Instagram Live, Zoom quiz nights, podcasts, at home workouts. In the last few months these forms of connections have skyrocketed into the public consciousness with everyone and their granny (literality) logging on to connect with the world. It makes sense, now more than ever we all are desperate to grasp onto as much human connection as we can.
Prior to lockdown Future Paisley was building some great momentum with the Green Tease Event, the success of the Book Festival and lots of other exciting projects in the horizon. However along with the rest of the world a lot of this had to be put on hold. The idea of creating a podcast came to us when the sadness and reality of all this really hit, it shone a little light of hope during a dark time.
Fast forward a few weeks, we have a schedule, we have a production team (Erskine Arts) and we have our first two guest ready to record in their home-made recording booths.
The conversation between our first guests Sharon McAuley from the Star Project and Alan McNiven from Engage Renfrewshire, was funny, insightful and honest. They spoke of how people and communities are coping and doing what they can to make all this a little bit more manageable.
These podcasts hope to give a voice to the people who aren’t being heard right now, and we want them to be real and reassuring. Being honest about how we are feeling and, how we are attempting to cope right now, is possibly one of the most positive and productive things that everyone can do for themselves and others at this moment. It’s really important to be reminded that everyone is going through the same thing you are. As Alan mentioned in the recording, people just have to be a bit more explicit about how we are feeling at this moment in time because we all need that spark of connection in our lives.
As well as providing an important form of local connection, each episode will also be used as time capsule, to capture some of the uniquness of this current experience. Something that we can use to show the ways in which culture “coped,” demonstrated its resilience during this uncertain time as well as helping us to marshal ours!
If you would like to have a listen, you can find it on Spotify and SoundCloud, we have a more exciting episodes to come!
Last week I attended Paisley’s first Green Tease event hosted by Creative Carbon Scotland. Sometimes it’s easy to lose momentum when it comes to environmental issues, especially when you feel like you are the only person who cares. It’s so important to have events like this, hearing everyone explain in such practical terms, the amazing work they are doing to help tackle climate breakdown was inspiring. Suddenly, it’s not only me. I am part of something much bigger which can have a deeper impact due to all of the support surrounding it.
Heather Claridge from Architecture and Design Scotland told us how it simply cannot be business as usual anymore. Heather walked us through the beautiful projects she has been a part of; working with communities, artists and the council. These projects look at ways in which Heather, an urban planner, could break down the barrier between citizens and environment. She is committed to finding playful, creative, effective ways of changing our understanding towards our environment, you can read more about it here.
The event was a perfect example of using culture to influence climate justice. Proving that culture and cultural organisations can have a very significant impact on our environmental health.
Further contributing to this point were The Glasgow Women’s Library, Scottish Ensemble and Remode. During a panel discussion each organisation talked us through the incredible, practical work they are doing to significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
Yes, some of these decisions are difficult and sacrifices will have to be made; but it shows the true commitment and the understanding that these issues are bigger than business. Organisations such as these don’t place capitalism and money at the heart of their practices. These groups are showing that culture and climate can work hand in hand. As Heather said, it can’t just be business as usual. We all need to make these difficult decisions and commit ourselves to achieving climate justice.
You can read the GWL environmental policy here, Scottish Ensemble here, and you can read about Remode’s amazing work here.
Paisley was well suited to hosting this event. With so many major buildings closing and the huge shift the town is experiencing right now, business is anything but usual. Things are changing, the town is learning how to be adaptable and resilient over the course of this exciting period. It only makes sense that the environment and climate breakdown is a huge part of these conversations. Big things are happening in Paisley, hopefully this event will help further influence people’s attitudes towards organisations effects on the environment.