralistic solutions to mitigate the problems of the urban poor, we know that social change only ever comes with broad-based organising from below. Participating groups such as the Scottish Tenants Organisation, Glasgow Games Monitor 2014, and the Glasgow Residents Network are already active in Glasgow, and this walk aims to provide the means for critical self-reflection and collaborative exchange, as well as instigating and sustaining wider solidarity and activity between anti-gentrification researchers, activists, community groups, planners and artists in Glasgow. We welcome all those with an interest in this project.
Please note that the walk will be audio recorded by Ultra-Red. Recordings from the event will then be used the following Sunday 16th May in sound workshops that explore the issues raised on the walk and the possibilities for new and ongoing forms of organisation and resistance to gentrification in Glasgow.
Day 1: Sunday 9th May. Meet 1pm at Queen Victoria statue (with horse) George Square.
A public walk from George Square to the Barras market, bringing in contributions from researchers, activists and artists in a form of live critical praxis (time: 1-4pm approx.).
Followed by a screening from Document’s archive of ‘Drumchapel – The Frustration Game’ (20 mins, de-classed elements, 1989) and discussion (time: 4-7pm approx.) in Laurie’s Bar, 34-36 King Street, Glasgow, G1 5QT Map: http://tinyurl.com/34v9n8z
Day 2: Sunday 16th May, 1-5pm, Kinning Park Complex, 40 Cornwall Street, Glasgow, G41 1AQ Map: http://tinyurl.com/32x7y2h
A practical sound workshop with Ultra-Red bringing together walk participants to discuss the issues raised during the walk. The aim of these workshops is to facilitate a deeper understanding of gentrification, and to instigate and sustain wider solidarity and activity between anti-gentrification researchers, activists, community groups and artists in Glasgow.
Neil Gray (writer and researcher)
Leigh French (co-editor, Variant magazine)
Simon Yuill (artist and writer)
Libby Porter (University of Glasgow, Department of Urban Studies; Planners Network UK)
John Cousins (radical researcher and historian)
The Strickland Distribution: http://www.strickdistro.org
Document – International Documentary Film Festival : http://www.docfilmfest.org.uk
Scottish Tenants Organisation: http://www.scottishtenants.org.uk/about_us.htm
Glasgow Games Monitor 2014: http://gamesmonitor2014.wordpress.com
Glasgow Residents Network: http://glasgowresidents.wordpress.com
The Burgh Angel: http://burghangel.wordpress.com
East End Eye: http://gamesmonitor2014.wordpress.com/east-end-eye-paper/
South Side Crane: http://southsidecrane.wordpress.com/category/events/
Some background research by Neil Gray from Variant magazine:
‘Constructing Neoliberal Glasgow: The Privatisation of Space’
‘The Clyde Gateway: A New Urban Frontier?’
‘Glasgow’s Merchant City: An Artist-Led Property Strategy’
‘The Tyranny of Rent’