Early Warning Signs

Centre for Contemporary Arts

Centre for Contemporary Arts

350 Sauchiehall Street
G2 3JD

The red on white sign was adopted by Jamie Kenyon, the former Programmer at Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts to be displayed outside the CCA building for the whole of 2012. Together with the yellow on black sign which was on display at The Hidden Gardens at Tramway in the Southside, these two signs book-ended the city and were featured in The List magazine on 19 July 2012.

At the end of the year, the red on white sign was transported to Manchester where it was adopted by artist Mike Chavez-Dawson to display on Hewitt Street outside Lionel Dobie Project and Castlefield Gallery.

End of Year Report

By Ainslie Roddick, Programme Coordinator, CCA Glasgow

CCA Glasgow hosted Glasgow artist Ellie Harrison's climate change project Early Warning Signs from late 2011 to 2012. The project involved the placement of four colourful freestanding spinning shop signs outside four cultural organisations across the UK. The project aimed to highlight climate change within a culture of capitalism, with the aesthetic of the signs being associative of everyday consumerist marketing. The signs spun in the wind to reveal the message CLIMATE - CHANGE.

Location Each day, the CCA duty managers placed the sign outside the main entrance at 350 Sauchiehall Street. The sign was on display during CCA opening times of 8am - 11pm, Monday - Saturday and a large number of visitors and pedestrians at various times were able to see it.

CCA is situated on a street with a wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants. On one side of CCA is a hairdressers and on the other, a newsagents. The street in Glasgow is well known for its busy night life.


The project was highlighted on CCA's website homepage as well as on occasional email-outs and social media feeds.


At the beginning of the process, the sign would occasionally blow away. A chain was fitted to alleviate this, and also to stop thievery.

Due to its location on a busy evening thoroughfare, the sign was also regularly vandalised. The sign occasionally stopped spinning and it had to be regularly maintained. This was undertaken by CCA's maintenance manager or a duty manager. It also often became very rusty.

Members of staff and visitors reported that at some points the sign became very noisy when it was spinning in the wind.

Feedback from Visitors and Staff:

Box office and Sales and information staff were briefed to respond to visitors' questions about the signs. The feedback from these members of staff was that unfortunately very few visitors commented on the sign.

Because of the variety of shops and shop signs in the vicinity, the sign did tend to blend in to environment of the street. Many of those questions reported that they hadn't realised the sign was part of a CCA project and rather it looked like it belonged to another shop front, as the shops on either side also have colourful and neon signs in the window. This was also the experience of many CCA visitors who are now employees, who recall seeing the sign but who assumed it was an advert board for the newsagents. This may have also been the effect of the only visible part of the sign being the word 'Change' for some of the time. Employees reported that it wasn't until they viewed the project described on the CCA website that the connection was made with the sign being an artwork.

More of the visitor feedback came from when the duty managers occasionally forgot to move the sign from the foyer in the morning and visitors to the building could identify the sign as belonging to CCA and therefore question its significance. On very windy days the sign also became more of a talking point, as per the aim of the project. These discussions were generally positive with most visitors responding well to the concept of the artwork.


CCA was pleased to host the sign. Unfortunately due to our surroundings and the nature of the street life the impact of the sign may have been reduced. However it did promote interesting conversations, even if these were mainly between staff members. The rolling concept of the sign moving to a new destination each year I think will soon create recognition of the project between cultural organisations and encourage a dialogue to take shape.

Having additional interpretation on the CCA website was also important for recognition of the project, encouraging visitors to look out for the sign or make a connection when they enter the door.

Overall, the practicalities of hosting the sign generated most of the discussion, which at times was negative. This is perhaps apposite in response to the projects aim of tackling the culture of change or idleness in response to climate change at-large.