What can Dublin learn from Glasgow as it prepares to become European Culture Capital?

With Dublin to become the European City of Culture in 1991, 'Arts Express' visits the current holder to the title Glasgow. The programme looks at the range of events being held in Glasgow and the impact that hosting the European City of Culture has had on the city.

The international cast of ‘Dinner’ is in rehearsals at Glasgow’s Third Eye Centre. Six actors from six different cultures take part in a workshop at one of the city's newest theatre spaces. This is just one of the many performances taking place as part of Glasgow 1990.

Adding vibrancy to a city that’s been rebuilding itself and its image abroad for the last ten years.

Poet and playwright Liz Lochhead explains how over the past ten years the Galsgow has undergone a massive transformation which led to the city of culture after other European cities like Paris, Florence and London. She believes that other people’s perceptions of Glasgow have begun to catch up with the reality of living in the city. The Third Eye is a fantastic venue for the arts and helped Glasgow to become the city of culture.

The Third Eye Centre is currently holding an exhibition by leading Scottish artist Steven Campbell.

A few doors away from The Third Eye is the more conventional art space of the McLellan Gallery, which is currently hosting an exhibition curated by Julian Spalding.

A larger exhibition space can be found in Tramway, a former city tram shed. Tramway is hosting work by internationally renowned sculptor David Mack consisting of ten Greek columns made entirely of tabloid newspapers. The structures were built over a three month period with the assistance of local students. The columns provide a spectacular backdrop for visiting performing groups such as the Children of Saba, a percussion and dance group from Burkina Faso in West Africa who are in Glasgow to celebrate Africa Week.

Locally, events and initiatives are also taking place to encourage residents to get more involved in the arts. Cranhill Arts Project Officer Alistair McCallum believes Glasgow 1990 should be a celebration of the city for everyone. He is working with locals in the Cranhill estate to develop culture in the broadest sense for everyone and believes it should not be hijacked by professional artists. The project is running courses and workshops in practical photography setting out to make a photographic exhibition of Glaswegians.

They wanted to photograph their city as they knew it. For them, the one constant thing about Glasgow was the people.

Kelvingrove is one of the city’s main galleries and is currently exhibiting needlework by local women. A display of the works of Scottish cartoonists provides some examples of the great Scottish sense of humour. One cartoonist whose work is on display is much loved Glasgow surrealist Bud Neill.

Glasgow is also getting a new concert hall which is due be completed later in the year. In the meantime, musical performances from the Berlin and London Philharmonic Orchestras, Pavorotti and the Bolshoi Ballet in venues around the city.

This episode of ‘Arts Express’ was broadcast on 27 April 1990. The reporter is Anne Roper.