This is a report of Glasgow's year as Cultural Capital of Europe. It was a year when Glasgow, one of the most convivial cities in the world, threw the world's biggest party. A year when the very idea of culture moved centre stage.
For many millions of people, 1990 in Glasgow offered the chance to do, see or hear something special, to rejoice in a common identity, to debate the essence of that identity. The year also offered opportunities to promote Glasgow and its achievements to the rest of the world, to draw attention to a city celebrating its cultural strengths.
Traditionally, Glasgow people are tough, reticent, friendly, a little aggressive and, at the right moments, incorrigibly romantic. With their feet firmly on the ground, they are not afraid of the occasional glance at the stars. Given an awareness of the right moment, they will seize it and turn it to their advantage. 1990 was such a moment: Glasgow embraced the accolade of Cultural Capital of Europe and set out to make the most of it.
The culture of Glasgow is a complex weave, one which dances as much as draws, and often through adversity. A culture unafraid of subjecting itself to sustained self-scrutiny. The philosophy behind the city's approach to its reign as Cultural Capital tried to reflect that complexity, to achieve a truer currency for the idea of culture and the kind of commodity it is.
Culture is not only about art. It cannot be confined. The culture of a city is what people do now and have done in the past. It is a process which includes all and excludes none.
Glasgow's culture is as powerfully expressed on its streets as in its galleries, in its discos as much as its theatres, and when it comes to Glasgow's cultural practice, it is always a matter of choice and alternatives. 1990 offered a platform for the many cultures of Glasgow, and tried to ignore quaint obsessions with 'high' and 'low' culture. As terms they were irrelevant during a year which featured Glasgow's culture as lively, cosmopolitan and most aggressively pluralist.
In one sense, 1990 was really no more a cultural year than any other. However, Glasgow's enhanced European status for that year offered a unique city-wide stage for a vast array of projects and events, in a programme founded primarily on the best that the city's own cultural organisations could offer.
In part, that programme viewed Glasgow's cultural life and heritage from a perspective both contemporary and historical. There was consistent encouragement to involve Glasgow artists and athletes, children and the elderly, people with special needs, the city's ethnic communities and those with different religious beliefs. There were opportunities for international cultural exchange and partnerships. The presentation of work from the rest of Britain and Europe, and from other parts of the world, sat alongside the work of performers and artists from Glasgow itself.
Source: "The 1990 Story, Glasgow Cultural Capital of Europe", Glasgow Development Agency