Early Warning Signs

The Hidden Gardens

The Hidden Gardens

25 Albert Drive
G41 2PE

This sign was adopted by Mark Langdon, the chair of Glasgow Media Access Centre, to be displayed outside Glasgow's Trongate 103 for the whole of 2012. However, negotiations with the Glasgow Life staff who manage the building did not go smoothly and they cited many 'operational issues' to prevent them from displaying the sign. Despite many emails and meetings, the sign remained in storage at Trongate 103 for the first six months of 2012, until an alternative host venue was found at The Hidden Gardens at Tramway. It finally went on display there from 7 July 2012 until the end of the year.

Together with the red on white sign which was also on display in Glasgow at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, these two signs book-ended the city for the last six months of the year and were featured in The List magazine on 19 July 2012. At the end of 2012, the yellow on black sign was transported to Birmingham where it took up residence outside Eastside Projects for the whole of 2013.

End of Year Report

By Mark Langdon, Chair of Glasgow Media Access Centre

I still remember seeing Ellie Harrison's call for organisations to host a CC sign and thinking what an ideal opportunity to use the hosting period as a way to develop a focus on one of the most important issues face the people of the world. I say 'one' of the most important issues, but in reality I feel the issues of climate change and climate justice are inextricably linked with the issue of social justice. Social justice which of course encapsulates the causes of gender equality, eradication of poverty and the end of the arms race (to name but a few).

Ultimately my experience with an unsuccessful attempt to host the sign has left me fulminating at the my own ineffectiveness and the reticence of individuals and organisation to engage with vital issues and show any kind of willingness to focus on positives and work against closed mind sets.

In brief the sign was delivered to GMAC at Trongate 103 in Dec 2011. It was put together with Ellie's help and I began a long ultimately unfruitful discussion with the powers that be that were responsible of the reception area of the building.

My first mistake was to assume that the staff of Trongate 103 or my own organisation would share my enthusiasm or understanding of the importance of the sign. The situation was made significantly more difficult for me with the advent of Hurricane 'Bawbang' a storm which on the 2nd January blew the chimney through the roof of GMAC. The impact of this was to cause a great deal of problems for GMAC leading to use having to relocate for most of the year to have the roof on the building replaced. It also led me to deprioritise dealing with the sign much to Ellie's understandable consternation.

When, with Ellie's support I eventually brought the situation to a head I was stunned at the reaction of the front of house staff and their concerns about having to take responsibility for moving the sign in and out of the building - health and safety has become a dark cloak under which to throw any and every thing you want to prevent happening. It did prove Ellie's point that many people and organisations are not ready or willing to think in different ways or move from their 'comfort' zones - whether these zones are actually comfortable or not.

Eventually after causing more time to pass I realised that The Hidden Gardens might be an appropriate home for the sign. They were immensely kind and understanding and I'm very grateful to them, it also shows that there are people who get the need for a more open and supportive approach to those who use their creativity to make us think and hopefully act to address the problems of the world.

In my defence while I failed in my effort to use Ellie's sign to great effect I am still very active in trying to bring about the culture change our societies and our world needs, I'm glad to have met Ellie and hope that at some point in the future I will be able to redeem myself from this failed attempt to support her work and this vital cause. In the mean time I'll take my failure on the chin and seek to learn from it. Meanwhile I hope the signs are carrying the message for in their new homes, we need a different world, we need a better world and we are the only ones that can deliver it.