Who’s Permission Do We Need?

I was delighted to be invited to contribute to a UWS seminar this week, on participatory action research methods, to speak to PhD candidates from all over Scotland about the work of the Govan Graving Docks campaign and how it has been supported through Partnership with Fablevision, artist residencies, Creative Scotland, UWS and Liz Gardiner’s PhD research. Also how it has ultimately led to setting up the Govan Docks Regeneration Trust.

What I found from talking to some of the students (and of course a common theme outside of academia as well that we’ve found in wider discussions), is that people invariably face a negative reaction from officials if they are extensively involved in community activism or similar activity. Essentially anything that promotes positive change is seen as threatening by some officials and local councillors. It has even been suggested to us by certain councillors that we shouldn’t be allowed to discuss or raise awareness of issues and propose alternatives because they speak for “the people”.

The reality is that when we speak to “the people” for whom those councillors purport to speak, we find very different stories, ideas and aspirations.

It seems that this is going on across the country (people taking positive action are being asked who gave them permission) and we’d be very keen to hear from anyone with similar experiences.


Iain McGillivray
Executive Director, CDPI


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.