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It’s over. Except in all the ways that it isn’t; on Friday I hung the results of the Draw Duke Street residency and now, it is on show until the 16th of December.

In the current reckoning then, we reached a fifth of the businesses on Duke Street (29 out of a potential 140), carried out 15 interviews with visitors to the gallery, welcomed over 150 visitors (so far), from within and outwith Dennistoun recorded 10 hours of interviews, collated an archive of over 1000 photographs, dozens of sketches and met with the community Council, the library, the Conservation Society and the ‘bounce and rhyme’ parent and toddler’s group. I believe the correct term is ‘goodness gracious’…

And still the drawing is not finished. If you want a tweetable, soundbitten conclusion to my research then it would be ‘6 weeks is not enough time to draw the length of a suburban high street’. It never would be of course, but as I sit and stare at my handiwork and fret over the gaps, omissions and work I never got to complete before Friday, I conclude that drawing Duke Street is not over. I will have to fit it in between other project commitments over the next year or so (it is possibly the work of 6 years, but I am always in a hurry…) but I am going to continue adding in the layers and depths of detail and insight that make dialectograms what they are whenever I can, and, where opportunities arise, extend opportunities to take part to others on Duke Street. That’s the second soundbite of the day I suppose – ‘a room-sized dialectogram is for life, not just for Christmas’.

I will be posting a full – probably rather long – retrospective on Draw Duke Street on the Duke Street Diaries today or tomorrow (and will put some edited highlights up here for those with a low tolerance for whinging some time later). For now, here are images of the exhibition space. We are open until Sunday, 10-5pm (except for tomorrow, when we close at 1pm) until the 16th. Hope to see you there.

The Dialectogram on the East Wall

The beginning of the Dialectogram on the East Wall.





The other end of the Dialectogram as it extends onto the south wall.

The other end of the Dialectogram as it extends onto the south wall.
















The revamped archive display and now obligatory tea and biscuits.

The revamped archive display and now obligatory tea and biscuits.
















My drawing table and a display of research sketches, interviews and artefacts.

My drawing table and a display of research sketches, interviews and artefacts.








1st December. 7 days to go. That is all…


Draw Duke Street shopfront.

Draw Duke Street shopfront.

What passers by spot - note the biscuits!

What passers by spot – note the biscuits!

2012-11-20 10.18.10

Another view of the gallery from the workspace.

2012-11-16 09.55.35

The all-important urn by the research area.

2012-11-11 18.16.21

The boards laid out for scaling and planning.

2012-11-11 11.50.23

Biscuit crisis.

2012-11-17 12.04.48

Panoramic view, courtesy of @borrachoeneldia.

2012-11-20 19.59.17

My better half intervenes…

Work area

I have started to think of this as home – after all, it’s where I hang my coat!

2012-11-16 09.56.11

Close up of the research area. Books are on hand for the curious and those waiting to speak to me.


Sketch plans for the final display

Sketch plans for the final display

…well, the absolute, absolute latest is that WordPress managed to cleverly interpret my desire to insert a photo into my post as deleting the said post and replacing it with the bloody photograph, so this is the second time round on writing this, as midnight approaches and tiredness sets in. Goodness knows how it will read. Anyway, this is the picture in question:

I’ll explain what it is further down the page, because that’s how I roll. The Duke Street Diaries give a day by day account of how things are currently progressing, so they are the best place to keep track, alongside the associated Facebook page and twitter alter ego (not the same as the usual Dialectograms feed). If that’s not already way too much information, you can of course, just pop in any time between 10-6pm, Monday to Saturday over the month of November and first week in December.

But between us, how has it been so far? Challenging, it has to be said. Daunting, definitely, but I have to say, there has been a lot of goodwill and useful feedback already, from locals and passers by, but also from others in the Glasgow cultural scene. Particular thanks have to go to Victoria Evans (whose amazing show at the Briggait with Graham Lister and Stephanie Spindler can still be seen if you get down there for this Friday), filmmaker Alan Knight (check out his Buffalo Bill film project) Anna Gibb (whose work is, if you pardon the expression, just f***ing lovely) and Stuart Murray (whose blog I am happy to say, is back on the streets), all of whom have popped by or offered substantial help from afar. I’ve also been lucky enough to find an excellent team of volunteers. I’m going to talk about them in more detail in another post down the line, but they have been excellent so far.

