As the new academic year pick up pace, we find ourselves tentitively adjusting to something of a return to a more conventional office life. Albeit one in which venturing out in public my still result in failure to recognise someone you’ve known for years on account of only being able to see half of their face! Nevertheless, it is encouraging that we are able to look forward to some work taking place in ‘real life’ settings rather than in the ether. (more…)
The Aim of my research as a PhD student over the last two and half years has been to examine how the Japanese and Tokyo governments, through sports diplomacy, will use the Olympic Games as a soft power tool. The phrase ‘the Olympic Games as a Weak excuse’ stems from the data collection and coding process of my research to examine the effectiveness of Japans soft power strategy in using the Olympic Games as a soft power tool. The organisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been an incubator of narratives, an Olympic Games like no other. This is because of the Emergence of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) that led to a global pandemic, resulting in the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (more…)
For a few months now the summer sun – punctuated with episodes of deluging rain – has provided the backdrop for the continued gradual reopening of our social, sporting and cultural venues. In turn, these developments have presented us with the opportunity to begin returning to social and spaces as audience members, engaging with events in closer proximity with others than has been possible for quite a while.
Navigating the return to a state of near normality has been – and for some continues to be –challenging. If the preceding months have taught us anything, it has perhaps been to ‘expect the unexpected’. Yet, it is also clear that festivals and events of all stripes do not thrive on uncertainty. (more…)
Football is Nothing Without Fans – Matt Busby
Bellshill’s finest football thinker, Matt Busby, predicted the uncanny experience of people watching cultural and sporting events take place in empty spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I’m currently writing a book about theatre in-the-round for Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury) and the pandemic has caused me to re-think my introduction to this monograph entirely. My view is that the recent ‘presence of absence’ of the spectator in live streams from stadia and performance spaces has re-emphasised the value, and therefore the influence of audiences on cultural and sporting organisations. (more…)
This Thursday, I complete my last day at UWS before I move back to France to start a permanent job as a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Amiens. As I have been a member of CCSE over the last two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow on the FESTSPACE project, I thought that it would be a good time to pen some reflections on my time here. In this post I’ll discuss the role it has played in my trajectory as a researcher and share some of the outcomes of the work that I undertook with the CCSE team. (more…)
The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes to the way we live our lives and interact with others. This was only too evident with national lockdowns putting an end to all but essential contact in early 2020. Being reliant on social contact and interaction, the global events industry all but ground to a halt and while this dynamic industry is used to evolving and adapting to its external environment, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges with the postponement or cancellation or live face-to-face events around the world. The impact upon the industry was devastating with businesses closing, workers being made redundant or furloughed, and freelancers facing an uncertain future. The very nature of the industry meant that it was one of the first to close but would be one of the last to reopen – indeed, while we are starting to see a return of some live events throughout the summer of 2021 the ongoing uncertainty surrounding social distancing and concerns about the underwriting of insurance have meant that many iconic events have made the hard decision to cancel for a second year running. (more…)
At the beginning of June, CCSE had the perhaps slightly unexpected pleasure of one again hosting our annual conference virtually. As CCSE Director – Prof Gayle McPherson – pointed out in her opening remarks; at the time of our first virtual outing in May last year, there were few among us who believed we’d be gearing up for a second digital event just over twelve months later.
Home offices, dining, kitchen and side tables served as our venue once again and everyone bore responsibility for their own tea and biscuits. While far from the traditional conference offering, it is potentially the case that the widespread development of digital – and in future hybrid – events will be one of the longterm legacies of the pandemic response, ultimately enabling greater engagement with a wider audience. (more…)
Over the past five years I’ve been in business as Gatekeeper Art. My small creative business is my full time occupation and when asked what I do I usually term myself as an artist and social historian with a community practice. I wrote a blog recently for CCSE called “Welcome to the Lockdown Lounge” which outlined how I had with my social historian “hat” on been designing and delivering heritage/ cultural related workshops online. (more…)
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns, many museums developed and put in place online digital offerings. This prompted quite a lot of handwringing and self-reflection across the sector, as well as for me personally. I immediately felt slightly guilty – what is the point of a museum? Is it really that important? Is it relevant? Who are we for? Why are we here?
Big questions… (more…)
On September 1939, at the start of the start of World War II, the government ordered the closure of all theatres throughout Britain, fearing that large congregations of people would be susceptible to aerial bombardment. It was quickly realised that theatres were vital to the morale and wellbeing of the general public and The Gaiety Theatre, Ayr was the first in Britain to open its doors providing welcome entertainment to the public and troops stationed locally. (more…)