Riverside Solidarity

Baxendale Studio, Glasgow, 2017


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installation at Govan graving docks 

Ben Parry     Download Original

  • installation at Govan graving docks    
  • from within the Gdansk installation    
  • view towards Govan    
  • volunteers help build the project    
  • building the project in Gdansk    
  • view towards the Glasgow Science Centre    
  • Gdansk installation juxtaposed against WW2 museum    
  • within the Govan installation    
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  • dev2    
  • gdansk section 50    
  • sketch    
  • gdansk plan elevation 50    
  • govan plan elevation 50    
  • plans    
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A methodology for creating temporary places of sanctuary within contested ship building communities

This project was the result of a creative residency commissioned by Fablevision. Our work delivered two temporary interventions intended as a tool to analyse, register and document the contested post-industrial condition of the Govan and Gdansk shipyards. The first installation was built on the derelict Govan Graving Docks using 9cm thick rope that we found on the site.

The installation was used as a tool to document how the site is occupied informally by a range of actors; local young people who use the site as an informal playground, photographers and a refugee integration group. All these groups assisted us in the building of the structure in a variety of ways.

The finished piece provided two unique places to sit and engage with the landscape; one seat facing symbols of Govan's past and one seat facing symbols of Govan's future. After completion of the artefact we continued to engage with the young people who had assisted and then adopted the structure. They revealed that having exhausted their interest in the structure that they would set fire to it. This seemed to be an appropriate way to terminate this stage of the project and agreed that the decision was theirs to make.

The opportunity to make a parallel project in Gdansk allowed us to test this mode of architecture as a tool for registering a place and researching its condition. Over four days in Gdansk, we recreated the form and method of the intervention delivered in Govan; identifying old shipping rope in the possession of an artist collective that occupied a former bakery within the shipyards. We then worked collaboratively to create a place of shelter and enclosure that referenced the three current modes of re-occupation of post-industrial space in Gdansk; artists occupation of vacant property, the state sponsored construction of large cultural institutions and the development of new private housing for profit.

This work utilises very simple methodologies of construction, timber frames constructed in-situ and then then wrapped with found rope attached secured with cable ties.


  • Begun: Apr 2017
  • Completed: Aug 2017
  • Floor area: 12m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £1,800
  • Funding: Funded through Creative Scotland
  • Procurement: n/a
  • Address: 18 Clydebrae Street, Govan, Glasgow, G51 2LS, United Kingdom

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