2018 marks the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Langside. Yet Langside 450 is intended as neither a celebration nor a traditional commemoration of the battle, other than to serve as a lesson from the past for the present and the future. Instead, Langside 450 is about the coming together of the people of Langside, today and in the future.
Langside Community Heritage was established in 2016 as a vehicle for local people to pursue their interests in all aspects of their shared local heritage, but with a specific remit to use that collective heritage, knowledge and energy for the common good. Its constitution, in particular, set as a key driving principle an intention to promote and utilise cultural heritage, in all its forms and expressions, as a means to achieve social benefit through enhancing the lives of local residents and the built and natural environment of the area. In particular, it was perceived by its founders as a vehicle through which people could gain the confidence and skills to bring about those positive changes by and for themselves.
Langside 450 was conceived by Langside Community Heritage as a compendium of inter-related and cross-cutting community designed and community-led events and activities, inspired by the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Langside. The key reason for the event was to provide an opportunity for local people of all ages and backgrounds to work together, around the themes of peace, tolerance and integration, as a community strengthening and capacity-building exercise. Focused around Queens Park, the event was viewed as an opportunity to draw on the collective strength to be found in the communities surrounding the park and to celebrate the area’s diversity and interconnected heritage traditions.
Langside 450 owes much to a wide range of people who have contributed their time, energy and skills to make it happen. But organising an event of this complexity is not easy, especially for a disparate group of people and organisations inexperienced in the management and delivery of such things. Special thanks are therefore due to Inhouse, an events management company with responsibility for Queens Park Arena, who have pitched in selflessly and from their own resources, bringing to the table their professional expertise in guiding and orchestrating the delivery of the event, standing back where possible to allow participants to learn from the experience and stepping in when needed to keep things on track. That the event is happening at all is in large part down to their significant commitment and substantive contributions to the overarching social benefits aims of the project.