Open Call - Art in the Gart

The art in the gart gallery is situated in a wide, bright public corridor in Gartnavel Royal Hospital

The gallery is currently curated by Project Ability and provides exhibition space to artists and community groups who have an association with Greater Glasgow and Clyde North West mental health services. This is an open call for artists to submit work to the gallery for an exhibition spanning four months from September 2015 to January 2016

Individual artists or artist groups should contact Elisabeth Gibson on or 0141 552 2822 by the 31st July for further information.

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Woodland Community Gardens

On Thursday the 25th of June, Kevin Cantwell, one of Project Ability's current ReSearch artists, visited Woodland Communty Gardens to deliver a one-off workshop. He met with a very keen group of gardeners to make pieces of art to decorate their garden.

Despite the awful weather, the group created weird and wonderful new plants and flowers using recycled items such as garden canes and plastic bottles, and 'planted' their creations around the gardens, injecting some much needed colour on what was a very grey day! 

The group continued to work through the rain to also produce a giant hedgehog using scraps of wood and willow, and placed their new spikey friend in amongst the flowers of the garden.

The weather certainly didn't hamper this group on what was a very productive and lively workshop, they even had a visit from a local fox!

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A third day for ReConnect!

We are delighted to announce that there will be a third day of ReConnect workshops, starting with this coming block. 

The visual arts workshops for adults experiencing mental ill health will now run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Participants can sign up for one or more sessions. Tuition and support is on hand from 10 -1pm while the studio itself is open from 10 – 3pm.

The next block will start on Tuesday 7th July. 

There are still a few places available, but they are going fast, so don't wait to book! Call us on 0141 552 2822 or email for more information or to receive a booking form. 

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Shop Item of the Week – Ostrich by Cameron Morgan

This week, our Shop Item of the Week is another Cameron Morgan original ceramic piece.  This rather proud ostrich is quite special, and can now be spotted in its new habitat - our gallery shop! Come have a browse, and perhaps leave with a new friend!

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Owen Scullion reaches the final of ‘Create! Art for Autism’

Create participant Owen Scullion has reached the final of the annual ‘Create Art for Autism’ competition!  Owen’s Gollum sculpture has been selected from hundreds of entries as one of the final 6 in the 3D Artwork category.

Create Art for Autism is a national competition celebrating the work of young artists aged 11-25, so we're very excited that Owen's fantasic sculture has been chosen. 

You can vote for Owen in the People’s Choice Award by clicking here  -

Well done, Owen!

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Congratulations to Scott Lang!

Scott Lang, a former participant in the Connect programme, has recently graduated from Glasgow Kelvin College, with his fine work on display as part of their degree show.  His website can be found at - here's how Scott describes the motivations behind artwork:

'My recent practice has drawn on Glasgow’s ‘traditional’ gang culture. Personal experience, having briefly joined a gang in my teenage years, informs and connects with my research. Although brief, my involvement with gangs has had a significant and prolonged effect which has influenced several aspects of my life.

My work has explored the many facets of Glasgow’s gang culture, the territorial nature of gangs, the associated status symbols, the multicultural makeup of contemporary gangs and the stereotypical representations of gang members. By addressing these stereotypes, I endeavour to add humorous elements to what can be a very dark subject.

I usually begin by creating photomontage images which I then explore in a variety of media, including various printmaking techniques and mixed media pieces. I often try to incorporate materials relevant to the subject matter; spray paint with stencilled images, for example, to reflect street/urban art and gang tag practice.'

Well done, Scott - we love your work!  

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Project Ability and C-Change in Aberdeen

If you have a learning disability and are over 50 years old, it is quite likely you spent time in hospital. At that time there was far less social care available to support people living in their own homes and many people with learning disabilities spent years living in hospital. By the 1990’s social attitudes had begun to change; the hospitals started closing and people were moving out of hospital and into the community. By the turn of the century most hospitals in Scotland had closed or were very close to closure.

In 2012, Project Ability and C-Change Glasgow received funding from the Heritage Lottery and worked together to create a social history project for people who had lived in Lennox Castle Hospital; to share their photographs and memories and tell their stories in their own words on film, in text and in pictures and objects.  The work was framed within a website, several publications and exhibitions. Lennox Castle Hospital was a large long stay hospital ten miles outside Glasgow which closed in 2002.

