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A UWS PhD student has been recognised in Glasgow-based artist Shauna McMullan’s art installation in the Scottish Parliament.

Entitled ‘Travelling the Distance’, the installation is made up of the words of 100 women, each writing about someone who inspired them, and is both an exploration of the histories and lives of women in Scotland and a celebration of how women have contributed to the history and culture of Scotland.

To mark the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK, Shauna McMullan has revisited the artwork in the Scottish Parliament with a new digital interpretation from 10 contributors. This includes a series of portrait images and film footage of the subjects being interviewed on the impact and contributions they have made to Scottish life and culture.

Among the contributors is UWS PhD student Liz Gardiner whose PhD is a combination of UWS’ School of Media, Culture and Society and the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Liz’s project investigates the use of cultural planning in the context of Govan’s iconic A listed Graving Docks. She benchmarks this against other European cities and uncovers the possibilities, problems, issues and barriers to planning on post-industrial waterfront heritage zones through participatory art interventionism. Her case study provided inspiration for the film and image on display at the Scottish Parliament.

The doctoral project is a direct outcome of research realised under the international research network Regeneration and Waterfront Heritage Zones in Northern Europe led by Professor Katarzyna Kosmala who is Director of Studies of Liz’s PhD project together with Dr Evi Viza of the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences. 

“I am delighted to see the impact of Liz’s longitudinal research with local communities and artists, as well as her years of campaigning in support of social justice, and now a part of her doctoral investigations at UWS, has been recognised in and by Scottish Parliament on the 20th anniversary.”
UWS Professor Katarzyna Kosmala

The Presiding Officer, the Rt. Hon. Ken Macintosh MSP said: “The Travelling the Distance artwork is a big part of our history as a Parliament and it continues to intrigue and inspire our many visitors, who enjoy this unusual sculpture.

“This new digital exhibit lets visitors find out more about the fascinating women involved and their rich and varied stories for the very first time. Many well-known women feature in the sculpture but so too do the ‘unwritten women’ who do not appear in the history books and whose lives have been dedicated to the support of others.

Liz Gardiner said: “UWS are to be acknowledged for their confidence in this research project and this honour belongs to UWS.  It also belongs to the artists, activists and local people who have struggled to make best use of their community assets like Govan’s Graving Docks to bring future employment and prosperity to our poorest regions.”

Glasgow artist Shauna McMullan said: “It’s a real privilege that the Parliament is taking a fresh look at the sculpture, and I think that any opportunity to talk about the contributions women have made to history and culture is really important.

The artwork is on public display and was unveiled on 8th March 2019 to coincide with International Women’s Day. It is free to see the Travelling the Distance sculptural installation and the new digital exhibit. The artwork was funded by the Scottish Government (then Executive) and commissioned by Government and Scottish Parliament representatives.