More than 40 Govanhill residents aged 12 - 64 have joined forces with Glasgow Life and Govanhill Youth Project to create five stunning stained-glass windows, designed to celebrate the area’s rich heritage and cultural diversity.
The Diversity Windows project, to be unveiled on Tuesday, 2 June at Govanhill Library, tells an uplifting story of community and unity amongst cultures, taking local residents and visitors on a journey through the area’s migration history and heritage and will be on permanent display at the library.
Bringing together intergenerational community groups, including the Asian Women’s Group, Irish Heritage Foundation, AGAP Art Group and pupils from Hollybrook Academy, the innovative project has been designed to celebrate the journeys and identities of the different communities who reside in Govanhill. The nine-month programme also offered participants the opportunity to develop an array of transferable life-skills, including communication, problem solving and collaborative working.
Each of the five windows illustrates a different theme chosen by the community groups themselves, in consultation with Govanhill organisations and residents.
Councillor Archie Graham, the Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Govanhill Library sits at the very heart of this diverse community, and I’m delighted that local residents of all ages have come together to portray how they feel about the area in such a striking, positive way.
“Not only do the Diversity Windows showcase the rich cultural diversity of Govanhill, increasing a sense of identity for residents, it has also enabled participants to gain new skills, broadening their horizons and, in turn, opening up new pathways towards learning and employment.
“I would urge everyone to visit Govanhill Library to enjoy the fantastic stories depicted by this stunning installation and everything else this great community asset has to offer.”
All five groups were supported by local stained-glass artist Keira McLean, who helped to amalgamate their stories and ideas into a lasting community masterpiece. Keira said: “Govanhill Library is a central hub for all members of the community; a place to share stories and learn about the heritage of different cultures, and as such, is the perfect home for the Diversity Windows.
“I would like to thank all involved with the project for all of the hard work and dedication they put in to the creation of the window. Without the local groups, none of this would be possible.”
Designs include the Irish Heritage Foundation’s emotive ‘Story of Irish Immigration’ window, taking the viewer on a journey of adversity, hope and inspiration, created to pay tribute to the Irish community’s contribution to Glasgow, and the eye-catching ‘Cultural Fusion’ window, which uses the bold colours and patterns of saris, peppered with words of empowerment, to place women and girls at the heart of Govanhill’s Asian community.
AGAP Art Group’s ‘Memories of Glasgow’ window takes a look back at the history of the area, inspired by the colours of Glasgow sunsets and the Dixon Blazes, whilst participants from Govanhill Youth Project have given their window a 2015 twist by creating a ‘Graffiti Wall’ of glass, with each glass brick tagged to reflect the groups own personalities and interests.
The final window, developed by fourth year pupils from nearby Hollybrook Academy, is also designed to give younger residents a voice in the community. The ‘Exclusive Colours’ window shows how feelings and emotions can be depicted through the use of vivid colour, with the window complemented by inspirational phrases devised to offer support and guidance to young people as they embark on their journey to adulthood.
The range of services offered at Govanhill Library has grown considerably throughout its history. In recent years, Glasgow Libraries has transformed its services to allow people to participate in a vast array of activities and events, together with the more traditional services associated with a library.
Customers have access to a full-range of exciting and up-to-date books, including community language material - Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu - free internet access and computer courses. Younger guests enjoy Bounce and Rhyme and Storytime sessions, with adults regularly attending the fortnightly Classic Film Shows.
The five stained-glass Diversity Windows, depicting the area’s rich culture and heritage, will be unveiled at a ceremony on Tuesday 2 June at Govanhill Library, before going on display to the general public from Wednesday 3 June 2015.
The Diversity Windows project has been enabled thanks to funding received by Govanhill Youth Group via the Celebrate programme, a National Lottery grant set up to enable community groups to create a meaningful lasting legacy for their community, following the success of the Commonwealth Games. The Celebrate programme brought together communities from across Scotland to celebrate the Commonwealth Games and was developed by the Scottish Lottery Distributors Forum (SLDF) which is made up of all four Scottish Lottery Distributors, Big Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund and sportscotland.
For more information on Govanhill Library, please visit www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries