Communication Design School of Design

Katherine Wallace (She/her)

In my work I tend to draw on themes of social history and the relationship between place and identity, but my process is always firmly based around exploring and playing with narrative. I am inspired by hearing the stories of others, and appreciate finding ways to visualise them through a variety of different media. I work to turn them into something tangible in a way that reflects their truth. I aim to build landscapes within my images to convey a sense of atmosphere that speaks to elements of the familiar.

‘ Miracle in the Gorbals’

‘ Miracle in the Gorbals’

Miracle in the Gorbals’ is a modern interpretation of a Sadler’s Wells one-act ballet of the same name. Choreographed by Robert Helpmann in 1944, the piece tells the story of a Christ-like stranger, with a supernatural gift, acting as a saviour to the people of the Gorbals in 1940’s Glasgow. This re-contextualisation brings the original plot into a contemporary setting, instead now telling the story of the true physical evolution of the Gorbals, from tenements to high-rise tower blocks. Much of the imagery and set designs are influenced by interviews I held with current and ex-Gorbals residents, and their opinion on living in a place that is constantly transforming.

The book displayed is intended as a re-imagination of the original ballet for a performance to a modern audience. The writing should inspire choreography and movement while the pictures can aid in giving a sense of atmosphere for each scene. The hope for this piece is to reclaim this old story from the culture of blame and instead reflect the lived experience during the evolution of the area.

The book has been laid out into chapters using six titles from the ballet’s original orchestration, composed by Arthur Bliss. The set designs displayed have been created for each of these chapters, all being heavily inspired by real locations throughout the Gorbals area and the outcomes of the interviews held with residents.