Well, better late than never, I’d say. Back in 2015 (which feels so long ago now), I attended my first Electric Gardens in Glasgow. The year’s title was Lux Botanicum, promising a mix of colourful light installations, fire shows and activities for the whole family. As someone who loves the Glasgow Botanics in any weather, this was a great chance to see them all lit up by night.
A friend of mine was just as excited and we took off to spend our evening at the other end of town – from our point of view at least. I had decided to take my tripod and give night photography a shot for the first time. Needless to say, the visit involved a lot of ‘Wait for me, I need to pack up my stuff’ and ‘Oh my, I’m so sorry for hitting you with that thing AGAIN!’. Good thing she was a good sport about. Being an enthusiastic photographer herself, Alex took the bruises I caused with a smile.
With Christmas coming up and all the markets replacing festivals for a while, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at Glasgow’s festivals this year.
Events mean a lot to me, they have been part of my studies, I have worked in the industry in a variety of ways, been on the inside and watched from the outside. This year’s festivals have been especially important, as they were a big part for developing my photos but also using them as a means for analysis.
Say what? Well, the city’s festivals have played an incredible part in my research at university, both for my undergrad and my postgrad. Last year in summer, I documented large parts of the Commonwealth Games and every programme aspect that came with it, and this year I concentrated on the Merchant City Festival. Over time, my focus has shifted from how we can create event structures that are respectful towards tourism stakeholder needs towards how we can integrate local community needs, instead of putting profits first.
Enough of my research now, moving towards the end of the year, let’s take another look at the festivals I have managed to attend and my takeaways from them. Let’s get started, shall we?
Art has always been a big part of my life. In Kindergarten my people would exclaim every day ‘For you it’s “a picture a day keeps the doctor away”, isn’t it?’ It was indeed: I wasn’t good at talking to people, very shy for my age, so drawing was a great outlet. Going to museums to see the paintings there was just the next step. I very much believe that art can help us get through life – in fact a recent study proved that appreciating works of art supports our health. Also let’s be honest, could you imagine a life without books, films, theatre, visual art or any other expression of creativity? Being creative can change people and it has certainly changed me over the years, towards becoming a more flexible and outgoing person. Creativity covers all aspects of life and I feel that it can’t be separated from a sense of curiosity about the world. Creativity and objects created through it stand for larger social narratives and developments – just as tourism is a narrative that spans our daily lives – so it makes sense for me to love both.
Whenever one of my close friends calls me up and says ‘I just had the idea of walking…’, I shout ‘Yes, I’m in’ before I even know where we’re going. I walked parts of the West Highland Way with her, started the John Muir Way and already posted about our time on the Thomas Muir Way. I just love walking, ever since she asked me to come long for the first time.
One thing you need to know though, is that she’s an experienced hillwalker and I’m not. In fact, the West Highland Way was the only reason I bought walking shoes for myself and – I admit it – I thought more about what looks cute than what I would actually need. I did luckily end up with a decent pair of shoes and a sudden thirst to walk absolutely everywhere. This time, the area of the day was the Campsie Fells.
One of the things that kept me going with my dissertation was knowing that I could take time off as soon as I handed it in. I didn’t even have to wait a day, no, I could jump straight on a train, plane or boat to get away from that evil place called uni library as quickly as I could.