Whats For You Will Not Go by You

Och well - we didn't win at the Creative Scotland Awards - but being nominated as one the top three community projects in the Arts in Scotland last year was a huge honour. Congratulations to the winner - The Zombie Project from Paisley....and also to fellow finallist Elderflowers from Edinburgh.

We (well Tara did) managed to mooch enough tickets for 9 of us from Nothing About Us to attend the awards dinner in the fabulous Kelvingrove Art Gallery - great craic was had by all! Govan certainly made an impression....

Compere Fred Macauly on stage
The Govan Table
Poet Tom Pow reading 'The Change'
Govan Old Team with new friend in the Kelvingrove
The great news for us in the evening was the success of our great pals the Whysman project in the Visual category.....nice one folks - well deserved indeed!


Govan Banners – images now online!

Pictures from our main event are now online on our flickr site – let's hope the above message from one of the banners (made on 28 April 2012) is lucky for us in our Creative Scotland Award nomination! More photos of the banners folk made as part of Nothing About Us are below...

We'll be posting more images this week and next – something we should have done previously, but never quite found the time to properly edit the over 800 images we collected on the day (sorry folks). The good news is, there are some great ones – more soon....


Great News!

We found out today that NothingAboutUs has been shortlisted in the Community category of the Creative Scotland Awards 2012. 
The announcement of the results is on 13th December at Kelvingrove Art Gallery....not sure even the Kelvingrove will be big enough for everyone who worked on NothingAboutUs- but it sure is a nice problem to have to work on!



If you are arriving at this blog for the first time - then welcome!

This site is about a public art action that took place in Govan, Glasgow in the first part of 2012. Our blog was a very important tool and platform for the project, that connected many of its diverse threads. We have decided to leave all the online material intact as a snapshot of the development of the project in real-time.

If you are finding your way around we'd suggest first checking out About and then browsing around the links to artists, groups and projects that you'll find in the side bars of the main page - by just clicking on things that appeal to you, hopefully you will build up your own picture of the multi-layered and bonny beast that is NothingAboutUsWithoutUsIsForUs.

thanks for visiting!


Update on Ahmed

Ahmed returns to Glasgow from an English detention centre - greeted by Alex Bowie and Nicky Bolland
The photo says it all!......this isn't the end of the line, but due to the herculean efforts of the folk from Govan, Ahmed is now back in Glasgow and able to finally prove his true nationality. Great efforts by everyone and good luck to Ahmed - Scotland is proud to have you back home.


Please Support Ahmed

Ahmed Abdullah was one of the folk who worked extensively on the NothingAboutUs project.....Ahmed now desperately needs the help of right-thinking people in Scotland and the wider UK.

Ahmed Abdullah
Ahmed was detained on Friday morning when he went to report at the UKBA reporting centre. He is now facing forced removal from UK for Monday 11th June on a Qatar Airways flight to Dar Es Sallam, Tanzania at 21.30 hours.

Ahmed was one of several men made homeless by the Y-People charity two weeks ago when he returned home to his flat to find his locks had been changed without warning after he had been to report at the UKBA on Brand Street.  Since being forced to leave his home he has been staying with a friend in Govan and trying to put his life back together  - see here 

Flags made by Govan and Craigton Integration Network and Alex Bowie for NothinAboutUs they spell out the message 'Do You See Us?' and were hung along the fence of the Showpeople's site in Water Row, Gova
This is a letter from Alex Bowie the artist who worked on NothingAboutUs with Ahmed:

On Friday, one of the young men who worked extensively with me on the flags and building our armada boat, Ahmed Abdullah, was detained at Dungavel Detention Removal Centre.

I have known Ahmed for about 4 years, and he is a very inspirational guy. We are about the same age and have had many conversations on the difference in our upbringings, and our hopes for the future. Ahmed has thrown himself into the community. He attended college for two years and took part in every course on offer to him. His access to college was stopped when he lost his government support, but he continued to be active. He has done courses with camcorder guerillas, taken part in the GCIN forum theatre group, and was very enthusiastic and a great contributer to Nothing Without Us. 


