UWS academics to explore waterfront regeneration of COP26 site

The COP26 venue’s waterfront will be the focus of a University of the West of Scotland (UWS) project examining low-carbon urban regeneration.

UWS academics to explore waterfront regeneration of COP26 site

Situated directly opposite Glasgow’s OVO Hydro – the COP26 hub – the historic Govan Graving Docks is the location for the UWS study considering what the history, and potential future, of the dry docks tell us about the challenges and opportunities for re-developing urban waterfront sites for low-carbon futures.

The project is part of a range of activities led by UWS, aimed at helping efforts to tackle the climate emergency.

Professor Craig Mahoney, UWS principal and vice-chancellor, said: “UWS has made a commitment to tackling the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and I’m delighted we can offer a truly creative approach to discussing some of the sustainable development challenges experienced globally.”

“There is no better time for UWS to open up these important conversations and showcase how we, along with a wide range of research partners, can contribute solutions to help tackle climate change.”

The abandoned and unused Govan Graving Docks – hindered by difficulties in planning for a sustainable and inclusive post-industrial cityscape – will be the focus for one of a series of events hosted by UWS, highlighting the University’s innovative contribution to global sustainability.

Built for Clyde Navigation Trust between 1869 and 1898, Govan Graving Docks is an iconic waterfront heritage site that has been at the frontline of urban socioeconomic change for more than four centuries. It encapsulates the west of Scotland’s complex maritime history, the contested stories of empire, deindustrialisation, and stalled regeneration efforts.

Led by Professor Katarzyna Kosmala and Professor Graham Jeffery, UWS School of Business and Creative Industries, the event draws on UWS-led research exploring participatory approaches to waterfront regeneration in urban spaces which are in transition. The study focuses on the regeneration of Govan, Glasgow and Gdansk, Poland - each of which are dealing with the consequences of the post-industrial demise of the shipbuilding industry, trying to find sustainable transition into a new economy and community.

The immersive event is framed around regeneration and sustainability issues and will include a relational walk to the nearby A-listed dry docks, as well as a community performance and on-site installation – linked to the ‘No New Worlds’ installation from Still Moving.

Dr Lucy Meredith, provost and deputy vice-principal, said: “I am delighted that UWS can offer an artistic perspective to exploring hard-hitting global issues. Having a well-known local landmark as the focus for the project makes the worldwide sustainability challenges, we face more relatable to our local communities.”

Professor Kosmala added: “At UWS, we are well aware of the transformative impact of the arts, and indeed, communicating research in this way can be a very powerful tool, influencing opinions and allowing for a wide audience to see the very nature of a problem for themselves.

“I am proud that we have the opportunity to share this very relevant and, I hope, thought-provoking project with a wide audience as part of the University’s COP26 programme.”

The event, entitled ‘Creativity and climate justice on the waterfront: Insights from Glasgow. Govan Graving Docks’, will take place at Glasgow’s Film City on 5 November, 10am to 1pm. This creative project forms part of a series of events from UWS, taking place on the lead-up to, and during, COP26 – offering different perspectives and discussions around solutions to some of the sustainability and climate challenges we face globally.

To find out more about UWS’s COP26 programme and related research, visit www.uws.ac.uk/COP26.

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