Born in Govan

Our Scottish partner at Fablevision is delivering a series of remote residencies, transnational collaborations and artistic interventions throughout the COVID-19 restrictions for our Creative Europe Memory of Water project. Last year, the project artists undertook a research residency in Govan, immersing themselves in local life meeting with artists, activists, community organisations and heritage experts. Curated by Inês Cavaco and Hamish Rhodes, six projects are unfolding along the River Clyde and in five European partner cities over the next month.

From Gdańsk in Poland, Iwona Zając has been researching heritage archives and testimonials from former shipyard workers in Govan. She has selected memorable quotes from the shipyard workers to install at the historic Govan Dry Docks, using typography inspired by Upper Clyde Shipbuilders posters at Fairfield Heritage Museum. She worked with Polish artist, Eugenia Tynna, to create stencils that were sent to Govan and painted on location by Scottish artist, Beatrice Searle.

From Ostend in Belgium, Siegfried Vynck has designed a mural of a Clyde Tugboat. The tugboat was once a familiar sight on the river and evokes a time when the shipbuilding industry was at its height. The prominent location of the mural is particularly significant as it is one of the historical centres of shipbuilding in Scotland. The artist has created a step-by-step guide to action painting so that local people can create his design without prior training.

From Stockholm in Sweden, Jonas Myrstrand is in continuous contact with a local filmmaker in Govan who is shooting footage of each of the artists’ projects as well as conducting interviews with local participants. Jonas is also recording interviews remotely and editing all the footage for vignettes on the process. This will further be incorporated into the main documentary film following the progress of the Memory of Water activities in all six cities.

From Levadia in Greece, Ira Brami will produce Urban Kelpies: Awakening the River, a video work to capture her feeling for the River Clyde from her visit to Govan in September last year. In collaboration with Scottish activist Helen Kyle, a corresponding video will be made by spoken word poets and local musicians in Govan accompanied by rituals around the water. The videos will be screened in Govan and Levadia to connect the two cities.

Based in Scotland, t s Beall will organise Through the Wringer, a series of mobile washing events including stories and songs. Inspiration will come from the history of Glasgow’s steamies (or wash houses), although the stories themselves will be gathered from interviews conducted by the artist with healthcare workers and women whose care burdens have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can read about Irish artist, Mary Conroy‘s collaboration with Fablevision, local artists, and the Govan Stones volunteers to create a series of outdoor artworks, editioned prints and merchandise based on selected artworks, maps, architecture and stones in and around the historic Govan Old Church here.


About Memory of Water

Memory of Water is an artist-led project exploring post-industrial waterfront heritage in the context of urban planning and community development. Funded by Creative Europe and with local support in six partner cities, the project is developed and delivered by members of the River Cities Platform Foundation. Ormston House is responsible for the Artistic Direction of the project supported by the Creative Europe Irish Desk, the Arts Council of Ireland, and Limerick Culture & Arts Office, Limerick City & County Council. Our partners are Stad Ostend in Belgium, the Municipality of Levadia in Greece, Nadbaltyckie Centrum Kultury in Poland, Fablevision in Scotland, and Intercult in Sweden.



The Govan Residency is curated by Inês Cavaco and Hamish Rhodes. Our Scottish partner is Fablevision led by Liz Gardiner. Photograph: Look! (2020) by Iwona Zając at the Govan Dry Docks, delivered remotely in partnership with artists Eugenia Tynna in Poland and Beatrice Searle in Scotland. For more information, you can visit the Memory of Water website here.
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