The Govan Club & The Govan Gdansk Exchange

Guest-post by Liz Gardiner; Cultural Planning Practice, Director of Fablevision and The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative

‘From my perspective, there is a missing role in Govan that Andrew McAvoy has discovered was fulfilled in the 20th Century by “The Old Govan Club” – i.e. as cultural planners – to keep a watchful eye on planning and progress, to ensure sensitivity and respect for existing resources, people, projects and heritage (tangible and intangible)… A “ginger group” rather than pressure group… employing creative, quirky, celebratory, research oriented tactics underpinned by derp thinking and research that support and nudge rather than lobby and use combative styles.

I think it’s clear that this role is an essential one… we were building that grouping during the @Water Row period… we took our eye off the ball last year and we lost the cranes.

There are different views around the how we might develop this grouping and the need to find a new way to engage with existing 3rd sector organisations/discover consensus.

I think we need more people and we need people who are up for consultation and engagement. Research based work involving international comparators gives a different context: raising the sight lines to a more objective, comparative analysis where we recognise ourselves in the eyes of others and celebrate the opportunity to share approaches to similar occurring problems. Perhaps the Govan Gdansk exchange can therefore be a catalyst for thinking about these issues newly…, gathering a grouping together to work in a sustainable way with a recognisable process. We need to be strategic about who we approach to join but through the research based initiative of the Govan Gdansk project followed by potential others (Challenging Elites, the 3G’s etc), there is the potential to establish a group in Govan that can voice feedback from thoughtful, research based working practice – looking carefully at planning decisions that are being made in and around Govan with an eye towards preventing things like the loss of the cranes.  We could be a grouping of folks who are casting a watchful eye, thinking about place making and involving the relevant bodies (e.g. CGAP, Council, Community Council, Planning, and other Govan based organisations).

When we come back from Gdansk,  those of us who are willing/able to devote some time, could go round the different groupings and report back on what’s happened: flagging up the emergence of this group at those meetings – inviting folks to join from each session that we report to.

The group will probably self select in the end… as groups tend to do,  but going through a process like this would give it a mandate.

This is the aspiration and ambition with which I intend to travel to Gdansk
I want to keep an open heart and mind, but my intention is to make links and partnerships in the areas where I feel there is the potential to develop actual collaborative projects (public art interventions, festival collaborations with the Govan Fair and research/conference/symposia).

I’m sure everyone will have other ideas and there will be room for all of them and more!!

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