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…)
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…)
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…)