Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival Unveils ‘The Sensory City’ in Celebration of Trust’s 40th Anniversary

The highly anticipated Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival launches its programme today, which forms part of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust’s (GBPT) 40th anniversary celebrations, who have coordinated the event since 1990.

From 11-17 September, the festival will treat attendees to a series of heritage talks, exhibitions, and open buildings, centred around the theme of ‘The Sensory City,’ inspired by the renowned poet Liz Lochhead and her poem ‘A Glasgow nonsense rhyme for Molly’.

In addition to the usual emphasis on visual aspects in architecture, this year’s theme delves into the non-visual senses – touch, taste, sound, and smell – and their profound impact on our experience of the city. Visitors will be invited to embark on a journey of sensory exploration, unlocking a deeper connection to Glasgow, while reflecting on its rich cultural heritage and its influence on the vibrant city we know today.

Visitors can enjoy a range of events, with more than 100 buildings open to the public and an exciting lineup of over 100 trails, tours, and special events to choose from. For those seeking an alternative experience, digital trails, films, and resources can be accessed online. All events are free to attend, but some require advance booking. Reserving your spot can be done through the festival website, starting from early September.

For the second year, the festival hub will be hosted at the University of Glasgow’s new flagship research building the Advanced Research Centre (the ARC), providing a venue for talks, activities, and exhibitions throughout the festival.

This year’s events programme includes:

  • The Calton Cats Exhibition, a unique display that delves into the history of dyeing at The Pipe Factory, a project developed in collaboration with pupils from the Gaelic Annex at North Kelvinside Primary School.
  • The rich heritage of Glasgow’s vibrant weaving history with artists Adam Stearns and Mary Clare Lacey in their ‘Loom that Broke My Heart’ Exhibition at the French Street Weaving Factory.
  • Winners of the 2022 Glasgow Doors Open Day Festival’s ‘Outstanding Event’ award, The Tenementals return with their celebrated A History of Glasgow in Song at St Luke’s.
  • The New Glasgow Society presents a storytelling tour of the city’s derelict buildings, offering a unique perspective on Glasgow’s architectural past.

Visitors can also: visit the West Boathouse, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust’s newly finished project, in the festival programme for the first time since renovation completed ; admire the recently refurbished B-listed Camphill Gate tenement building in Glasgow’s Southside; explore the remarkable achievements of Glasgow City Improvement Trust and witness the city’s transformation with conservation architect and Director of  Glasgow City Heritage Trust, Niall Murphy, or celebrate a century of public health at the University of Glasgow’s Clarice Pears exhibition, an excellent opportunity to explore this brand new building.

Younger audiences can indulge in a tour of Crookston Castle led by The Village Storytelling Centre, where they can immerse themselves in the castle’s captivating history through interactive sensory experiences. Or embark on an action-packed journey as we explore the captivating world of superhero movies in Glasgow with Superhero City.

Liz Davidson, Chair of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, said: This year’s programme is something we’re eagerly looking forward to sharing with the broader Glasgow community. What makes this year even more special for us is the celebration of our 40th anniversary. This milestone offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the tremendous impact the Trust’s projects have had on both the community and the city over the past four decades. It’s a time to pause and contemplate how these initiatives can leave a lasting legacy for the city of tomorrow. We, at the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, are excited about the prospect of continuing our mission for another 40 years – rescuing and repurposing historic buildings across the city, while positively working with the community and the city as a whole.”

Stephen Sheriff, Festival Coordinator, said: “Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival promises an unforgettable week of discovery and appreciation for the city’s history, culture, and significance. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, this event is an opportunity to forge a deeper connection with Glasgow, experiencing its vibrant past and its promising future. Once again, we express our heartfelt gratitude to every participant, whether individuals or organisations, for their unwavering dedication in making this year’s festival an outstanding success. Your hard work and commitment will be instrumental in creating an unforgettable experience for all attendees.”

Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival launches their programme on Tuesday 08 August. All events are free to attend, but some require advance booking. Reserving your spot can be done through the festival website, starting from early September. 

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