Occupy, Create, Resist! is a Culture Collective Project funded by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government, in collaboration with GBArt (Govanhill Baths Art), the Tramway and The Work Room. Govanhill Baths Community Trust (GBCT) has a unique history of working collectively to inspire social change, with art and creativity at the heart of our approach.
2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the community occupation of the Govanhill Baths building – the longest occupation of a public building in British history and what led to the creation of GBCT. Throughout 2021-2022 we will work with local community groups, artists, archivists, activists and arts organisations to celebrate this monumental community achievement. The anticipated re-opening of the building as a Wellbeing Centre is due to take place in Summer 2022 following major capital redevelopment. Bringing this much-loved building back into use as a community-led health and wellbeing centre is more urgent than ever, with creativity and art playing a key role in the vision.
The theme ‘Occupy’ will provide a rich framework for the overall programme, highlighting what can be achieved through community activism and solidarity. While ‘Occupy’ directly references the Baths heritage and can draw inspiration and connection to the above occupations, the concept and politics of what it means to ‘occupy’ can be applied more broadly. What does it mean to occupy or to claim identity, space, to be visible, to be heard? How will the community occupy the new Wellbeing Centre?
In response to the ravaging effect that Covid-19 has had on the creative sector, we will provide stable PAYE employment to five artists for 12 months to embed them within the Govanhill community. The artists will be paired with five community groups that represent the cultural diversity of Govanhill.
Artists from a range of disciplines will be chosen through an open call, with paid community representatives involved in the recruitment. The artists will represent the diversity of the community and have a strong practice in socially engaged, place-based work. GBCT will form mutually supportive partnerships with The Work Room and Tramway, to enhance creative learning and professional development opportunities for the artists.
Covid-19 will continue to have a debilitating effect on wellbeing, including mental health, economy, racial and social injustices, exacerbating pre-existing inequalities. This is a pivotal time for our community to come together, regenerate and celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of Govanhill.