What are the aims of the Conference? 

One is to explore and interrogate the nature, value and legacy of Alasdair Gray’s prodigious output across visual art and literature in its many various forms. Sometimes this will mean analysing the literature or visual practice independently of one another – though at other times it will mean considering the two in conversation with each other, as they often appear in Gray’s murals, portraits, stories, landscapes, non-fiction and illustrations.  

Another aim is to bring folk from around the world with an interest in Alasdair Gray Studies together in the home city of the artist. With murals across the city, so many portraits and landscapes portraying its people and places, also with a great deal of his literary output concerned with Glasgow itself, Gray has become an integral part of the Glaswegian cultural and political landscape. Indeed, as Scotland’s ex-Makar and Gray contemporary Liz Lochhead has said, he is partially responsible for transforming that landscape. For that reason, we believe it makes sense to bring together those interested in Gray’s work in the place he has made his subject since the late 1940s.  

Finally, we also aim to use Gray’s artistic approach – that of making imagined things across space and form, often integrating word and picture – as a model to inspire the writers and artists of the future in Scotland and beyond.

If you have questions of suggestions, you can contact Dr. Rodge Glass on or tweet us @ImaginedMaking  

What is the theme of the Conference? 

The theme of the conference is ‘Across Space and Form’.  

And what’s the reason for that theme? 

We have chosen this, alongside the main banner ‘Making Imagined Things’ to encourage dialogue between Gray’s visual and literary practice. Also to suggest a desire on the part of conference organizers to address the traditional imbalance between the critical and commercial attention given to Gray’s various different identities as an creative artist. Up until the last decade or so, commentary on Gray – both in books and in the press – has heavily concentrated on his literary output, with the visual practice often either neglected or diminished, seen as a single room in the house of his literature, a kind of quirk or idiosyncrasy most effective when experienced in Gray’s books, in amongst the words. Part of what we are seeking to do by selecting this theme is to try and address that imbalance, as well as provoke responses that seek to either allow the visual practice its own platform, or give it greater prominence when being discussed in conversation with Gray’s literature. By doing this, and by hosting the conference between two institutions with strong connections to both pursuits – the University of Glasgow to Gray’s literature, Glasgow School of Art to his visual practice – we hope this will lead to some worthwhile cross-pollination, a greater understanding of Gray’s oeuvre as a whole, as well as some long-overdue equivalence.  

How Can I Get Involved in Making Imagined Things: The Conference? 

There are numerous ways you can get involved in Making Imagined Things. We are looking for – 

  • Funding from external bodies 
  • Individuals, organizations or institutions who can help ensure the conference and associated activities are genuinely diverse 
  • Individuals interested in helping to organize and run the conference 
  • Individuals who can spread the word about the conference and associated events through their own networks, either professional or personal 
  • Individuals who are interested in getting involved, either as writers, artists, filmmakers or musicians, in the creative aspect of the conference and associated events 
  • Individuals, organizations, galleries or institutions who are interested in exhibiting Alasdair Gray’s work before, during or after the conference 
  • Individuals, organizations, galleries or institutions interested in holding events, workshops or one-off events between now and 2021 that could be linked to the conference 

If you feel you can contribute in any way, shape or form, please get in touch. So far, we have official partners in the Universities of Aix-Marseille, Nantes, and Edge Hill, and joint hosts in the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. Aye Write! Book Festival are our partners for the evening event of June 10th, line-up to be confirmed.