Open Source Programming

Counterflows. Photography by Pavel D.

CCA organises its resources according to an ‘open source’ model. This means that we share our building and resources with artists, individuals and organisations who need access to different kinds of space.

Our open source approach emerged in 2006, as a pragmatic response to the expansion of the building in 2001. The lottery refurbishment of CCA greatly increased the size of the building, though the organisation struggled economically to fill such a large set of spaces. The business model that accompanied the new building did not work with the kind of programming that our audiences expected.

The new building had fine resources – excellent gallery spaces, an acoustically perfect performance space, a dramatic central courtyard, a wood workshop, a small cinema, an artist’s flat. And Glasgow is a city with a large artists’ community, a great music scene, and audiences hungry for film, literature and performance.

This gave us an opportunity to repurpose several spaces. The bookshop space that felt misplaced became a third gallery on the ground floor. CCA office spaces that felt overly luxurious became a hack-lab and the Creative Lab residency space. Glasgow Life came in to support an independent programme for Intermedia Gallery in 2006. Initially through word-of-mouth the theatre, clubroom and cinema were made available to artists and organisations that needed space for events.

Over time our process of ‘open source’ programming has been formalised. For artists and organisations with minimal funding we offer space for free. Technicians and Front of House staff are available at cost, with CCA taking no profit. If organisations have additional funding we charge for the space but at a subsidised rate.

As activities grew in the spaces, we created a role for someone to liaise and co-ordinate the multiple events across the building. To prevent CCA being overwhelmed with a kaleidoscope of random events, each event and every partner programme must be proposed to CCA and considered carefully.

Our criteria for inclusion in the programme is based on a wide variety of things. Our programme stresses experimental work and activities that cannot be easily housed in other venues. So, for instance mainstream theatre proposals are not a high priority as there are many venues across the city that are better suited. Equally, proposals that demand high amounts of rehearsal time are not priorities as they occupy space that could be used for other, more public, activities.

Our open source events include:

festivals;
one-off film screenings;
talks and reading groups;
performance and dance events;
music, dance and art workshops;
poetry nights;
gigs;
zine fairs;
and a wide range of other events.


We’re really open to new ideas, and invite anyone who has a suggestion for an event to get in touch. You can simply email us to start a conversation and we do not have a formal application process. We encourage our open source programme partners to offer events which are accessible, free or low cost to attend, or use a sliding scale model of pricing.

The galleries on the ground floor remain at the heart of CCA’s own programme and are programmed by our own curatorial team.

We hope the open source model fosters feelings of co-ownership of the space by a wider spectrum of the arts community. The openness of the programme brings in a broader variety of audiences and helps us break down some of the barriers to access that can easily grow around an art centre.

Through an open source approach, CCA supports a large section of the arts community in the city. The programme reflects more cultural perspectives than our small team could achieve on its own. Perhaps the bottom line is we hope the activity, cultural momentum and diversity of the programme demonstrates the best possible use of public funding for the arts in the city.

If you would like to propose an event, please get in touch as early as possible. Regular users tend to come to us at least twelve months in advance and speak to us about dates far in advance. While autumn is probably our busiest time, there are now major bookings across the year.

If you would like to discuss an event, please contact Annie Hazelwood, Programme Coordinator on annie@cca-glasgow.com.