Prof. David McGillivray contributes to public meeting on the commodification of Edinburgh’s public spaces

Prof. David McGillivray contributes to public meeting on the commodification of Edinburgh’s public spaces

On Wednesday 22nd January, 2020, more than 700 people attended a public meeting titled “City for Sale: The Commodification of Edinburgh’s Public Spaces” in Central Hall, Edinburgh. Organised by the Cockburn Association, this event was the outcome of controversy developing over several months caused by the use of Princes Street Garden for Christmas Markets and Hogmanay celebrations, and their management by the private company Underbelly

Professor David McGillivray speaks at City ofr Sale event

Professor David McGillivray speaks at “City for Sale?” event

Professor David McGillivray speaks at City for Sale event

Professor David McGillivray speaks at “City for Sale?” event

The meeting was chaired by BBC broadcaster Stephen Jardine, with various presentations exploring the links between the design of events in public space and issues of sustainability, health and well-being, and common good land. One of the speakers was Prof. David McGillivray, CCSE’s Deputy Director and project leader of the FESTSPACE research project. Prof. McGillivray, in a presentation co-written with Dr Andrew Smith, University of Westminster, put the Edinburgh controversy in the context of a broader debate about privatization of public spaces. Talks were followed by a discussion with attendees, who expressed various concerns about the current management of events in Edinburgh’s public spaces, including the accessibility of public space during the event’s period, the lack of tangible legacy from Edinburgh festivals on the city’s infrastructure, and the necessity of finding a balance between the needs of tourists and residents. The outcomes of the discussion are being collated by the Cockburn Association who will use them to produce a response and plan of action that will be delivered to Edinburgh City Council.

Reports of the meeting can be accessed in the Herald and Edinburgh News. Twitter activity from the evening can be accessed by searching #cityforsale.

 

FESTSPACE in Gdansk: Public Spaces – Culture & Integration in Europe Conference

FESTSPACE in Gdansk: Public Spaces – Culture & Integration in Europe Conference

On 11-12th September 2019, CCSE’s Professor David McGillivray and Dr Severin Guillard attended the conference “Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe” as part of their HERA-funded project, FESTSPACE. This 2-day conference was a good opportunity to meet with members of the other 19 funded projects, and to develop research plans with the FESTSPACE researchers based in London, Dublin, Barcelona and Gothenburg.

During the conference, the team displayed a poster presenting the project’s research questions and the ways they will be addressed in each case study, and held various meetings to discuss future conferences presentations and collective publications.

This event also provided a fruitful opportunity to exchange idea on the theoretical reflection and empirical investigations which have started in each city, and the specificity of the work carried out by each member. While the London team (Dr Andrew Smith, Dr Goran Vodicka and Prof Guy Osborn) has started to investigate everyday interactions in London’s Finsbury Park, Dr Bernadette Quinn and Dr Theresa Ryan (Technological University Dublin) are exploring how expectations for solitude and silence shape encounters in Dublin’s public libraries. Dr Kristina Lindstrom is observing how laws and regulation inform the production of Gothenburg’s festivals, while Dr Alba Colombo highlights how language, place of origin and place of living influence the perception of Barcelona’s events. Finally, the Glasgow team (Prof. David McGillivray, Prof. Gayle McPherson and Dr Severin Guillard) has begun to address the issues at stake in the promotion of Glasgow’s as an event city, involving interviews with public institutions and festival organisers.

More information about the FESTSPACE project is available here  Follow the project on Twitter at @FESTSPACE1.