The blue on white sign was adopted by Martin Avila, Development Director at Kinning Park Complex to be displayed outside their community building for the whole of 2019. At the end of the year, the sign travelled the short distance east across Glasgow to take up residence outside Impact Arts in Dennistoun.
Kinning Park Complex (KPC) was home to the blue and white Early Warning Sign from January 2019 until January 2020. Artist Susan Garde Pettie had it displayed outside her Democracy House project in Strachur the year before us. It’s been a very exciting and significant year for the organisation as we’ve got ownership of the building through the Community Asset Transfer and funding supported by the Scottish Land Fund. We grew our membership scheme where our members elected a new Board and we prepared the building for much needed renovation work. The sign has been placed at the entrance to the building for the last year and has become common place to visitors.
2019 was a year of great global discussion about the climate crisis. We’ve seen actions around the world take place to raise awareness of the immanent dangers of climate change and the necessity to act now. Having the sign with us over this period felt particularly special. Most visitors noticed it as they entered and for those interested or curious it would spark conversation. KPC is used by a broad demographic of people and organisations, some who are already environmentally conscious and others less so. The sign would often be a catalyst for discussion or questions. There were occasions where people didn’t realise it was about climate change at all! One visitor mentioned that they saw the sign in a positive light and thought it was demonstrating that change in general is needed in society. It was interesting that they still viewed it as a mark of protest.
From an operational point of view, the main concern was monitoring the speed of the sign in bad weather. It took some time over the first few months to get use to and manage effectively. The speed of the sign at times also caused some concern for staff and regular users; if people were in doubt, they’d let me know so I could adjust it accordingly. We’ve had ongoing issues through the years with our entrance, people often unsure how they should enter the building as the main door is around the back. We set the sign up at the entrance gate of the building and it became a point of reference for people, it was a way to described how you entered and people would look out for it to make sure they were in the right place.
As the sign moves onto its new home KPC has now closed its doors to the public. When we reopen in January 2021 (hopefully!) I think everyone will be looking out for the Early Warning Sign, wondering where it’s been placed in our newly redeveloped KPC!
Comments from staff, volunteers and visitors
• Katy, staff - "I loved the sign and associated it with the entrance to KPC. I will miss it when it’s not here."
• Clare, staff - "I was a bit scared of it because of how it picked up speed in windy weather."
• Lauren, staff - "A good visual reminder to consider the impact of climate change."
• Visitor 1 - "It took me a while staring at it to realise what the sign meant! I think I was reading it wrong. When I worked it out, I liked it a lot and took a photo."
• Visitor 2 - "When I saw the sign it was positioned at CHANGE. I thought it meant change is needed in society as a whole! Like, ‘Let’s make positive changes.’ I didn’t realise it was specific to climate change until I saw the climate side."
• Volunteer 1 - "On a good day, when it’s bright and there’s a gentle breeze, the sign builds up a good speed. Like it’s listening to music and dancing."