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Venue Spotlight: Glue Factory, by the Artists for the Artists

Behind the walls of an industrial former glue factory in north Glasgow lies an unexpected surprise—an independent events space and art studio hub.

Now in its sixth year, the non-profit community interest company maintains affordable work studios while occasionally leasing the rest of the building to event organizers. A risograph print maker, textile artist, sound designer, furniture maker, theatre artist and painter have all found a space to work.

The Venue’s Vetting Process

Venue, Glue Factory, Glasgow

The Glue Factory Manager, James Farlam relays that he is careful in his vetting process.

“We are looking for more business to come work with us, but they do need to have the right ethos. We don’t want to turn into a venue for things/events who don’t engage well with the community.” The industrial space is located in Speirs Locks, a somewhat isolated and deprived area that’s slowly regenerating.

The Glue Factory feels like a maze to visitors. Artist studios comprise about 25% of the building and there are massive and raw open floors divided into various enclaves, including a bar area, two smaller rooms on the lower level, a lofty gallery upstairs and a sprawling tank room.

Prestigious neighbors, such as the National Theatre of Scotland, the Scottish Opera, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow Sculpture Studios have moved nearby. And the Glue Factory plays its part in the revitalization as well.

Since the organization cannot rely on any regular public funding, Farlam is walking a tightrope between tending to his regular tenants and hosting events in the space. About two commercial events happen each month and with another six or seven non-commercial events throughout the year. Average attendance is 200, as it is not cost-effective to prep the building for smaller events. The building lends itself to various moods and uses: pop-up mini golf, bridal shows, a Master of Fine Arts Exhibition and a commercial video shoot, to name a few.

Glasgow event organizers on the venue hunt should add this large, unusual space to their list.

Images ©: James Farlam