On Tuesday 16th June Project Ability artists Tracy Gorman and Cameron Morgan were in Aberdeen. They had been invited by our friends at C-Change to come to their Aberdeen office to meet people with a learning disability who had lived in hospital, notably Ladybridge in Banff, to see if they were interested in getting involved in their own social history project. 

Tracy and Cameron had searched the internet for maps and images of the hospital and planned to use these as a starting point for discussion, an “aide memoire” but this amazing group had pin sharp memories and did not require any prompting. They embraced the concept of the project with gusto! The photographs were poured over and in a few short hours people and places named, the surrounding farms and villages were located and the Ladysbridge train station which was closed to passengers in 1964 and to all traffic in 1968. 

We would like to return to talk to more people and gather in contributions from ex patients, ex staff and family members but right now we will continue to keep in contact with the people we met on the 18th and together plan how we can take this important work forward.

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Walking Group - Week 13: The Tall Ship

Last Wednesday wasn't the loveliest of days for a walk so it was no bad thing that the walking group were heading for an indoor location - The Tall Ship.

After a walk through the Transport Museum to see some of the exhibits there the group boarded the ship.

The tour-guide provided a very interesting and insightful tour and everyone in the group was appalled by the cramped conditions and the dangers the sailors would have experienced.

For more information about The Tall Ship visit the website at

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Donate now - Harriet’s story


Project Ability uses the funds we raise to keep the cost of our programming as low as possible so it is accessible to all and of the highest quality; providing expert tuition and professional materials. One of our young artists, Harriet Campbell, wanted to share her story and show how Project Ability has had an impact on her life.

"I have attended Project Ability for 4 years now and I love it. I look forward to my class each week and enjoy the positive atmosphere in the studio. I am completely relaxed and able to focus on what I enjoy doing because the environment and staff are fabulous. I am supported and guided when I need help but mainly encouraged and praised about my work – this makes me feel amazing!!!

Having my work displayed in the gallery was the best feeling ever… it gave lots of people the chance to see exactly why Project Ability means so much to me and the many others who are lucky enough to attend.  I loved reading all the comments that visitors to the exhibition made – it was wonderful.
Project Ability is a place I feel safe and accepted for who I am.  I love me weekly classes."

Harriet’s first solo exhibition Total Drama Island was shown in our gallery from the 20 – 30 May 2015, and received fantastic feedback: "We loved it. Fresh, original, vibrant colours. Make them into cards please!" , "Harriet, this is amazing work, so full of romance and humour, emotion and action… And those colours!"

Your donation will help us to continue to provide a first rate arts service to Harriet and the 300 people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental ill health who access the programme each week. Aged from 5 years to 80 plus the artists benefit from accessing our superb studios in the centre of Glasgow, taking part in a challenging, innovative, inclusive workshop programme that provides opportunities for people to learn, develop and exhibit their art work contributing to the vibrancy of Glasgow’s artist community.

Thank you!

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KEY commissions two artworks by Cameron Morgan

There are many ways to support Project Ability and our artists, whether you make a monthly or one-off donation, raise funds for us, or buy an artwork. KEY did just that, by specially commissioning two artworks from artist Cameron Morgan for one of their staff's retirement.

"Cameron is well known to many of us in KEY and has been for many years; indeed we, and Val in particular, have keenly followed the progress of his career across this time. Therefore, artwork from an artist as talented as Cameron and whose work demonstrates a clear love of Scotland and the Scottish outdoors seemed the perfect choice of gift to mark Val’s retirement, especially as she shares this passion and enthusiasm for Scotland’s landscapes.  As the photo shows, Val was absolutely delighted to receive 2 specially commissioned pieces by Cameron."

If you are thinking about commissioning some work from a Project Ability artist, please get in touch on 0141 552 2822 or

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The Media Unit is open for business

The Media Unit is open for business, delivering a professional service for filming conferences and events and creating training and promotional films.

The Media Unit provides opportunities for young people with disabilities to gain work experience and paid employment in the digital media industry; creating short films and digital content for a range of multi-platform distribution. 

Last week the talented duo of Max and Sam McIlmunn were on the road filming for the Shine Partnership at Stenhousemuir Cricket Club and Falkirk Football Ground.

Are you looking for a first rate media production company to film an event? Do you want new content for a website? Contact the Media Unit on or call 0141 552 2822 for further information.