Thinking About GI

Crossing The Clyde - Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us  photo Tom Manley
Writer and Photographer Tom Manley has written a very thoughtful and perceptive piece about GI and Glasgow (for Artists Newsletter) - he uses NothingAboutUs and Jeremy Deller's Sacrilege as a means to discuss the wider role of an art festival within the city.
Link to the article is - here

Sacrilege by Jeremy Deller photo Tom Manley


Jim Ferguson Stories - The Bride of King Dyfnwal

Jim Ferguson wrote three short pieces of historical fiction for NothingAboutUs - these were told as stories by the Clyde on 28th April, formed part of the project 'wordbank' (source material for messages sent over the river) and one of the stories was printed in the NothingAboutUs booklet.

At our Main Event a lot of people were asking for copies of these stories to take home, so we're publishing them here so you can continue to enjoy them. The third story was published in our booklet, which you can view online or download.

The Bride of King Dyfnwal – December 975
By Jim Ferguson for Nothing About Us

Yes, it is true that my husband was King of Strathclyde and held court at The Hill of Laws in Govan. He was a strong man, capable of great generosity and also great cruelty. The world had demanded this of him and he rose to the challenges of his day. When we recover his body we will inter him on the Sacred Hill of Laws.

I was far younger than he and he chose me for his bride because of my well known devotion to the Church. I could also say that he was swayed by my fine looks but there were fairer girls than I that he could have chosen.

Jim Ferguson Stories... Annie Miller

Jim Ferguson wrote three short pieces of historical fiction for NothingAboutUs - these were told as stories by the Clyde on 28th April, formed part of the project 'wordbank' (source material for messages sent over the river) and one of the stories was printed in the NothingAboutUs booklet.

At our Main Event a lot of people were asking for copies of these stories to take home, so we're publishing them here so you can continue to enjoy them...

Annie Miller – Sunday, September 2nd 1787 
By Jim Ferguson

My name is Annie Miller. My husband died today. He has been shot by soldiers of the 39th Foot Regiment. Though I am myself a Govan lassie I married Alexander Miller of the Calton after meeting him at the Govan Fair. We had much in common from the first. I was surprised to see that Alex was very taken by the fine needle work in the Govan Weavers Society banner.


RIP George

Very sad news of the death of George Wyllie on Monday. The world and Scotland has lost a truly international artist, a man of vision and someone who made the world around him a better place.

Thanks George for having the courage to try and recover the purpose of art as a channel of understanding to some of the deeper truths of the world - and having no truck with the mad, hermetic language of the 'artworld'. This fellow artist salutes you!

We at 'NothingAboutUs' are pleased to have had the opportunity to present an evening in George's honour at Govan's Pearce Institute on 1st May as part of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.

Hope you are enjoying the new landscape wherever you are George


Call for Images of 'Nothing about us...' Main Event

Once again thanks to everyone who participated in our Main Event and made it so successful!

Now that the dust has settled we're on the hunt for pictures from the big day, so if you've got any you'd like to share with us then email them to aboutuswithoutus@gmail.com ... or if you're a Flickr user then upload as normal and tag them 'GovanGI'.  Once we've gathered all the pics we'll post them here so everyone can see them... so watch this space!

Also, if you've got any feedback on the event then we'd love to hear from you (thanks for all the lovely emails we've had so far) either by email (aboutuswithoutus@gmail.com) or via the comments below.  What was your favourite bit of the day...?

