Protest, culture and examples of Glasgow’s colourful character appear on a new ‘alternative’ timeline of the city’s history. A new exhibition is looking back at the momentous - and not so momentous - events in the city's past. Sandra Dick reports

A chance meeting in an all-night café, a community sit-in and the defiant spectacle of the first Glasgay! Festivals are not what you might expect to find lurking in the pages of most Scottish history records.

However, an eclectic range of events, personal experiences and protests – from battling baggage handler John Smeaton’s “This is Glasgow; we’ll set about ye” response to the Glasgow Airport terror attacks to objections to the construction of a motorway through Pollok Park and the 60th taxi drivers’ outing to Troon – have all been nominated to appear as key components of an alternative history to Glasgow.

They are now set to appear alongside the devastating Glasgow School of Art fire, The Clutha Bar tragedy and the demolition of the Red Row flats – plus several other less obvious events - as part of an artistic concept of Glasgow’s history over the past 30 years.

The suggestions were made in response to a call from a St Petersburg art collective, Chto Delat, for members of the public to share a story, event or something they feel is missing in the way the history of Glasgow has been promoted from 1989 to the present day.

The artists will unveil Times, Lines, 1989s and their alternative Glasgow timeline at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Sauchiehall Street next weekend.

Running alongside will be a global timeline of key events spanning the 30 years from 1989 – the year of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the massacre in Tiananmen Square and the beginning of political reform across Eastern Europe. It’s intended to illustrate events in the city through its citizens’ eyes against an international landscape.

Suggestions for the alternative history of the city include events which illustrate Glasgow’s campaigning spirit – including a sit-in at a Kinning Park community centre in response to proposed cuts and the battle to prevent a motorway slicing through Pollok Park.

There are also key art events and festivals which helped position Glasgow as a thriving cultural hub, alongside major incidents which left the city wounded but also brought to the fore its strength of character, such as the Glasgow Airport terrorist attack and the Clutha bar tragedy.

Suggestions include a photographic exhibition of Glasgow allotments, A Patch of One's Own, and the launch of Matchbox Cineclub, Glasgow's biggest and longest running film club.

Ainslie Roddick, CCA Curator, said the call for public submissions had resulted in a broad mix of suggestions, including some which were deeply personal along with others which made national headlines at the time.

“We were hoping to get things that maybe aren’t usually presented as important,” she said. “The whole thing is very subjective – anyone adding to the timeline will be writing about an event from their perspective.”

As a result, along with well-known headline-making events, are others which may have slipped under the radar or are personal memories.

“One comment was someone who met a person called Alex at Café Insomnia in 2001,” says Ms Roddick. “While it was an important moment for that person, it’s also a reminder of a place which meant something to a lot of people and which is no longer open.”

Based in Woodlands Road in the West End, Café Insomnia opened round the clock and was at its liveliest in the early hours of the morning when clubbers would mix with night-shift taxi drivers and students. A key feature was a gallery wall featuring work by local artists.

The timeline will stretch 20m along the gallery wall, with space to allow visitors to add items or text which they feel represents a y relevant moment in Glasgow’s story.

Chto Delat is an international collective of artists, philosophers and activists involved in the politicisation of knowledge, working with theatre, exhibition-making, publishing, film and performance.

Their work is always created in relation to local contexts and international solidarities and intends to explore the ways in which social and political struggles have been repressed by mainstream culture and structures.

Ms Roddick added: “This work is an attempt to learn about different kinds of material conditions within our locale, and to have meaningful discussions with people around the city.”

Chto Delat: Times, Lines, 1989s is at CCA, Sauchiehall Street from Saturday, August 10 to Sunday, September 8.

From battling terror attacks to saving trees, Glasgow’s fighting spirit, love of a good get-together and sense of justice are among key elements singled out as part of the city’s ‘alternative history’.

1996: Kinning Park protests

Plans to close the Kinning Park neighbourhood centre in Cornwall Street in 1996 brought the community together in a remarkable occupation.

After 55 days Glasgow City Council agreed to give the building to the community, with art project Scotland in Europe and a local management group in charge.

Artists including Peter Howson, Belinda Gilbert Scott and Richard Walker made use of its empty classrooms.

1993: Glasgay! Festival

Created in response to Section 28 legislation which banned the promotion of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, Glasgay! Festival made lesbian and gay culture visible on the city’s streets.

Launched in October 1993, it ran until 2014 and at its height was the UK’s largest multi-arts festival for the LGBT community.

2006: Radical Independent Bookfair

Intended to replace the city’s declining independent bookshops, the 10-year project supported small and independent publishers and circulated a range of radical publications.

Pop-up bookstalls appeared in pubs and halls dotted across the city. As well as bookstall and shop, it provided an avenue for people to share thoughts and ideas.

2011: Free Hetherington campaign

Angered by the threat of cuts, Glasgow University students barricaded themselves into the former post-graduate club in a protest that spanned 212 days.

An attempt by police to evict the students sparked outrage before the students eventually ended their occupation.

1997: Election of UK's first Muslim MP

Mohammed Sarwar’s election as MP for Glasgow Govan saw the first Muslim representative in the Houses of Parliament.

He was the first MP to swear the Oath of Allegiance on the Qur'an, using a 250-year-old copy which was later exhibition at Scotland Street School Museum.

2005: 60th anniversary of Taxis to Troon

Since 1945, Glasgow taxi drivers have given up a day’s work in order to decorate their cabs and take children with a range of challenges for a day at the seaside.

The 2005 event saw 180 balloon covered vehicles, carrying up to 600 children to Troon, with crowds lining parts of the route.

1995: M77 protests

Plans to route the M77 motorway through Pollok Park saw part of the park declared the “Pollok Free State”.

Protestors occupied treehouses, built tunnels and created a ‘Carhenge’ of burnt-out vehicles. They were eventually evicted, and the road was built.

2018 Glasgow Women’s Strike

A 12-year fight for equal pay saw thousands of women march through Glasgow city centre, most of whom had never been on a picket line.

The two-day action affected a range of vital services, including homecare, schools, nurseries, cleaning and catering services.

2001: Ladyfest, Glasgow

Ladyfest, an arts festival for feminists and women artists, was first held in American in 2000.

The Glasgow version became the second-ever Ladyfest, and the city’s first independent, international, non-profit festival of its kind. The event attracted women from all over the world and provided a platform for feminist discussion and celebration.

2007: Glasgow Airport terror attack.

A Jeep packed with propane canisters was driven into Glasgow Airport’s busy terminal at the height of the summer holiday season.

Among several who battled to apprehend the terrorists and help others to safety, was off-duty bag handler John Smeaton.

His comment – “This is Glasgow, we’ll just set aboot ye” – seemed to epitomise city’s fighting spirit and colourful character.