It’s been an interesting time, especially as it has in some respects, encouraged me to look at Dennistoun almost as an outsider – fresh eyes, as the cliche goes. Stuff that was hidden from view suddenly becomes apparent, and I don’t just mean the seamy side- I had never been to a meeting of Dennistoun Community Council before and to be honest, I’d probably have never thought to if I hadn’t wanted something from them – something I’m sure the dedicated souls who sit on it month by month, year by year, are used to hearing, and probably a little weary of.

Speaking of asking for favours, if anyone reading this is a carpenter/joiner/welder with time on their hands and a cavalier attitude to remuneration (I am out of time and largely out of budget) I would love to hear from you.

Some dates though, for the diaries of those interested in seeing how it all pans out. On Wednesday 28th November I’ll be hosting Market Gallery’s Night School (6.30pm, main gallery) event on the theme of ‘exhaustion’. I didn’t pick it, but by that stage of the proceedings it’s going to be pretty apt. There’s a reprise on Saturday, at the art school union from 3pm.

And of course, there’s the small matter of the opening of the exhibited drawing itself, of which the scratchy sketch up there gives a sneak preview. That opens in Market gallery 1 at 6pm on Friday the 7th December. It will be on show for a week after that (and is free) until the 16th December.  I will, with the exception of Saturday 8th, be invigilating it myself, so you will have the chance to come along and ask questions should you be so inclined.

Draw Duke Street has rather clouded the horizons of late, but there are other projects and happenings outside of the Independent Republic of Dennistoun currently on the boil, on which more soon.

At least, before Christmas, anyway…

…do you really want to? As part of the research component of the DRAW DUKE STREET endeavour, I have set up a satellite blog that records my daily thoughts, impressions and general whingeing. Only for those REALLY interesting in knowing about the minutae of the process, but by all means, take a look…

From 15th October I will be starting work on DRAW DUKE STREET a residency at Market Gallery. The caps are purely because this is possibly the craziest thing I have ever done: I am going to set up shop in one of the gallery’s space for about six weeks, and attempt to draw all of the shops and places of interest on a particular stretch of this Glasgow suburban high street (between Duke Street and Bellgrove Train stations). I will draw stretches of the street on the usual A0 board and piece these together in a strip along the walls of the gallery, representing the street. I will be working in the same space, day in, day out, and will be running an open workshop policy where anyone can come on in, say hello, ask what’s going on and, if they feel so inclined, contribute.

I am however, going to need to put together a team of volunteers to help with two broad areas of the background research, of, broadly speaking ‘local’ guides (I am local myself, but I know there is stuff I don’t know). These are people with particular stories to tell about the street, a long association with it, and a good knowledge of the ins and outs of Dennistoun.

And I also need to assemble a team of fellow field-researchers to assist with the process of contacting places on Duke Street, interacting with shopkeepets and helping to gather the information that goes into creating the dialectogram. This would be particularly suited to students in anthropology, geography, architecture or environmental art, but I’d be interested in talking to anyone who think they might be able to give a few hours here and there to help me pull all the info together.

For your time and trouble you would be acknowledged as a co-creator of the final piece.

So, if you think you can help – – very much looking forward to hearing from you.


It’s been April – I’ll say that again – APRIL, since my last post, so I thought it was loooong past time I made an update.

Looking back on my last post I realise with some embarrassment that I was supposed to give full commentaries and background on the past two dialectograms. I’m not going to do that today, but do promise to get these up as soon as I can.

Instead, I’m going to get up to speed on what’s actually been happening these past few months. I think it is fair to say I have not been idle! As well as keeping things ticking over on the PhD, I’ve been looking into potential sites to draw, was a guest of the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference in Edinburgh to talk about Red Road, and giving a paper at the Drawing Research Network Conference 2012 in Loughborough, where I met other researchers who like to draw, and talk about it at length. Sometimes great length.

