Fatima Uygun, community activist and manager of Govanhill Baths Trust, shares with Mark Brown the ten things that changed her life...

1. Growing up in Melbourne, Australia

I was born in Turkey, but grew up in the Fitzroy area of Melbourne, which is also where Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou comes from.

He and I were both fans of the Aussie rules football team Carlton Football Club.

I’m very white for a Turkish person, so I had less racism directed towards me than other members of my family. However, I was the eldest, which meant I always had to stick up for my three sisters and my brother.

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2. Being in the first generation of Turkish-Australians

Thanks to the White Australia policy (1901-73), the Turkish community in Australia was one of the first immigrant communities that wasn’t white European.

Turkish girls like me were the first ones to go to university in Australia and to get jobs there. We had no predecessors to look back to, which is a weird feeling.

My parents’ generation had to find Turkish food, build a mosque and all that. They were starting from scratch.

READ MORE: James Cosmo on the 10 things that changed his life

3. Having a politically progressive family background

MY parents were quite lefty. They called themselves Kemalists [in support of Kemal Ataturk’s secular Turkish state]. They were republicans. They were also adherents of Alevism, which is a non-orthodox form of Shia Islam.

There was a real repression of the left in Turkey in the 1980s. Quite a few of my uncles went to Germany to escape it. Even as a child I knew my family was on the left. None of my female relatives had ever worn a headscarf, except to put their hair up when they were cooking.

One weekend our Turkish language class was taken to visit a mosque. I went along wearing an ABBA T-shirt, as you do when you’re a little girl. One of the imams came up to me and told me I shouldn’t be showing reproductions of people’s faces in a mosque.

4. ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day [the April 25 commemorations of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, which historically have emphasised the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey, 1915-16] has historically involved a great sense of sadness in white Australian culture – and a lot of drinking.

When I was growing up, men got drunk really early, the pubs were all open. As a Turkish person, you felt very uncomfortable.

At our primary school, the Turkish kids were told to make Anzac biscuits for the white kids. If you were Turkish, you learned to keep away from the Anzac Day commemorations.

5. Going to a Russian Orthodox school

Bizarrely, I went to a Russian Orthodox primary school. There was a huge Irish population in the area, so the school was, effectively, a Catholic school that was attached to a Russian Orthodox church.

The only pupils who didn’t go to Mass were one Protestant boy and the little group of Turkish kids. We’d all sit in a room together while the other kids went to Mass.

I became a Celtic supporter at that time, because I was surrounded by so many Irish children.

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6. Sexism on the railways in Australia

I did a lot of different jobs after I left school. One of them was on the railways, where I was a health and safety supervisor. I was one of very few women working there.

You have no idea how sexist it was. On one occasion I had to go into a signal box to use the toilet.

I sat down to have a wee and I realised that someone, or some group of men, had cut out every vagina from every porn magazine and stuck them on every available space on the ceiling and the walls. It was unbelievable!

7. Meeting my future husband Alistair Hulett

I was living in Sydney when I met Alistair [Scottish singer-songwriter, 1951-2010]. I used to go to see his left-wing folk-punk band Roaring Jack on Saturdays.

We got together in 1994. Two years later I told him I wanted to go and see Europe. I’m a painter and wanted to study at the Glasgow School of Art but that didn’t work out.

In 1996 we moved to Leominster, in Herefordshire so Alistair could work with his musical partner Dave Swarbrick. We spent a year there. I thought I was going to die living in Leominster! In 1997 we moved to Glasgow.

READ MORE: Eilish McColgan on the 10 things that changed her life

8. Setting up the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust

A few months after Alistair’s passing, the trust was set up by Jimmy Ross (who is a very well known folk singer from Glasgow), John Powles (who ran the Centre for Political Song at Glasgow Caledonian University), John Hamill (a musician and dear friend of Alistair’s) and myself.

We wanted to offer support to folk music and to community organisations that engage in the art of music.

9. The Govanhill Baths campaign

Glasgow City Council announced in January 2001 that it was shutting the baths down. I remember the first meeting of the Save Our Pool campaign.

It was held in (Celtic legend) Billy McNeill’s pub. Billy was a lovely guy, and very supportive. The campaign itself was fantastic.

We had a 24-hour picket line. We occupied the building for 141 days, which is the longest continuous occupation of a public building in British history.

The National:

10. Establishing the Govanhill International Festival and Carnival

In 2016, when we started the festival and carnival, anti-Roma racism was really rearing its head on the southside of Glasgow.

Racists were blaming Roma people for the poverty in the area and for the lack of services in the community, because, according to the racists, the Roma were draining community resources.

This upsurge in racist lies against the Roma just happened to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Rock Against Racism.

We thought it would be a fantastic idea to get some of the acts who had played the RAR carnivals, such as Misty in Roots and Aswad, to play an anti-racist festival in Queen’s Park.

That’s how we started the Govanhill Festival.