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.


Conference Presentation in Lausanne…

In early January, CCSE’s Deputy Director, Professor David McGillivray, was invited to the Olympic capital, Lausanne, to present his work as part of an Event, Cities and Urbanism conference hosted by the University of Lausanne.

The conference was held alongside the Youth Winter Olympic Games which also took place in Lausanne earlier in the month. Along with his co-investigator, Dr Andrew Smith, from University of Westminster, David presented a paper titled “The Long Term Implications of Mega Events for the Provision of Accessible Public Space”. This paper draws on the research Prof McGillivray and Dr Smith have been conducting as part of the HERA-funded FESTSPACE project.

They argued that major and mega sport events act as Trojan Horses; introducing new conditions and policies to host destinations which endure long after the event has moved on. Secondly, they suggested that hosting major and mega events in urban public space normalises these as venues, leading to greater interest from event organisers and city authorities to use them in the future.

To follow our ongoing research into festivals, events and public space, follow us on twitter @festspace1 or via the project website.

Sport & Sport Diplomacy: Save the Dream

Sport & Sport Diplomacy: Save the Dream

On the 6th and 7th of April 2019, the sports diplomacy organisation Save the Dream, organised the International Youth Forum ‘When Sport Breaks Down Walls.’ Save the Dream implements and promotes activities to empower youth through safe access to sport and to its educational and social values. Held in Berlin, the forum coincided with the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace and was an important step in promoting the use of sport for youth leaders as a tool of public diplomacy. It kicked-off a global campaign to raise awareness on the importance of using all possible peaceful means to break down walls which still exist today.

The Forum gathered eighty youth leaders from around the world and the messages conveyed during the event reached a global audience of more than 713,000 people. Those in attendance took part in the White Card Campaign (an online campaign organised by Peace and Sport that raises awareness for peace through sports) and the youth leaders worked together to produce a Final Declaration, that all attendees pledged to promote and to further support.

A report was published on November 9, 2019 marking 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall and reflecting on the outcomes of the International Youth Forum. In reading the report, it is clear that there remains a lot to be done, but it also offers a strong reminder of the achievements which are possible when working together. It echoes a positive message of unity within society, while focusing on the power of sport to inspire and empower people across nations, regardless of faith and socio-economic condition.

CCSE Seminar Series Details Announced!

The CCSE PhD research student team are delighted to announce the details of the first CCSE Seminar series! The CCSE will host three lunchtime seminars across January and February 2020. We have invited researchers and professionals to deliver presentations across on topics relevant to the work of the Centre. Each session will feature two 15 minute presentations, with 25 minutes for Q+A.

The line-up is as follows:

Date Theme Speakers
15th January  

Arts, Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy


Prof Gayle McPherson and Dr Allan Moore, Oluwaseyi Aina
29th January Sport, Cultural Events and Festivals  

Dr Carlton Brick, Solomon IIevbare


26th February  

Place-Focused Cultural Regeneration


Dr Clare Edwards, Conor Wilson


All sessions will take place at UWS Paisley Campus in room J211 unless stated otherwise. Everyone is welcome, so bring your lunch down and hear about some of the fascinating research taking place within the CCSE, across the university and beyond!

If you have any requirements or questions please contact

All seminars will take place from 1-2pm

click to view map in new tab

Coming soon.. lunchtime seminars from CCSE

Coming soon.. lunchtime seminars from CCSE

Starting in late October, CCSE will host a series of lunchtime seminars on the four themes studied by the centre:
• Arts, cultural diplomacy and soft power
• Place-focused cultural regeneration
• Sport, cultural events and festivals
• Media, communication and digital cultures

These will take place every other week, initially at UWS, Paisley campus. We have invited researchers and professionals tied to the centre, to share their knowledge on these four topics.

Each seminar will consist of a number of short presentations on related subjects.  The seminars are managed and organised by the CCSE PhD Student team, Lan Pham, Conor Wilson and Niclas Hell.

Stay tuned for the exact schedule!