Don’t Just Patch – Have a Revolution / Begin by Sewing on a Button

Don’t Just Patch – Have a Revolution / Begin by Sewing on a Button

The Grand Conversaziones series – part of the currently ongoing Paisley Exhibition – kicked off on the second Friday in February with a frank and fascinating exploration of Paisley’s Present. The event provided a timely reminder of the town’s assets – chief among them the internationally recognised Paisley Pattern – alongside an opportunity to reflect upon the path that Paisley is navigating out of the pandemic.

While the impositions forced upon us by the necessity for COVID19 lockdowns have been many, the enforced break from the norm has nevertheless caused many to reflect on what constitutes success and where we should seek to invest our effort when seeking to create vibrant, liveable and sustainable communities. (more…)

Questioning The Way We Do Culture in Scotland…

Questioning The Way We Do Culture in Scotland…

Matt Baker’s post on a New Approach to Culture in Scotland asks – “perhaps it is time to ask a fundamental question about the way we do culture in Scotland? Could we consciously support a culture of participation and popular ownership of culture as a key part of our national toolkit towards a just transition from both Covid and Climate Change?”

Reading this article leads to reflections on what I’ve observed in Paisley regarding where and how cultural activities meet health and wellbeing activities. Can I answer this question based on the snapshot my observations provide? From this vantage point, Paisley has an entwined approach of supporting community empowerment and the cultural ecology; both before Covid-19 and in response to the pandemic (for examples see here and here) and, starting from the principle that culture is created and experienced by everyone. (more…)

‘Dry’ Trains to Newcastle…

‘Dry’ Trains to Newcastle…

On boarding the 12.30 LNER high-speed from Edinburgh Waverly to London Kings Cross, little did I expect that the journey itself would begin in such a decidedly uncanny manner

Having taken our prebooked seats, applied  earphones, and settled back to enjoy the 5-hour journey as best we could, a slight sense of unease then enveloped the carriage as the tannoy announced: ‘This is a dry train. No alcohol will be served on this train, and no alcohol is to be consumed on this train, between Waverly station and Newcastle.’ (more…)

A Youth-Led Cultural Revolution

A Youth-Led Cultural Revolution

Every week at PACE we see first-hand how positive creative and cultural experiences can transform social, educational and wellbeing outcomes for young people – particularly to those most disadvantaged. Research shows that young people participating in the arts do better in school and are more likely to gain employment, volunteer and vote. For over 30 years we have worked to bring these benefits to as many young people as possible; to ensure that all, regardless of background, are valued, nurtured and have a voice – and to help create opportunities for them to realise their potential. YTAS studies in 2015 and 2021 show Renfrewshire with the highest levels of engagement in participatory drama activities in Scotland. We think we can build on this to do so much more, and it has never been more needed. (more…)

The Glen Cinema Memorial Artwork

The Glen Cinema Memorial Artwork

We won’t use this blog to describe what happened inside the Glen Cinema, Paisley on Hogmanay 1929 – it is well documented online, in history books, and in the memories of the people of Renfrewshire and across the world. Instead we are using this blog as an opportunity to describe some of what we have learnt and experienced over the past two years while working on this project. (more…)

Arts and Cultural Engagement Participation Support for Vulnerable Children and Young People

Arts and Cultural Engagement Participation Support for Vulnerable Children and Young People

We know that arts and cultural participation leads to a range of positive outcomes for children and young people, both in terms of their cognitive development and their wellbeing. Activities such as playing a musical instrument, performing in dance or drama, painting, sculpting or attending cultural performances, visiting museums and galleries during childhood, all contribute to improved educational attainment and improved social skills. Importantly, these experiences also help to develop many of the attributes necessary for a successful and fulfilling adulthood. (more…)

Out of the Office but not Working from Home…

Out of the Office but not Working from Home…

When working within social science in Scotland, it is perhaps particularly noticeable that opinions on relations with – and feelings towards – the UK tend to pop up quite regularly and, just about everywhere. Coming – as I do – from a nation (Sweden) whose history is shaped by the secessions of just about every neighbouring country, this intrigues me. In my mother tongue, it is not uncommon for people to speak of “England” when they mean the “UK.” This is especially common among Swedes who are above a certain age. (more…)

COP26 – A Paddle into Podcasts

COP26 – A Paddle into Podcasts

The delayed COP26 summit is to begin on the last day of October, amid the road closures and the rail strikes, the challenges of social distancing and – perhaps – of Scottish weather in autumn, over 30,000 attendees representing over 200 countries, businesses, NGOs and other groups will meet and attempt to advance the aims of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (more…)

CCSE: A (half) Year in Review

CCSE: A (half) Year in Review

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…)