Making the Most of the Glasgow International Festival

The Glasgow International is Scotland’s largest festival for contemporary art. In 2018 it ran from 20 April to 7 May. The festival runs every second year.

With 268 artists work on show at 90 exhibitions and more than 80 events over 78 venues. I found it really hard to decide what to attend and then to organise an itinerary.

The Glasgow Internation 2018 website was very user friendly. It allowed you to search by dates, geographic location, artist, exhibition, event or date.

Part of my quandary was on several days, there were events which I fancied on at the same time. Then the dispersed venues meant that I might not have time to travel between venues if an event end time was close to another event’s start time.

In order to make the most of the Glasgow International you do have to be super organised. You need to double check the opening hours and days of venues. I thought that I had done this, but I still managed to arrive at the Glasgow Sculpture Workshop around 11am, when it didn’t open until noon.

Then work out the best way to get between the venues. I did a mix, taking the train from Stirling to Glasgow Queen Street and then walking around the city centre and Southside one day. On another day, I drove to Glasgow, parked at our son’s flat and then walked around the West End.

The other four days, mainly weekends, I took the car to drive around dispersed venues. I managed to be in the East End on a day when Celtic were playing at home, when the roads were jam packed and it was hard to find a space to park. I was on my way to see Carla Scott’s Stretch/Pulled/Inked exhibition at Impact Arts. I am so glad that I persevered in looking for a parking space, as I loved Carla’s work pictured below.

I wanted to achieve a balance of seeing several events and exhibitions per day, without dashing around like a headless chicken. You should also beware of sensory overload. You might get more out of doing less.

The Pipe Factory exhibition was spread over four floors. I arrived there with only 45 minutes until closing time at 6pm. I wish that I’d spent a lot longer there. The annoying thing was that I had spent around 40 minutes getting to and from another exhibition in the East End which I didn’t appeal to me. But then how long should you allow to see each exhibition? It’s so hard to know until you get there.

There were several exhibitions at SWG3. My favourite was Judy Blame’s.

I liked the rope sculpture at the Briggate, formerly Glasgow’s fish market.

There were some interesting pieces at the Savoy Tower.

I really liked the ceramics at the nearby Savoy Centre.

The dome in The Savings Bank was beautiful I went there to see Michelle perform Keener, but unfortunately she had to cancel the performance due to vocal cord issues.

I visited Lauriston Arches on the first day of the Glasgow International. Some artists were still in the middle of setting up their work. I didn’t have time to return to that venue to see all the exhibitions.

It would be fab to live in such a colourful house as portrayed Duggie Field’s show at the Modern Institute in Osborne Street.

The multitude of coloured loaves at the David Dale Gallery was eye catching.

I enjoyed Linder’s talk at the Glasgow Women’s Library. Linder was commissioned to create a flag and a short film for Glasgow Women’s Library.

One of the highlights of the Glasgow International was Necroplis Action performed by XSexcentenary.

I also had a great time at a workshop offered by the Glasgow Open Dance School (GODS) at the Old Barn in Pollok Park.

I’m looking forward to Glasgow International 2020.