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…)

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…)

The Olympic Games as a Weak Excuse

The Olympic Games as a Weak Excuse

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…)

A Second Summer of COVID, Nearing (New) Normality?

A Second Summer of COVID, Nearing (New) Normality?

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 – Football, Theatre & COVID19

Football is Nothing Without Fans – Football, Theatre & COVID19

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…)

‘Au revoir’ FESTSPACE & CCSE (But Hopefully Not An ‘Adieu’!)

‘Au revoir’ FESTSPACE & CCSE (But Hopefully Not An ‘Adieu’!)

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…)