Lots of people have been asking for copies of the Jim Ferguson stories we had in our wordbanks... one of these was included in our project publication (which you can download for free), and we'll hopefully make the others available soon via the blog.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


A Wee Epic about last Tuesday

Liz Gardiner of Fablevision speaking about George Wylie in Fergus Thom's film
Filmmaker Fergus Thom is part of the Whysman Festival team and he came along to our 'Questions about Govan...in honour of George Wylie' event on 1st May. The Whysman folk have now published the wee film that Fergus made of the night along with a new blogpost on their site - here

Vote For Govan

Good news that Govan has reached the shortlist of the Civic Pride category of the Scottish Design Awards....this award is decided by public vote. Voting is just a simple mouse click.....do it here

(image from NothingAboutUs  - Nadia Rossi)


'Nothing about us...' Booklet now online!

Our beautiful wee booklet is now available to view online and to download.  So no need to fret if you didn't manage to get one on the day! With thanks to Bakkal for the design...


Scottish Community Alliance

NothingAboutUs has had its fair share of press attention - for which we have been very grateful....one piece of coverage that we are particularly pleased about is to be covered in the weekly briefing by the excellent 'Scottish Community Alliance' - this is an organisation that we have huge respect and admiration for. Their homepage is here and the coverage of NothingAboutUs is here


The Michty Helen

The first bit of video has surfaced from Saturdays's NothingAboutUs event. Colin Speir's fine short film of the GalGael trebuchet in action is here

Expect the Unexpected

Tim Clarkson talking about early Govan at the Pearce Institute last night - photo ts Beall
There we were, about 30 of us, innocently watching Murray and Barbara Grigor's film about George Wyllie (The Why?s man)...then listening to Tim Clarkson's evocation of Govan's Doomster Hill - then Wham! before we knew it we were all pitched into an impassioned collective cry for Govan's history to be recognised in the future. There we were - resolving to make representation to the powers that be....even a community buy-out of Water Row was discussed.

This revolutionary zeal was then further inflamed by Cinema Action's 1971 film about the Upper Clyde Shipbuilder's 'work-in'  UCS1:
Cinema Action filming one of the mass meetings of the UCS work-in
And the evening concluded with 'The Govan Raid' Matt Baker's action staged in July 2011:

The Govan Raid - watch short video here
As @ForTheBurds tweeted later 'Quite a night... expect the unexpected with anything George Wyllie is connected to'

If you are interested to join a movement against the proposed carpark on Govan's iconic Water Row then get in touch via Twitter @GovanBeacon on FaceBook GloriousGovan or by email AboutUsWithoutUs@gmail.com


Just a wee bit about the ferry tokens...

In some ways our whole event on Saturday was an attempt to blur the boundary of the River Clyde, to connect up the two sides of the river for a few hours. So we chartered the Clyde Clippers Ferry for 3 hours, and if you were brave or gallus enough to whisper through Kate V. Robertson's string-and-cup telephone, shout out a message in Urdu with Northlight's 'River Patter', or help retrieve the 'charm's from the Trebuchet--you earned your free ferry token for the day!

The grey tokens were made for us by our neighbours at Glasgow Press, who specialise in creating beautiful printed material using traditional printing presses.  There's a wee bit about how they made them on their blog. (Many thanks to Glasgow Press for making these so beautifully and so quickly for us!)

Then, some of the smaller, prettier pieces of flotsam collected by Martin Campbell and crew for the Govan Armada boatbuilding workshops were thoroughly cleaned, chopped into even smaller fragments and glued into the centre of the tokens by volunteers, to create ferry tokens for use on the day.  We strung these onto cords so they could be worn as necklaces and hopefully saved as keepsakes after the event... we think they're mighty fine! 

Phoebe, one of our token-making volunteers, hoping for a lot of free rides on the ferry


We're not quite done yet....here's George

The final public event as part of NothingAboutUsWithoutUsIsForUs...is:

'Some Questions about Govan…

in honour of George Wyllie,'


Tues 1 May 2012, 6 – 9pm

An evening of films and conversation about people, power and protest on the River Clyde, in honour of Glasgow artist George Wyllie’s 90th birthday.

In a career spanning over 40 years, George Wyllie has made some of his most celebrated works on and around the Clyde, including the Straw Locomotive and the Paper Boat.