Occasionally, I  got around to actually drawing something. So, the first major event of the last five months was in May when I joined with others to Go Tell it On The Green at the People’s Palace. I collaborated with a distinguished line-up of Peter McCaughey, Ross Sinclair, Roddy Buchanan, Johnny Rodger, Michael Mersinis, Gordy Munro and Raymond Burke. Go Tell it on the Green marked the demolition of Douglas Gordon’s 1990 artwork Proof, a hidden monument that marked, rather gnomically, Glasgow’s scurrilous and largely occluded radical history, encompassing the Weaver’s strike of 1787, the ‘Radical War’ or Scottish insurrection of 1820, female political activists during the first world war and anarchist Guy Aldred’s campaigns against the prohibition of political meetings and public use of the Green. In the same year as the artwork’s creation, widespread public anger and a sustained campaign led by Workers City defeated plans to privatise whole swathes of Britain’s oldest public space. A surfeit of symbolism, I’m sure you’ll agree – especially as its demolition (by Network Rail for Health and Safety, before a campaign could even be mounted) occurred in the same year that the Council tried to impose entertainment licences on small exhibitions and events, while simultaneously buying into the increasingly odious PR guff around the ‘Glasgow miracle’.

I’ll de-rant for now, but full details, including film of the talks by Emma Lennox can be found here. The event was also about trying to stimulate further interest and discussion in the hidden history the mural represented. My own thoughts in this direction led me to consider the surface of the Green as a giant, but somewhat impenetrable, recording device for these movements (in both senses) on the ’m not very pleased with this drawing -really just a germ infecting the germ of an idea –  but I see it as the first iteration of something  I intend to pursue much further and will hopefully, open up new possibilities for drawing in tandem with site specific work, using sound and geographical positioning, Expect to hear more, soon.

Speaking of public outcries, it’s also worth mentioning the right stramash that took place overCreative Scotland. The ‘more-than-just-a’ funding body has been in the spotlight of late, as serious critical debate and conversation around how the arts are funded moved from Variant – where it has been consistently criticised and investigated – to centre-stage. Pun intended here – the catalyst has been from among the theatre sector and the removal of flexible funding from these organisations.  Variant has been told it will no longer receive funding from Creative Scotland – check here to get their take on it and if you feel so inclined, assist their efforts to resume publication. For in-depth, accessible, intelligent and ecumenical analysis of the situation check out Stramash Arts for a blow by blow account of this year’s events.

Of course, it’s not all been politicking this year. There was also The Wedding Game, a collaboration with fellow One Night Standee Minka Stoyanova. Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace have a magnetic attraction for me, I think. Our collaboration was  Minka’s brainchild as a contribution to Shotgun Wedding, a show by the Effort Collective. This involved drawing a dialectogram-style game environment and characters for Minka to set the events of an adventure/puzzle game premised around trying to spirit a bride, groom (and yourself) from the mother of all Glasgow weddings.  Minka is now working on the finished version, so I’ll pop up the link once it is finished.

Then there’s SeRTES, an Information and Communication Technology Research Project involving 7 universities and a range of different disciplines. My attitude to ICT is fairly straightforward; if it works, and does the job I want it to do, I’m happy. This attitude is however, having to change with a new piece of work I’m doing with the SeRTES group to investigate how technology is used in the everyday environment – where we access it, how it blends into our current surroundings, and so forth. It is really interesting stuff, and nice to get back into drawing fully domestic situations (it’s been a while).  You can see the first of a series of sketches I’m producing to help the group with its research here, based on the ‘measurable unit’ of a weekend. The involvement has given me some excellent ideas for how I might work on a series of domestic dialectograms sometime in the future.

One of the most exciting things to happen, work-wise, this summer was my visit to The Seminary at Cardross, courtesy of The Invisible College. I am going to be quick on this one simply because this demands a post all of its own. Geographer Hayden Lorimer kindly invited me to come along on The Invisible College’s daytrip and evening workshop to Kilmahew park, location of the ruined Cardross Seminary.

The next update will be along very soon, as I have a rather important announcement to make, but before closing, I want to point you in the direction of VAROOM!LAB and Swansea Metropolitan University’s Spatialising Illustration Symposium in Swansea, on the 24th and 25th of January 2013. I am headed to this event run by Derek Bainton, a good friend of this Blog, and Varoom! magazine.. All the information for the event is included below– the call for papers is closed (sorry Derek for not distributing this sooner!) but worth going to, to hear about recent work and research in this area.



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