Alec Galloway ©2013 Alastair Cook

Alec Galloway, The Project Co-ordinator

We are on journey now and the more we travel the more we will discover…. I finally managed to pin down Alec Galloway. Serving as the coordinator of the whole Absent Voices project as well as participating as an artist himself, no wonder it’s taken a while to be able to talk to him about the whole thing. But it was worth the wait. It was really interesting and enjoyable to talk with Alec and gain a deeper understanding of this multi-disciplinary creative arts project. Alec put this project, Absent Voices, together for several reasons.The first was probably due to his frustration at the lack of recognition for the sugar industry. He said that when most people think about Greenock, they think about shipbuilding failing to recognise the town’s reputation as a Sugaropolis. Greenock once boasted 19 separate refineries as well as being the birthplace of Abraham Lyle (Tate and Lyle). There are generations still living and working in Greenock who link back to the days when the industry was in bloom. nanny Alec’s family were all sugar people too. He was brought up in the East End of Greenock and had a close relationship with the docks and quays of Greenock as a boy. He would secretly play with his mates in the sheds; sliding down mountains of unrefined sugar, much to the dismay of his mother who would have to shake the sugar out of his hair, ears and clothes when he returned home! Alec feels very strongly that this project had to happen, needed to happen. He said,” The building has stood silent for too long and it was time to turn it inside out and tell the local community about its history…. “. Alec is not leaving things as they are now. Initially, when this all began, he thought it would be a one off project. But it has become clear, as the project has developed and more and more of the local community has gotten involved that the project has gathered its own momentum. Absent Voices has funding up to and including November 2014, but Alec is adamant that this is not the end. “We have to continue…the project must somehow get more funding for the next phase ….all of us agree that this is just the beginning so  ….onwards!”