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The Pencil Line

A few weeks ago, Cameron Morgan attended a meeting in London for his Unlimited Commission. During his train journey, he was handed a few shell posters to draw on, as part of the Pencil Line project, which was set up by artist Rebecca Swindell in partnership with Virgin Trains.

"The project, which will run until October 2015, creates an online gallery of drawings produced by people travelling on trains. A number of the submitted drawings will be selected for our poster campaign and ebook editions, the first of which will be published in April 2015 and the second in July 2015. They will both be available through this website."

Cameron didn't need to be asked twice! The artist spent a good portion of his journey drawing scenes from his surroundings, including other commuters and even his bottle of irn bru! His drawings can be seen on the Pencil Line's online gallery. One of them was even selected to be made into a poster! What a fantastic project!

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Shop Item of the Week – Untitled (Fisherman) by David Bradley

The week, our Shop Item of the Week is an untitled acrylic on board piece by David Bradley, depicting a fisherman.  David's work is very popular, and for only £15 this certainly represents a bargain! Available online, or in our gallery shop. Don't miss it!

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A Fairer Scotland at The Scottish Parliament, 18th June 2015.

To mark Learning Disability Awareness Week, The Scottish Parliament hosted an evening of fine art, dance and song. We were invited to transform the Garden Lobby, and installed a selection of paintings produced by artists attending our Aspire programme for people with learning disabilities. 

The work was much admired, and artists Cameron Morgan and Jonathan McKinstry were on hand to talk about their paintings and their studio practice.  Cameron and Jonathan are both accomplished artists and have exhibited widely - locally and internationally - and were honoured to show their work is such an esteemed setting.

Cameron said: ‘It was great. I enjoyed the all the performances and the dancing. Everybody loved it!’

Jonathan said:  ‘It was a transcendent experience! I enjoyed talking to people, and I’m getting better at talking in public.’

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Learning Disability Week 2015

Today marks to start of Learning Disability Week 2015, and Project Ability will take part in two events for the occasion.

On Wednesday 17 June, the Lighthouse will host SCLD's free event 'Women with Learning Disabilities: Equal and Healthy Lives'. This women-only event is a chance for women with learning disabilities to come together to talk about the barriers they face, to hear presentations and to discuss ways to have healthy lives and healthy relationships. Project Ability will provide a splash of colour for the day, with paintings by women artists from our Aspire programme.

The following day, a selection of works by Aspire artists will be exhibited in a one-off event in the Scottish Parliament, where Learning Disability organisations Project Ability and Indepen-Dance have been invited to present themselves to the Scottish MPs. Cameron Morgan and Jonathan McKinstry will be there to represent the artists.

Follow #LDWeek15 to keep up to date with all the events taking place this week. 

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Shop Item of the Week - Ruth Mutch designed tea towels

It's Shop Item of the Week time again, and what better item to start it off again than these beautifully designed tea towels by artist Ruth Mutch, including her signature penguins in various attire.

Priced at £8, this fun kitchen accessory is available from both our online and gallery shops. Pick up one today before they sell out!

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Walking Group - Week 12: Dams to Darnley

Dams to Darnley is quite a new country park which straddles the Glasgow and East Renfrewshire boundary.

It has a network of paths for walking and cycling through a variety of landscapes and is a lovely place for a leisurely walk. The group took a bus from the city centre to Nitshill and from there it was a short walk to the entrance of the park.

The sun was shining and there was even a little bit of warmth in the air so it was a good day to be in the great outdoors. The surroundings were green and lush and the aroma of wild garlic filled the air.

The group only managed to walk a small fraction of the parkland and plan to visit again in the future to explore a bit further.

You can find information about the park at 

More photos on our Facebook page.

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Meet the Volunteers - Gillian Duffy

 This week, we'd like to introduce you to the brilliant Gillian Duffy, who has been volunteering with our Create Saturday Visual Arts Classes.

"I started volunteering at Project Ability to understand the innovative workshops styles that Project Ability run. In doing so I got to know of the participants; the children and adults, as well as other volunteers and staff members. I enjoyed sharing interests with them and ways of working. It was refreshing to observe the children's way of working, as they were full of energy and enthusiastic to create. I thought it was great how the children responded to tools and mediums imaginatively, even things that perhaps they had not seen before, for example, many really liked using the overhead projectors to change the scale of their drawings and found it really exciting to use the old –fashioned tool.

