About Banner Tales
The banners of trade unions and political campaigns give an extraordinarily rich sense of the culture of community and workplace organising. Their images and slogans combine to shape alternative values, visions and pride in work and neighbourhood, while often at the same time challenging injustices. They provide an important record of the role of workplace and community organising in shaping our society. They are also full of stories, some of which are documented in this site.
bannertales.com aims to document and celebrate the ongoing history of workplace and community organising in Scotland and beyond. Funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account the following pages and future posts draw inspiration from material from Banner Tales of Glasgow. This was a collaborative project involving Glasgow Museums, the University of Glasgow and the GMB Union. The project partners took selections of banners held by Glasgow Museums back to the places of their origin. Held in Nitshill, Castlemilk, Barmulloch and Govan we invited local residents and other folk with an interest in the various organisations and subjects represented by the banners to come to our workshops and share what stories they have about the banners, the events, people and places associated with these important artefacts. This allowed for a richer understanding of community and workplace organising in the city than we have hitherto had and many of the testimonies provided by workshop participants have been incorporated into Glasgow Museum's archives.
Politics, to borrow from Murray Bookchin (1999), is too often understood as "a body of techniques for holding power in representative bodies [...] not a moral calling based on rationality, community and freedom". But to look beyond the high corridors of government is to view a long and vibrant politics of good democratic citizenship, solidarity and hope. As a continuation and extension of the workshops bannertales.com will give presence and voice to those people past and present whose stories have been hidden, undervalued or forgotten.
bannertales.com aims to continue to collect stories from those people at the front line of political organising past and present in Scotland and beyond and those folks in the back printing t-shirts, pressing badges and painting banners. We are particularly interested in songs, poems, photographs and personal testimonies from those who have taken part in organisations and events connected to our themes - Trade Unions, Community Organising, the Occupiers and the Peace Movement. We extend this invitation to participate in our project to anyone with an interest in workplace and community organising. You can participate by sharing your stories with us. Either comment on our blog posts or contact the project organisers via the contact page.