STEP is an exciting new work by internationally renowned artist Jacqueline Donachie, created for Glasgow International 2020. In this work, Donachie’s explores Glasgow’s architectural heritage, much of which was designed and built in the Victorian era, and examines how these built materials provide and/or restrict access to arts and culture in the city. During its creation Donachie undertook an audit of the access points for many of Glasgow’s much loved arts venues as well as temporary venues used for the GI festival; this research will form the basis of an exhibition of new work at Govan Project Space, and a public work temporarily sited in the historic but now abandoned Graving Docks on the River Clyde nearby. This cast concrete sculpture will create a vibrant place to commune and begin new discussions that examine and determine how everyone can, and should be able to access the city’s cultural heritage. In addition to the artworks, the project team will host a symposium, Step To, in collaboration with Glasgow City Heritage Trust to discuss the issues of accessible urban space in our changing cities.

To support the creation of the public sculpture SPG facilitated an Acquisition Partnership between the artist and SWG3, an arts and events venue based in Glasgow. This is a new model for the organisation, one which seeks to address an issue that many artists find themselves in when trying to realise new, ambitious works. Namely, how do I find the money to make a large sculpture for a festival and what do I do with the work afterwards if I can’t afford to store it? The Acquisition Partnership formed for STEP enabled SWG3 to co-fund production of the STEP public work in exchange for taking ownership of it afterwards. Employing this model will enable Donachie to create an ambitious new work which would not otherwise have been possible and also allows the sculpture to continue to have a life beyond the festival without any financial burden to the artist. 

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Gi 2020 has been postponed until 2021 and the STEP commission will now  be completed for the revised event next year. Please keep an eye on our website or that of Gi for any updates.

CAN: Circular Arts Network – a circular economy tool for the arts

CAN: Circular Arts Network – a circular economy tool for the arts



CAN (Circular Arts Network) is a new online platform for redistributing spare, used or surplus materials, exchanging skills, labour and coordinating transport for the benefit of your local arts community. CAN reduces waste and offers a pathway for companies and organisations to support their local arts communities by providing a platform to list materials and resources.

The project was developed by Sculpture Placement Group and Scottish Contemporary Art Network.

💫 Easy to Use

CAN is very easy to use. For any surplus materials you have, or any resources you think could be listed, all you need to do is:

1) Create a listing.
2) Post an image.
3) Specify when and where items are to be collected.

Artists will find a use for anything and everything – one organisation’s rubbish is an artist’s raw materials!

If you have any queries contact us at

#CAN #CircularArtsNetwork #PutItInTheCAN


🗣 CAN talking to the Artists

We at Sculpture Placement Group and Scottish Contemporary Art Network place the experience of the artist at the centre of our projects. We’ve spoken to artists about their practises, drawing on their experiences collecting materials, sharing skills and the overlaps between different creative disciplines. These experiences highlight the circulatory of art production and illustrate CAN’s alignment to contemporary practise in the arts.

Our first chat was with Katie Shannon. Shannon’s work spans across different disciplines utilising self-organising networks and repurposing materials to create her work. She represents the communities that exist between and within these different disciplines in a series of clothing, prints and sculptures.

Our next chat was with Scottish sculptor and writer David Batchelor who uses materials found in his searches around the streets of London in a commitment to examining colour and the latent histories of an object.

Floating Head

Floating Head

Video: based on footage from Art in the Garden Installations Glasgow Garden Festival 1988.    Music: Mort Garson – Plantasia (Homewood Records)


Floating Head is an ambitious sculpture that was commissioned for Glasgow Garden Festival, 1988. It was one of five major sculptures commissioned for the festival that were built by shipbuilders at the Govan Docks on the Clyde. The sculpture bonds Glasgow’s industrial history, materials and processes with the process of art-making. The relationship between the artist and the highly skilled shipbuilders wasn’t necessarily collaborative, but the respect between them was clear. George Bonner, one of the shipbuilders working on the project, had fond recollections of the project and artist:

“Richard Groom worked as hard as I worked on his job, I’ve never met any other artist, I worked on the ‘Nose to Nose’, ‘The Bollard’ [two of the other artworks commissioned] but I never met those artists personally. I met Richard Groom, and Richard Groom put as much into his design as I did and everybody else.”

By the end of the 1980s, the docks were a site of industry in permanent decline. The Garden Festival created a curious relationship between the deserted dry docks, once home to a booming industry, and a short-term bloom of entertainment, contemporary garden design, and rides. The sculpture itself creates a discord between weightiness and buoyancy. It’s monumental in scale, a giant floating concrete head, its profile bobbing just above the water, expressionless and stoic like a relic from a lost civilisation. Disembodied, struggling to remain afloat. 

Richard Groom was a highly skilled artist, with an early career exhibiting and selling sculptures through a major London gallery. He worked as an architectural stone carver creating works for many of Scotland’s most loved buildings. Groom taught stone carving at Telford College in Edinburgh before developing and implementing the Traditional Buildings Health Check scheme for Stirling City Heritage Trust. He remained a passionate champion of both traditional sculpture skills and the preservation of the built environment until his death in 2019.

Sculpture Placement Group are partnering with Glasgow Science Centre and the estate of Richard Groom to relocate the iconic sculpture Floating Head in the Canting Basin at Govan Docks. We intend to relocate the sculpture for the summer months of 2020, Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Water, with a view to finding a permanent location on land in the future.

To compliment the conservation project we are providing a series of workshops to allow members of the public to use Floating Head as the inspiration. We’re bringing together the combination of skills that created Floating Head and allowing participants to create their own floating sculpture and to learn about the science of floatation, as well as basic sculptural techniques.

Floating Head at its current storage site in 2020.