The Empire Cafe - 14-18 NOW
14-18 NOW / Programme / The Empire Cafe
War c/w I Murder Hate, Graham Fagen, 2014

The Empire Cafe


Image credit: War c/w I Murder Hate, Graham Fagen, 2014

The Empire Café was a week-long event in the Briggait, Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, exploring the context of Scotland and the North Atlantic slave trade.

As part of The Empire Café’s wider programme, 14 –18 NOW commissioned a new piece of work, War c/w I Murder Hate by Scottish artist Graham Fagen, which was exhibited in the Briggait (home of the Merchant’s Steeple) throughout the course of the week.

Fagen considered the stories of Jamaican soldiers during the First World War through a new piece of film, looking at how Jamaican identity developed through a change from slave to citizen.  The resulting film documents a contemporary recording session of two songs, pairing Bob Marley’s War, which started life as a speech given by Haile Selassie calling for world peace, with Robert Burns’ 1790 anti-war song I Murder Hate. Ultimately War c/w I Murder Hate is about humanity; condemning inequality and championing love over hate.

Also in the Briggait, the designers of The Empire Café, Collective Architecture created a bespoke writing room where the public could go to be inspired and compose their own LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER as part of 14 –18 NOW’s UK-wide participative project to get the public writing. Collective Architecture designed a discrete pavilion within which Café visitors could reflect on what they wanted to say to the Unknown Soldier as he went off to war in 1914.

The work was led by author Louise Welsh and Jude Barber of Collective Architecture.

The Empire Café is part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life, and Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding. The Empire Café is also supported by the British Council. LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER and Graham Fagen’s new work are commissioned by 14-18 NOW.

You May Also Like

SS Mendi Dancing The Death Drill

Isango Ensemble, Fred Khumalo SS Mendi Dancing The Death Drill


More than 600 South African volunteers drowned when the boat carrying them to war sank in 1917 –but this new play relaid the tale of one man who survived.

Find Out More
Unwritten Poems

Unwritten Poems


New poetic perspectives on the Caribbean experience during the war, exploring the impact on both the men who served and the families they left behind.

Find Out More
Mimesis: African Soldier

John AkomfrahMimesis: African Soldier

Free London / Nottingham

One of the country’s most celebrated filmmakers remembers the millions of Africans who fought as soldiers or served as porters during the war.

Find Out More
Make Me Up

Rachel Maclean Make Me Up

BBC TV Broadcast

Siri wakes to find herself trapped inside a brutalist candy-coloured dreamhouse, where she and her inmates are forced to go head-to-head in a series of demeaning tasks. Multimedia artist Rachel Maclean has created a world that is both seductive and dangerous; a place where surveillance, violence and submission are a normalised part of daily life.

Find Out More