Early Warning Signs

Travelling Gallery

Travelling Gallery

City Art Centre
2 Market Street
(and various locations throughout Scotland)

This sign was adopted by Alison Chisholm, Curator at the Travelling Gallery to form part of their exhibitions programme in 2013. The sign was part of the gallery's spring show Turquoise Heid, which toured to various locations throughout Scotland from 1 March - 15 June 2013, and was part of the autumn show This Land from 22 August - 10 December 2013. In between the touring shows, the sign took up residence outside City Art Centre in Edinburgh.

At the end of the year the sign was returned to Glasgow by Alison Chisholm, to take up residence outside the Gallery of Modern Art for the whole of 2014.

End of Year Report

By Alison Chisholm, Curator, Travelling Gallery


The Travelling Gallery took delivery of the green on black sign from Dundee Contemporary Arts in January 2013. Until the 1st March the sign was placed outside the City Art Centre on Market Street, Edinburgh. City Art Centre Visitor Assistants and shop staff were given information on the sign so that they could answer any questions about it from visitors and a notice with information was also put in the City Art Centre window with handouts available inside. From 1st March until 15th June the sign went on tour with the Travelling Gallery as part of the TURQUOISE HEID exhibition. During this tour it visited venues in Edinburgh, Angus, South Ayrshire, West Lothian, Falkirk, East Lothian, Clackmannan, Stirling, Aberdeenshire, Highlands, Perth and Kinross and back to Edinburgh in June. From 17th June until 25th August it sat outside the City Art Centre again until it joined the Travelling Gallery as part of the THIS LAND exhibition from August to December 2013. During this tour it visited venues in the Highlands, The Western Isles, Shetland, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, Midlothian, Edinburgh, North Lanarkshire, West Lothian, finishing the tour in Arbroath at Hospitalfield House.

• Most northerly location: Baltnasound, Shetland Isles

• Most westerly location: Benbecula, North Uist, Western Isles

• Most easterly location: Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

• Most southerly location: Coylton, South Ayrshire


During the year over 17,000 people visited the Travelling Gallery, although the sign would have been visible to many more people at each location and to visitors and passersby when located at the City Art Centre. Very few people commented on the sign unless prompted. When asked, most people said they hadn’t noticed it or presumed it was just another sign. However, once it was explained or pointed out most found it of interest and it would often trigger conversations about climate change. Most of the venues visited by the Travelling Gallery during the 2 tours were schools - 74% of our visitors in 2013 were school pupils of all ages. Travelling Gallery staff would try and include the sign when talking about the exhibitions in the gallery. Sometimes, due to school scheduling, there wasn’t always time to do this in detail. But groups would be reminded to look for it on their way back to class and information on the sign was included in the exhibition leaflets which were given out to all visitors. Information was also included on the website, in the education / teachers packs produced for each exhibition and on a notice inside the gallery. The THIS LAND exhibition was a group show giving an alternative view of the Scottish landscape, so the sign, and the affects of climate change within Scotland, were relevant issues to explore. We often receive drawings and cards from schools thanking us for our visit and this year, any drawings of the Travelling Gallery often included a wee spinning sign next to it.


The sign was quite heavy and not that easy to lift / move. Staff at City Art Centre and Travelling Gallery, who were responsible for putting it out every morning and in again at night, were very glad to see it move on to the next venue! The sign had to be checked often throughout the day as rapidly changing weather conditions meant that it could go from still to vigorous spinning within a very short period of time - particularly in more remote locations. A couple of times it had to be stopped from spinning so hard it was actually ‘walking’! Often the Travelling Gallery would be parked in school playgrounds and sometimes staff would find the children holding on to the sign and using it to spin themselves round - like some play park rides. However, staff became nervous that the metal corners of the sign might hurt someone - so the sign tended to be brought inside at playtimes. There were also many times when the bolt controlling the speed of the spin had to be tightened so that the sign didn’t move at all. All this monitoring made us more aware of the climate / weather / wind in each location.

We were very happy to have been selected to host Ellie’s Climate Change sign for the year and look forward to catching up with its adventures at GoMA.