A collaborative DIY workshop exploring heritage and activism around the Forth and Clyde Canal from the 1970s to now.

In this workshop we will collaboratively design and build prototypes for outdoor furniture or interactive objects inspired by Glasgow Canal’s muddy history.

Most of us know our patch of the Forth and Clyde Canal well, we walk the towpaths with a dog or pram or commute to where we need to be along its leafy sides, some of us fish in it, others float on it, and many use it to measure the change in seasons. But things could have gone very differently and the canal as we know it could have been nothing but the idealistic dreams of some young activists.

With the help of members of the Forth and Clyde Canal Society, we will explore the period in the canal’s history between 1970 – 90 where the canal was closed and left to dereliction. Participants can share stories about the canal, it’s role in Glasgow’s industrial past, their experiences of it changing over to the years, how they use it now, and find out about how communities all along the winding banks fought, with trowels, shovels, saws, hammers & even floating mattresses, for the right to enjoy it.

Taking inspiration from this successful period of local activism, and responding to the recent Glasgow COP26 climate conference, we will work together to design social furniture or interactive objects that respond to local issues along the canal that matter to us.

We will consider how the shape, location, and look of objects condition the way we behave around them, both as individuals and collectively. How could we edit their design to enhance our behaviour and interactions in public space?


Learning Outcomes:

Introduction to Carpentry

Understanding of tools and best practice techniques

Basic principles of design and technical drawing

Preparing a cutting list

Understanding materials and what they can do

Scribing and marking wood

Joint preparation and making

Construction methods



We will cover:

• The Forth and Clyde Canal’s History through the closure during 1970 -1990

• Collaborative design

• The use of common hand tools like chisels, block planes, combination squares, sliding bevels, marking gauges.

• A variety of hand saws such as tenon, compass, panel, and pull saws as well as the use of drills to create the correct holes needed for your assembly dowels.

• Joints and basic joining techniques, as well as relevant fixtures and finishings

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Forth and Clyde Canal Society

23 Jan, 10:00 – 17:00