Where do you find mushrooms in Polbeth? ‘The Scotmid shop!’ was the prompt reply from one of the young people taking part in a ‘Mapping and Discovering’ workshop guided by us (artists Minty Donald and Nick Millar), as part of the ‘Our’ Falls public art project. Young people from the Polbeth Community Hub After School Club, and some of the adults who run the club, were enthusiastic participants in the games that we had devised. These games — variations on a treasure hunt — found the young people and adults energetically exploring their immediate environment, identifying plants, stones, and more, and making connections between the ‘natural’ materials and ‘manmade’ things that they discovered. So, yes, mushrooms DO come from Scotmid, but they can also be found under trees (but are not to be eaten without expert advice!) There was also some scepticism when we told the young people that you could make jam from the rosehips we found: ‘you can’t eat them! They look poisonous!’

We then asked the young people to position the objects and materials we’d collected on a large map of Polbeth, at places where they might have come from. Through the games, we learned that most of the young people attending the After School Club were not very familiar with the area around Limefield Falls. It’s not somewhere they spend time or play. This was in marked contrast to the experiences of the older local people we met, who took part in a reminiscence workshop at Polbeth Harwood Parish Church. We will be blogging about this workshop soon.

The workshop at the Polbeth Community Hub After School Club is part of our year-long project with Forth Rivers Trust, which hinges around the construction of a new fish pass and viewing platform at the historic Limefield Falls, Polbeth. Over the year we are holding a number of workshops and events where we hope to learn about Polbeth – today, in the past, and in the future – from people who live or lived in Polbeth. If you’d like to take part, tell us a story about Polbeth, take us on a walk of the area, or just contact us, you can visit the ‘Our Falls’ facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Our-Falls-333488090881301/
or send an email to minty.donald@glasgow.ac.uk.