Illuminating Links

Location: Glasgow
Venue: Firhill Basin, Forth & Clyde Canal
Dates: 06 October 2007 to 06 October 2007 

Huge crowds descended on Firhill Basin in Glasgow on Saturday 6 October to see a world premiere art installation take to the water on the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Internationally acclaimed artist Graeme Gilmour unveiled his six gigantic illuminated lanterns as the finale to a day long canal celebration, Illuminating Links, which included a host of water based activities, fireworks display and a torchlight parade led by local primary school pupils.

Glasgow based Childrens arts company Giant led by Director Maria McCavana spent a number of weeks working with primary schools around the canal on the different elements of the parade. As part of the workshops, children were encouraged to identify six buildings which are important to the communities around the canal, and to the City generally. The buildings were then transformed into giant 5 metre x 2.5 metre floating lanterns by artist Graeme Gilmour.

The six buildings included The Armadillo; Ruchill Hospital; Ruchill Parish Church Tearooms; Mausoleum, Sighthill Cemetery; Our Lady of the Assumption Church and Keppoch Campus School.

Pupils from each school created their own handheld lantern and at dusk the procession, with a new musical accompaniment by renowned composer Toby Park, wound its way from various locations along the canal to Firhill Basin where all the lanterns were combined to create a spectacular light installation.

Illuminating Links – a Forth and Clyde Canal Celebration, incorporated a huge range of free water and land based events including boat trips – courtesy of the Forth & Clyde Canal Society – canoe and kayak sessions, musical performances and art and craft displays.

The event was also used to bring residents up to speed with long term regeneration plans for the Glasgow branch of the Forth & Clyde Canal. Over the past few years the Lowland Canals have undergone an incredible physical transformation and now the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership is working to bring the waterway alive through a long term regeneration project which will see sensitive development from Port Dundas to Maryhill over the next 15 to 20 years.

An extensive community engagement exercise is ongoing in the area to ensure that everyone with an interest in the revitalisation of the canal corridor has an opportunity to input into the proposals.

Commenting on the event Steve Dunlop, Director Scotland at British Waterways said; “It was a fantastic day and the finale was quite spectacular. The local community, particularly the local school children, put heart and soul into the festival and this really paid off with an event that truly brought the canal to life.”