Artist Ruth Ewan and singer Debbie Armour present an evening of song and lyrical story telling drawing on Ruth’s music archive, A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World (2003 – ongoing) currently installed within the bar at Glasgow University’s Queen Margaret Union. The jukebox contains 2,000 tracks which address a broad range of social and political issues. Tracks are organised into themes including feminism, land rights, poverty, civil rights and ecology.
She Works Hard for the Money is an evolving live work – originally developed for the She Town of Dundee – it now turns its focus to Glasgow. The selected songs span over four centuries, ranging from the pre to the post-industrial, detailing both paid and unpaid female labour. Drawing on tracks found in the Jukebox categories Work, Unions, Poverty and Feminism they chronical ongoing work-related struggles such as precarity, discrimination, reproductive labour and the fight for equal pay.
The event takes us on a journey through a day in the long life of Mother Glasgow, whilst slipping back and forward through the centuries and through various jobs; from spinning, bleaching, weaving, stitching and shipbuilding to union organising, cleaning, nursing, sex work and trying to get a baby to sleep.
The event is free to attend but ticketed.
Debbie Armour is a singer and musician, working primarily with traditional song. Broadly, her work is motivated by ideas of persistence, resonance and deep cultural roots. In her primary project, Burd Ellen, she uses British and international traditional song as a foundation to build conceptual works and explore tradition in a contemporary setting. Her last two albums have been included in The Guardian’s Top Ten Folk Albums of the Year (2020 & 2022). She is a mother of four, and lives in Nottingham where she runs her record label, Mavis Recordings.
Ruth Ewan is an artist whose research-led and critically engaged practice has been shown in numerous international exhibitions. Through projects ranging from large scale installations to printed material and live events her work explores ideas of control and questions representations of time, history and rebellion. Often working collaboratively her work grows from context-specific, in-depth research. She has created music projects, walks, radio programmes, design projects, films, workshops and books.
This event is funded by The Dear Green Bothy, College of Arts & Humanities, and Thinking Culture, a cultural programme supported by the School of Culture & Creative Arts, University of Glasgow.
Queen Margaret Union accessibility information is available here.
In a Glasgow Cotton Spinning Mill: Changing the Bobbin, c. 1907. Sylvia Pankhurst. Tate, Purchased with funds provided by the Denise Coates Foundation 2021. © Tate, Photo: Tate.