Highlights of the evening will include a screening of newly re-mastered film ‘Wys?man’ by Murray Grigor (on George Wyllie), an historical talk about Doomster Hill (the ancient moot hill of the Kingdom of Strathclyde), Cinema Action’s 1971 film on the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-In, and a 7 minute film documenting ‘The Govan Raid,’ a 2011 public art event by Matt Baker.

Date: Tuesday 1 May

Place: The Pearce Institute, 840–860 Govan Road, Govan G51 3UU

Time: 6–9pm

Cost: Free

Booking information: No booking is required, but seating is limited – please come early to avoid disappointment.

This event is also part of the Why?sman Festival - a year long celebration of George Wyllie's 90th Birthday 
Twitter: @ForTheBurds
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ForTheBurds

A Very Fine Day

'LadyFish' made by Glasgow Artists Studio - one of the winners in the 'People's Choice' category...displayed by tsBeall during the judging of The Govan Armada (photo Colin Tennant)
The sun shone, the river glistened, the trebuchet fired, the choir sang, the flags fluttered, the human megaphone announced, the cups were strung, the stories were telt, the languages were heard.......but most of people came, smiled and enjoyed being by the Clyde in Govan. Thank you to everyone who came and to everyone who has been involved in creating NothingAboutUs.....it has been immense!
A new public space by the river has been brought to life and many new working relationships and friendships have begun....Glorious Govan indeed!

Some photos are already coming in and we'd love to see yours and hear any thoughts that NothingAboutUs sparked in you:

Please email us at: aboutuswithoutus@gmail.com
Posting photos:
Twitter: @GovanBeacon #GovanGI
Flickr: tag 'GovanGI'

We'll post some photos on the blog when we get our breath back....in the meantime Lizzie Freer from Fablevision has posted a set of photos on Facebook - here


28th April 2012

'Nothing about us without us is for us – Main Event,'
Saturday 28 April 2012, 1pm – 4pm

You are invited to participate in the public enactment of Nothing about us without us is for us, a public art event where language will be hurled, launched, wafted, and flown from either side of the River Clyde using a variety of obsolete technology. Transmissions will be attempted from both sides of the river. Success is not guaranteed.

Communication methods will include:
Marine signal flags
Lost languages
Trebuchets (catapult/siege engines)
Human Megaphone
String-and-cup telephones
Messages-in-bottles (St. Kilda 'mailboats')
Date: Saturday 28 April

Time: 1pm– 4pm

Place: Govan Waterfront (near Govan Ferry Pontoon – G51 2LH) and in front of The Riverside Museum (100 Pointhouse Place, G3 8RS)


How to find us

Spray chalk direction - from Govan Subway/Bus Station

Getting to NothingAboutUs.........

By Bus - go to Govan Bus Station...cross the road towards the newly restored Aitken Fountain and then head for the river

Subway - Govan subway....follow instructions above

Road - turn off Govan Road at the Subway and then turn first (or second) right - park on unmarked carpark


Hanging Flags in the Sun

Jimmy Stringfellow of the Showpeople helping hang the Govan and Craigton Integration Network flags
It was a fast and furious morning today as the two remaining sets of Govan Flags went up in quick succession
Alexandra Bowie working with the Govan and Craigton Integration Network - sited by the Showpeople Site on Water Row
One of the flags made by Fiona Fleming with Platforum
The full set on Govan New Parish Church
3 Sets of Govan Flags in Context
Screenprints by Bead and Blether Group in the window of the Hopscotch Theatre Company
Fiona Fleming with A board at Govan Cross
Meanwhile the Tallship sent its final message of the week
The codes for reading the flags are - here

Govan Timeline – 2012

2012 Local grassroots organisations are bringing forward community-led alternatives to external regeneration projects. There is renewed interest in the ancient past of the area and the Hogback stones and Doomster Hill are again talked of as places of power, assembly and identity. 

Here we stand

Part of our Govan Timeline – A bit of Govan history every day 
from 26 March – 28 April