The Albert Drive Project aims to strengthen bond between artists and the local community

The Albert Drive Project aims to strengthen bond between artists and the local community

The Tramway is a co-production between Gla(s) Performance and Glasgow Life

In the past decade, the discussion between community-based arts programmes and professional artists has expanded. Whereas there was once a strict divide between the two, shows like Michael Clark’s Barrowlands Project have merged community participants and professional dancers. The Albert Drive Project, hosted at Tramway and a co-production between Glasgow Life and Glas(s) Performance, has been a year-long integration of contemporary art and community engagement.

‘The Albert Drive Project was very much based on a concept that Glas(s) Performance brought to us,’ explains Rosemary James, Audience Engagement Officer for Glasgow Life. ‘But it is something that we’d been considering: a large scale project with an arts focus.’ The project climaxes with a weekend of events, but this is the mere tip of the iceberg. ‘We have an exhibition, a performance and a shared meal!’ says Tashi Gore, an artistic director of Glas(s).

After a period of research, Glas(s) commissioned five artists, who have devised different responses to working on the titular drive. ‘They started working with us in January and we are all responding to the same question: who is my neighbour?’ Gore explains. ‘What we are interested in is: who are the people who live side by side and how, through art, can we bring them together?’

Glas(s) themselves are presenting a performance devised with members of the local community, while Nic Green has been busy making a solo, intimate show at a nearby allotment. The exhibition will showcase work inspired by the artists’ relationship with the community.

James sees the fusion of community and artists as key. ‘Behind all the processes is the belief that contemporary art can allow for an exploration of contemporary issues and allow more risk-taking to happen than more traditional community projects can.’ For Ria Din, one of the participants, the project marks an important marriage between Tramway’s reputation and its geographical location. ‘This is a positive, creative experience in that Tramway will give voice to the local community. This is the start of something that will hopefully be ongoing.’

Tramway, Glasgow, Sat 6 & Sun 7 Jul.

Albert Drive

The result of a long-term creative exploration, this performance looks at issues of community and asks the question: Who is my neighbour?