About Glasgow

Useful information abouit Glasgow

Glasgow is situated on the west coast of Scotland, within the Central Belt.

Official Language
The official language is English. Many speakers use a variety of Scots and Standard Scottish English, though like many large cities you will experience a range of different accents.

Time zone
Glasgow's time zone is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or one hour ahead of GMT, known as British Summer Time (BST) during daylight saving time in the summer months (29th March – 25th October 2020).

Conference venues

In 2001, Alasdair Gray held a Joint Professorship in Creative Writing at Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow. Gray was once Writer-in-Residence at the University of Glasgow in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this time, he was preparing final illustrations for Lanark. He also wrote one of his most celebrated short stories during this period, ‘Five Letters from an Eastern Empire’, a piece partly inspired by the role. Meanwhile, one of Gray’s crucial early patrons was Andrew Sykes, a Professor of Sociology at the University of Strathclyde who left some of his Gray paintings to Strathclyde’s Collins Gallery when he died in 1991. The Collins Gallery also held early exhibitions of Gray’s visual practice. It is therefore appropriate that these two Universities are the conference venues.

University of Strathclyde - Day
Founded in 1796 as the Andersonian Institute, University of Strathclyde is Glasgow's second-oldest university, having received its royal charter in 1964 as the first technological university in the United Kingdom. Taking its name from the historic Kingdom of Strathclyde, today it is home to 23000 students from 100 countries. In 2019 it was awarded the Times Higher Education Award for UK University of the Year, and it was named Scottish University of the Year in the Good University Guide 2020.

Conference venue at the University of Strathclyde (Day 1): 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow, G4 0QU

University of Glasgow
Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is one of the top 100 of the world's universities. The university is currently spread over a few campuses. The main one is the Gilmorehill campus, in Hillhead.

Conference venue at the University of Glasgow (Day 2): Stevenson Lecture Theatre, James Watt Building (South), University of Glasgow, Engineering Way, Glasgow, G12 8QQ

Discover Alasdair Gray's West End

In his usual self-deprecating way, Alasdair Gray once described himself as “a fat, spectacled, balding, increasingly old Glasgow pedestrian” and his life and work is entwined with the life of the city. We warmly encourage the conference participants to take the opportunity between sessions to discover Alasdair Gray’s Glasgow, especially his murals in the city’s West End, in the close proximity of the conference venues.

Òran Mór, Top of Byres Road, Glasgow, G12 8QX
Oran Mór is a large ex-church situated at the end of the Byres Road just a few minutes’ walk from Hillhead station and the Ubiquitous Chip. This cultural centre includes a concert venue-cum-theatre, restaurant and pub. In 2004, Alasdair Gray began painting the stunning ceiling mural in The Auditorium, one of the largest pieces of public art in Scotland, which was commissioned for Òran Mór by Colin Beattie. He worked on it periodically for the next 15 years.

Hillhead Subway Station, Hillhead, Glasgow G12 8SH
Those disembarking Glasgow’s subway at Hillhead are greeted by Alasdair Gray’s mural emerging as they rise towards ground level. Showing Hillhead in 2011, it stretches 40 feet across the station’s back wall, Gray’s original pen drawing transferred onto ceramic tiles by collaborator and fellow artist Nichol Wheatley. The central section constitutes a panorama of the surrounding streets, replete with names sketched into the roads in Gray’s handwriting, pointing out the University of Glasgow, Botanic Gardens and other landmarks. Gray stated, “I have lived and worked in the district since 1969, and I knew I would enjoy depicting it, and those who use the subway, in a symbolic and humorous way.”

Ubiquitous Chip, 12 Ashton Ln, Hillhead, Glasgow G12 8SJ
This Glasgow institution containing a pub, a brasserie and Scottish cuisine restaurant, features Alasdair Gray’s murals in three places. The most prominent of the three, ʻArcadia’, is housed in the unassuming stairwell between the Wee Pub and brasserie. First painted in the late seventies, it was updated incrementally in 1980, 1981, 2000 and 2006, with Gray painting the murals in return for food and drink. The mural depicts West End characters amid the tree of life. Many of these portraits are of long-serving restaurant staff and friends of Alasdair Gray.