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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, September 20, 2008
    Glaswegians lost and found
    More on Glasgow. No apologies. For part of the aim of the Glasgow 2020 project was to generate conversations in other cities about their experiences and their futures. Last weekend Doug introduced us to the book The Dreaming City: Glasgow 2020 and the Power of Mass Imagination, and though I absent-mindedly left it in the Chinese restaurant last night they looked after it for me and today it's been good getting into it. A record of an experiment in enabling a city's people to tell stories of their dreams of the city's future. Engagement in something called 'futures literacy'.
    We wanted to see if there was the potential for people to be able to tell their own more compelling stories about the city and its possible, probable and preferred futures than the restricted menu on offer from the official future.
    It's a very good idea. A mark of that is its honesty, as demonstrated in areas like the Lost Glaswegians workshop which took place in London, where ex-Glasgow people considered how important the city was to them now, what their lives would be like if they had to go back and what kind of a city they might find.

    The Glasgow 2020 approach dovetails nicely with the Liverpool Biennial's 2008 theme, Made Up. Which is an expression we Liverpudlians use to mean 'delighted', etc, but carries all sorts of other meanings:
    MADE UP sees imagination (called ‘invention’ in the 18th century) as the dynamo of art. At the heart of this exhibition’s broad ranging exploration of ‘making things up’ (which includes utopias and dystopias, narrative fiction, fantasy, myths, lies, prophesies, subversion and spectacle) is the emotional charge which powers the artistic imagination. Whether mischievous, constructive or iconoclastic, MADE UP is about art’s capacity to transport us, to suspend disbelief and generate alternative realities.
    Well, we've had so much art over the past nine months and we'll be getting so much more before the Culture Capital year expires, and the city itself is the site for so much of it, that hopefully some of this imagination will rub off, and like those Glaswegians so too we Scousers might spend much time subsequently 'generating alternative realities'.

    Pic: Lost Weegies Mindmap from the Glasgow 2020 website