Signs of ‘Normal’ Life? A Moment of Interest

Signs of ‘Normal’ Life? A Moment of Interest

As we tentatively emerge from our third lockdown in the course of the strangest of years it is possible to glimpse the ways in which our cultural lives might be returning to some kind of ‘normal.’ For example in recent days, we have seen the first steps towards the return of audiences and participants at sporting and social events. Mark Selby lifted his fourth World Snooker Championship crown in front of a capacity crowd in Sheffield; football has been played in front of fans, V&A Dundee welcomed visitors back with an exploration of the relationship between club culture and design: Night Fever, Designing Club Culture and some of Liverpool’s clubbers were able to dance a night away while simultaneously providing an opportunity for policy advisors and policy makers to test the waters regarding wisdom of enabling us to emerge from lockdown and make a return to our former patterns of cultural and social engagement. In these events – and the managed return to co-proximity and co-presence that they signify – it’s possible to recognise and return to what can seem as a former life (though, Brighton Pride has been cancelled for the second year running demonstrating that the route back to ‘normality’ is not free of obstacles). (more…)

Post-Pandemic: The Cockroaches of the Cultural Sector

Post-Pandemic: The Cockroaches of the Cultural Sector

During the 1980’s and 90s, when social enterprise was an innovative concept in Scotland, Strathclyde Regional Council, Objective 3 Partnership and the Scottish Centre for Regeneration were surprised when Fablevision board members  thanked them for turning down applications for funding on the grounds that we were ‘not sustainable’.  Having funding bids rejected forced Fablevision artists, like most other creative practitioners, to develop other, entrepreneurial business models that would allow them to continue their practice without compromising their vision or values and we thanked them for forcing us to be independent. Over the ensuing decades, Fablevision inherited furniture from Strathclyde  Regional Council when they shut up shop; computer equipment from Objective 3 Partnership when they closed and co-created  learning materials on the demise of the Scottish Centre for Regeneration.  The ‘unsustainable’ small cultural social enterprise outlasted all the big beasts. Like other small cultural organisations, we were light on our feet – able to adapt and pivot creatively and meet the new requirements of whatever adverse social/economic/political circumstances presented. There is a joke in community based cultural practice that practitioners of these arts are like ‘cockroaches will be after the nuclear holocaust – they will be the only living things to survive’.    (more…)

#CCSEConversations: Conversations Archive

#CCSEConversations: Conversations Archive

At CCSE, we began our conversations series in the autumn of 2020. The seed for these discussions was planted at our virtual conference in May 2020. This event – Festivals, Events & COVID19 – was an opportunity to explore and discuss the impacts of the pandemic across on aspects of arts and cultural praxis. At CCSE we were keen to find a way to continue these discussions, and to provide a platform for ongoing consideration and discussion of the ways in which the pandemic could and would change the ways that we approach and experience arts, culture, sports and aspects of travel and tourism that insect with the areas of interest for CCSE. (more…)

Review of the Year so Far: A View from Our Blog

Review of the Year so Far: A View from Our Blog

As Easter approaches and as we enter the second spring in which the restrictions brought about by the onset and continuation of the COVID19 pandemic, it is interesting take a moment of pause to reflect on the activities undertaken and progress made at CCSE.

Though the majority of colleagues active within CCSE have now been working from home for a year, through the Centre they have nevertheless continued their active engagement in areas of research, practice, policy and study that are of principle importance for CCSE’s remit. Furthermore, much of the activity undertaken has been recorded in posts to our weekly blog. (more…)

Paisley Book Festival Goes Digital

Paisley Book Festival Goes Digital

Following a successful and exhilarating first festival in February 2020, this year’s digital edition of Paisley Book Festival had to adapt quickly to fast changing circumstances. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that last year’s event was staged in entirely normal circumstances, when just a few weeks later we were plunged into lockdown. The months that followed were a rollercoaster of uncertainty that would alter our perceptions of what a festival like this could and should be. (more…)

Welcome To The “Lockdown Lounge”

Welcome To The “Lockdown Lounge”

In late March 2020 I watched with disbelief as my diary of project meetings, stock deliveries and workshops was wiped as the corona virus pandemic hit, leaving me wondering what next for my small business?

I’ve worked hard over the past five years to establish Gatekeeper Art with two main strands of business, as a selling artist and as a social historian delivering community heritage projects.

Following the initial clearing of my diary I salvaged some of the workshops in the projects I was working on then and adapted them to an online format and thus I was introduced to the wonderful world of “Zoom”. This is a new world for me and I have to admit to being both terrified and excited at the prospect of online delivery but willing to take on the challenge of a steep learning curve! (more…)