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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the art and culture category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

Tramway 2 Closure

You are a major Scottish conurbation. You have many galleries, large and small. One of them in particular has a reputation for not only exhibiting and commissioning work by Scottish artists, both established and emerging, but for being able to secure work from international artists who otherwise wouldn’t show in this country’s galleries. In part, your international reputation comes from one particular gallery space. It’s one of the largest in the country (in fact it’s the biggest outside London), and offers artists a unique chance to utilise a truly huge space.

Do you

(a) Continue to programme and commission works from artists the world over, in so doing maintaining a consistent record of challenging the orthodoxy, nurturing artists and breaking new ground?


(b) Close it down with no consultation, particularly not from the artists whom this will directly affect, and hand it over to Scottish Ballet to use as a rehearsal space, when in fact a huge cold Victiorian former tram workshop is almost wholly unsuitable for a dance company, which needs a warm room with a sprung wooden floor?

Glasgow City Council, it seems, is opting for (b), handing over Tramway 2 to Scottish Ballet, which is, to put it mildly, a fucking disgrace. Of course, this is all dependent on funding from the Scottish Arts Council for Scottish Ballet, but done deal or not, why it was even considered in the first place beggars belief. Of all the sites in this city, full as it is of huge, dis- or under-used buildings, why pick Tramway, the city’s prime visual art space? Of which Glasgow City Council, in 2001, said “The unique scale and architecture of Tramway allows for exhibitions of work which could not be shown in, or created specifically for, any other venue in Scotland and the UK”? Why choose a space that will require substantial alteration before it could be used as a rehearsal space for Scottish Ballet? (Food for thought: how much would a sprung wooden floor roughly the size of a couple of football pitches cost?)

So why not use this form to write to the Glasgow City Council and tell them how much of a mistake they’re about to make. Oh, and while you’re at it you could fax your MP.

Update: For more information, read this briefing document on the proposal.

See also: Tramway Update

Posted at 2pm on 19/09/03 by Leon McDermott to the art and culture category.
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  1. Bloody Hell. Are they quite mad? And ballet for fuck’s sake. Who goes to the ballet? Three old queens and two dumpy schoolgirls. Who looks at contemporary art? Thousands of people across Scotland. Idiocy.

    I just got forwarded a mail with more details - might add them to your post in the extended entry bit…

    Posted by Jack at 3pm on 19.09.03

  2. Oh, I see you forwarded me the same mail… Absolute fucking disgrace, is what this is.

    Posted by Jack at 3pm on 19.09.03

  3. Well said Leon. Outspoken, well-argued criticism of thick people in institutions that survive through inventing new jobs for themselves; we need more of this. I applaud your reaction.

    Posted by Donny at 5pm on 19.09.03

  4. You wouldn’t believe the shadowy machinations of the Scottish Arts Council and the folk with their fingers on the drawstrings of the Lottery purse in Scotland, Don…

    Probably best not to elaborate here, as I have to deal with such people from time to time. Safe to say, though, that they consistently fly in the face of good sense, conduct their business behind closed doors, fail to consult the communities their decisions will most affect, withdraw or grant funding according to political criteria rather than artistic merit and generally carry on in manner that makes the word ‘corrupt’ lurk in the back of one’s mind. Oops.

    Anyway, before I start sounding even more like an editorial in Variant, I’m off to find some statistics on attendance of performances by Scottish Ballet/Opera for my third angry letter of the day…

    Posted by Jack at 6pm on 19.09.03

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