FESTSPACE is our recently commenced multi-institution collaboration led by our Deputy Director Professor David McGillivray. The project will examine the ways in which festivals and events enable or restrict access to, and use of, public spaces, including the extent to which they might effectively host interactions and exchanges between people from different cultural, ethnic, socio-economic and socio-demographic backgrounds. The project is designed to explore how festivals and events affect the inclusivity of Europe’s urban public spaces. The focus of this funded work is on Western European cities; consequently, we will be conducting field research in Glasgow, London, Dublin, Barcelona and Gothenburg.

It is our hope that the research and analysis we’ll be undertaking will disclose novel and exciting insights into the contemporary role of festival spaces in and around some of Europe’s most vibrant city spaces. As part of CCSE’s remit is concerned with defining and investigating processes of cultural (and culture-led) regeneration in and around Paisley and Renfrewshire, it is important for us to look at ways in which this large piece of HERA-funded research work can be of benefit to the bold policy and practice agendas that places like Paisley are driving forward. While FESTSPACE is city-focussed, it is nevertheless useful for us to be mindful of the ways in which towns and other smaller urban settings utilise festivals and events. It is also worthwhile to consider how CCSE can ensure the effective inclusion of places such as Paisley – i.e. a town in the greater Glasgow area – in the knowledge generation and exchange which is a crucial part of the FESTSPACE dissemination strategy.

The FESTSPACE project will include a number of public engagement events and non-academic outputs which are intended to promote inclusivity across the widest range of stakeholder groups. It will be interesting to reflect on the efficacy of these efforts to promote broader engagement as well as valuable to keep this process in mind over the lifetime of the project.

FESTSPACE will be hosting a symposium at the University of the West of Scotland on Friday June 14th, 2019. More details can be found here: https://bit.ly/2vqK3cj