After the Pandemic

After The Pandemic is an accelerator for change, incubating and enabling creative projects that impact our society, cities and the environment for the better.

The initiative develops ideas through the collaboration of local communities, creative practitioners and like-minded organisations, in order to create, fund and deliver:

– Cultural & arts installations, programmes and content. 

– Educational toolkits, design schools and research.

– Events, community engagement and outreach.

Our mission is to RETHINK, REIMAGINE and REDESIGN the world around us to be greener, more resilient and more vibrant.

After the Pandemic was co-founded in April 2020 by Lateral North, Fergus Bruce and Laura McHard, and launched on 8th May 2020 as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, the climate emergency and other converging challenges. Since launching, After the Pandemic has delivered and enabled over 40 projects with another 10 in the pipeline. We have hosted events and workshops, including a week-long design summer school in June 2020 showcasing 20 projects from students, community groups, visual and spoken word artists amongst others, and the ATP Symposium in November 2020, featuring 32 speakers from New Zealand, New York, Spain, Italy and throughout Scotland. We have seen extensive engagement at local, national and international level – from presenting work on BBC Radio Scotland’s The Afternoon Show to being featured on German TV channel ARD, with the piece being watched over 1 million times.

When COP26 was postponed to November 2021, we saw an opportunity. Many of the ideas submitted for our summer school involved access, or the lack of it, to land. Glasgow has a huge problem with vacant and derelict land. It has the highest concentration of vacant and derelict land of any local authority in Scotland, particularly in the north and east of the city, where the average Glaswegian citizen lives within 100m of a vacant or derelict site. Many of these sites have featured on Scotland’s vacant and derelict land register for decades and are located in areas of multiple deprivation, negatively impacting on the areas and on the health and wellbeing of their residents. Wouldn’t it be great, we thought, to get access to a piece of vacant and derelict land and show the potential for these sites to provide space for cultural, creative and community-focused activity in the run up to and during COP26?

After the Pandemic – COP26 from Lateral North on Vimeo

Top of our wish-list was City Wharf, an area of vacant and derelict land immediately adjacent to the west of Kingston Bridge, which carries the M8 motorway across the River Clyde and through the heart of Glasgow. The site is equi-distant between the city centre and the SEC, where COP26 will take place. The site is also located in an area of Glasgow that played an integral role in the city’s rise to prominence after the Industrial Revolution as the centre of the shipbuilding industry. After a bit of detective work, we identified the landowner, Dandara, and managed to get a meeting with them. We pitched the idea of using part of the site as a ‘meanwhile’ use in the run up to and during COP26 focusing on community-based activities. To our utter delight, Dandara loved this idea and agreed to give us permission to use 3,000 sq m of the site until the end of November 2021.

So what is it we’re actually doing? The site will be a physical manifestation of our five principles, which are: Inclusive Communities; Dear Greenest Place; Learn and Grow; Local for Global and Design Forward. There will be a series of pavilions, each designed around a principle and providing space for workshops, presentations, play, exhibitions and performance. There will be a ‘timber district’, showcasing the innovations and sustainable solutions evolving in wood, both in Scotland and globally. Street art will play a huge role in bringing the space to life and making it vibrant and colourful, as well as communicating messages. The event will also be delivered digitally, for greater inclusion and engagement.

But most importantly, what will you experience if you come to our site in November, or engage with us online? We hope to highlight how innovation, creativity and design can address the climate emergency and challenges brought on by the pandemic, at a local level. We hope that it will be just the start of a journey, where people are inspired, motivated and empowered to go back to their own communities and challenge inequalities or create something unique and wonderful. We hope to foster many new relationships and connections, allowing people to share their stories and experiences with others all over the world. And by doing all of these things, we hope to create a legacy that transforms Glasgow long after COP26 has been and gone.

We’re looking to expand After The Pandemic and invite collaborators to get in touch If you want to make change in your local area, city or nation through creativity and collaboration, we want to hear from you.

You can follow our progress on social media and through our website, www.afterthepandemic.scot.

Twitter             @After_Pandemic

LinkedIn          https://www.linkedin.com/company/after-the-pandemic/about/

Instagram        @afterthepandemic

Published by Monique

Community Engagement Officer for the University of Glasgow College of Social Sciences and The Glasgow Centre for Population Health

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