Witnessing the concentrated focus on their work at times was remarkable for such young children. I enjoyed seeing their individual themes develop over the weeks, such as one boy who liked drawing pictures of different cats his family had over the years. He used the illustrations to explain a narrative from his personal history. It makes me wonder about art education, and whether it’s about filling children’s heads with knowledge or is it about drawing out the ideas and talents from within them?

About me:
I developed my skills in painting and printmaking while studying on the Fine Art Painting and Printmaking degree course at Art School. Since then, I have produced work at the Glasgow Print studio and 'La Fleur de Pierre' lithography studio in Paris. I am very interested in the traditional skills and methods for mark making. I have also been a youth worker and taught English abroad.
I went back to study last year this time on the Masters of Design Innovation and Citizenship at the Glasgow School of Art. On the course, I learned about audience and community engagement with an emphasis on services for citizens, and I used research methods and service design practice. I am keen to keep working with children and get into teaching.

In my personal research and artwork I have been fascinated by Glasgow’s culture and the wealth of history from The River Clyde; how it was home to shipbuilding, which employed many thousands of Glasgow’s workforce, and the local tourism "Doon The Watter”, which is fondly remembered with nostalgia.

I am interested in stories and images about the collective history and try to re-imagine this for a new technologically advanced generation. I wonder if younger generations could admire this history of local tourism, or is it just something their grandparents speak of? How do these black and white photographs compete with the fairy tale branding of Disney and the full colour paradise beautifully captured in travel adverts. I hope to continue working with Project Ability and to explore the opportunity to further develop this research and get responses from some of their groups."

Thank you Gillian!

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Kaarisilta Biennale 2015

Finnish support studio Kaarisilta, which was one of the 10 invited organisations during the International Summit for Learning Disability Artists and their Support Studios, are organising an art Biennale, opening on the 16th June.

After the success of their first Biennale in 2013, which showcased work by Finnish artists with learning disabilities, they invited other international artists to take part in this year's edition. Our very own Lesley Nimmo will see some of her striking paintings exhibited in this event until 02 August.

Preview Friday 12 June, 5pm.

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Artwork of the Week

For this week’s Artwork of the Week, we have chosen one of the photographs by Ida Arentoft which we will be exhibiting in our gallery from this evening.  A striking image, encapsulating the essence of Ida and Simon McAuley’s exhibition ‘On the same latitude’ which explores shared moments and collaborative action.  Come along from 6pm until 8pm to see the works, as well as partaking in some refreshments!

The exhibition will run until the 18th of July, so make sure to see it while you can.

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Unlimited information session in London

On Friday 29th July artist Cameron Morgan attended an Unlimited Commission information session at the British Council in London. 

Cameron travelled down the day before, met up with artist / researcher and friend of Project Ability Janekta Platun for fish and chips and a pint, fitted in a quick visit to our friends at Action Space, went to the Southbank where he will exhibit in September 2016, visited the National Gallery and took in Buckingham Palace. That’s how to do London in a day and a half!

Cameron is one of the recipient of the Unlimited Commissions for 2015, celebrating the work of disabled artists.

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Writing workshop at Glasgow Sculpture Studios

The Project Ability walking group had a visit to the Glasgow Sculpture Studios recently and took part in a writing workshop led by our good friend Joanna Peace. The artists posted some of their writings on the ReConnect blog.

Jane Fisher

So I’m going to fly and have no steps and I will glide and slide through my journey. And everything will happen at the tip of my fingers, floating gently through the past and the present. And I remember many times and I move in different layers, slipping easily between each one. And I see the man and I hear the voices and I wonder at the shops opposite and I forget that I’m out of time standing with a foot here and a foot there. And the route of the bus is a path through time and place, holding me together in various points and I can spin and be held in and never gall off.

And you are here and here and here and here and here and here.

In case you are lost, know that you are here.

And I am lost, lost, lost.

or never found, found, found.

… and I’m travelling through time again, a pilgrim walking across the ages, my cockleshell badge sewn to my hat, no harm will come to me as my talisman of safety blazes.

Morag Macgilchrist

Coffee Cup Lid AKA The Flight

As the lid says the contents are hot. So when it came to it one couldn’t fly away to save the world carrying coffee. It was dropped in the gutter, discarded in favour of doing right by society… even if littering is a crime.

