Barras Art And Design Centre (BAaD)

Barras Art Design Centre (BAaD) is in the heart of Glasgow’s east end, the famous Barras Market. It is a unique place that houses several homegrown artists including jewellery makers, retro furniture restorers, photographers, fashion designers, and gin distillers. The space is a large internal courtyard area with an atrium that hosts a variety of events, restaurants, bars, shops, and studios. The idea was to kick start regeneration in the whole area when the Barras market became desolate and run down. The Barras is of hugely significant historical importance to Glasgow as the heart of the early entrepreneurship and merchants. The idea of BAaD is to help celebrate this, and encourage a wide range of people again to spend time in the area.

Bottom Line

Through his work at the Barras Art and Design Centre,Norrie Innes, the founder of the BAaD aims to create the right conditions not just for his own project, but for the area. Through his work at the BAaD, social entrepreneur Norrie Innes aims to demonstrate the signs of changes in the Barras without losing its historical character. The hope is that this new development delivers the message that the future of the Barras can be positive.

Why it matters?

The Barras is a major market area located in the East End of Glasgow. It has a history of trading, immigration and culture. However, it has been neglected and stood still for many years, gaining a reputation for crime. This resulted in negative connotations and a hesitance from some people to visit the area. Lately, the Barras is beginning to change and see development. BAaD is a good sign of it. It is the first new buildings to be built in the Barras area in 90 years. New developers in the Barras area hope that they keep the Barras’ historic character, whilst also bringing a more contemporary sense of music, fashion, creative industries and art.

Between the lines

There are understandable tensions between the community of residents and businesses who have seen little investment in the area, and the groups of new residents and organisations moving in. Does change bring tension to communities? How can this tension be dispelled or channeled into a positive dialogue?  What is the role of a developer to help ease this transition and change?

Norrie Innes emphasises:

‘There are always tensions, there are always people feeling neglected, there are people who feel bitter and angry, but the best way to deal with that is to talk to them. What you try and do is to convince people that this process of change is inevitable. When there is a profile of change, people should be happy but they are not. It is a human emotion when there is change. And it is teaching people to deal with change and the best thing is to make everyone feel as if they are benefiting from it, or at least they are not getting penalised and there is a level of playing field and there is fairness.’

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