Read more on the ReConnect blog.

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Meet the Volunteers - Philippa Kuligowski

It's Volunteers Week, and we would like to take this opportunity to let all our volunteers know how valuable they are! We regularly celebrate our volunteers via our Meet the Volunteers, and this week we'd like to introduce you to Philippa Kuligowski, who has been a fantastic addition to our Art Matters workshops.

"Since graduating from Painting and Printmaking at GSA in 2013 I have continued to explore the formal elements of painting and drawing within less conventional media such as film, collage and installation.

My role with Project Ability has allowed me to develop these themes and has given me the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of exciting artists who seem to be instinctively equipped with the formal elements of aesthetics that I strive for in my own work.

What initially drew me to Project Ability was the calibre of work being produced for the exhibitions and events I had visited however, as soon as I began as a member of the team I quickly realised that the work itself was secondary to the experience of working with such unique characters within such a dynamic and ever-developing community of diverse practitioners.

A truly worthwhile experience."

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Gartnavel visual arts workshops

Project Ability recently started a series of workshops in Gartnavel Royal Hospital. Tutor Meredith Crone tells us more about what patients have been working on.

"On the 1st May Project Ability started a block of visual art workshops for patients of the Adult Wards of Gartnavel Royal Hospital. The workshops have thus far proved to be very popular with an average of 9 patients accessing the 2 hour sessions from the 3 different wards ; - McNair, Henderson and Rutherford. As well as up to 11 patients there have also been nursing staff, an occupational therapist and volunteers. Despite being very busy there has been a brilliant atmosphere with tremendous peer support from staff and patients alike, everyone present being invited to join in the creative process and explore the materials at hand.

The sessions have been open to patients at various stages of their recovery, from people under constant observation to others who are awaiting their imminent discharge from hospital. The average stay in these wards is around 4 weeks, so from the point of view of delivering these art workshops you can never be entirely sure who might be present the following week. Needless to say of course, if someone isn’t present due to release from hospital that is the best outcome possible. This taken into account and the fact that patients might expect visitors during the session means that a fairly flexible approach to the artwork is best. I have been preparing and planning to follow up ideas that have developed over the weeks, but also trying to allow a certain immediacy to occur whereby someone can express a feeling or an idea in that moment we have during the session.

An initial theme was working with silhouette forms to make stencils. Using diffusers the stencils were placed on coloured grounds and sprayed with ink. Over the course of these first five weeks the group have moved on to exploring drawing and painting with chalks, inks and watercolours on paper, with one patient requesting a canvas. The format and media have been a response to the express interests of the participants involved and the nature of the sessions themselves.

A really interesting body of artwork is being produced from people with different sorts of experience in the field of visual art , from art school trained to people who haven’t engaged in art activity since their school days."

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ReConnect paint mixing workshops

A group of ReConnect artists has been taking part in a paint mixing workshop for the last few weeks.

Tutored by Simon McAuley, the artists explore the possibilities of colour mixing, and are achieveing very interesting results through experimentation.

Instead of creating a finished piece, participants are producing swatch cards, with the objective of using their different results in future artworks.

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A new social history project for C-Change and Project Ability

Have you lived in a long stay hospital or similar type of institution? Do you have a story to tell? 

Project Ability and C-Change are working together to capture stories from people with learning disabilities who lived in long stay hospitals in North East Scotland.

A lot of people with learning disabilities in their fifties and older (some younger!) will have lived in long stay hospitals at some point in their life. The hospitals closed over twenty years ago but we still think it is important to capture people’s stories and to celebrate their achievements; home, friends and family, work and play to reflect on how life has changed for people with learning disabilities in the last twenty years.

The project will get started with a consultation event on Tuesday 16th June 2015. This is a chance to find out more about the project, what is involved and what your contribution might be. Taking part in a visual art workshop you can use text, painting, drawing, collage, photographs to express a memory and make a statement.

The workshop is free of charge. If you would like to attend this workshop please register on 01224 974 730 (dates-n-mates Aberdeen)

Date: Consultation event on Tuesday 16th June 2015
Time: Drop in visual art workshops from 10.00am – 12 noon and 1.00 – 3.00pm
Venue: C-Change Scotland, 2 Poynernook Road, Aberdeen, AB11 5RW (city centre next to Union Square)


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