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:
Arts, Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy
Prof Gayle McPherson and Dr Allan Moore, Oluwaseyi Aina
Sport, Cultural Events and Festivals
Dr Carlton Brick, Solomon IIevbare
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!
Many of us use social media to communicate with other likeminded academics and practitioners, and attending conferences and giving presentations is a key part of what we do, but what happens when you combine the two? A Twitter Conference! As an early career researcher I am always keen to keep up to date with current events in my field, and explore avenues which help my research, practice and teaching. When the opportunity to “attend” and “present” at a virtual conference arose, I wanted to submit an abstract and explore how it worked.
My abstract for the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference (#PATC4) is related to a project which I had undertaken in my practitioner role, as part of a project with PAS and Historic Environment Scotland (HES). I worked with Dr Antonia Thomas at the University of the Highlands and Islands on a project exploring heritage crime with young people, as part of a national pilot which PAS had been commissioned to deliver on behalf of HES, connected to the launch of a national crime initiative. Orkney was one of the pilot locations I set up; working with Stromness Academy I devised a day of practical fieldwork visiting archaeological sites on the Orkney Mainland (working with Antonia to find suitable sites), and a day of in class reflection for co-designing resources relating to heritage crime. The site visits allowed the pupils to have an insight into archaeological recording techniques, and walk through a town which was familiar to them to explore it with a “heritage eye” as a town planner or heritage professional might view a space. Graffiti has long existed on Orkney archaeological sites in many forms, but caring for the sites for the future means engaging younger audiences and new audiences with the heritage management issues around that. As the project was a pilot, we were able to experiment with different workshop styles and teaching techniques, allowing the pupils to record themselves (and their findings) using digital kit as part of the reflective activities.. on day two they created amazing resources such as posters, games and presentation for different audiences including their peers, heritage professionals, primary school pupils and even cruise ship passengers.
We had up to 15 Tweets to convey our message around this project, and share an insight into our findings but for academics who are used to being a little more wordy in our communication, how did we manage that?
• Write down our key messages, then edit these down (again, if needed!)
• Take off a few Tweets for introduction, bio’s and conclusion, see how many are left
• Split the Tweets into two as we were co-authoring the paper, and write each part then share our drafts in word
• Ensure we had interesting visual content to accompany our paper (note, we had photographic consent forms from those who appear in the images- especially important when working with young people)
• Tag people in on conversations using their Twitter handle to help with engagement
• Programme Tweets in advance using Tweetdeck, to avoid quickly having to type paper content within the allocated presentation time window
• Remember to include the conference hashtag in each post
Twitter Conference Moment- screenshot extract of paper
Things I learned:
• Staying in touch with the conference organisers, and following their helpful instructions is essential (#PATC4 has a wordpress blog with information on the background of Twitter conferences)
• Composing Tweets in advance helped make a cohesive discussion and ensure we had included key points
• Tweetdeck cannot make threaded Tweets, compiling Tweets into a Twitter moment afterwards is another way to archive discussions
• One person has to Tweet on behalf of everyone presenting a joint conference paper where you require sequential numbered Tweets, but you can make it clear who says what through your text annotation
• Programme in time to respond to comments on your paper, (just like at any conference it is likely people will have questions)
• Allow yourself time to view other presentations too (especially those which relate to your conference sub theme)
• Taking part in a Twitter conference is a lot of fun! #PATC4 even had a musical accompaniment to its papers, there was a DJ and playlist who joined in – #PATC4Jams
Simplifying a paper into Tweet form certainly helps focus your mind, it is a very different format from more longform writing. It has to be eye catching and to the point, but also represent your argument and project appropriately. I have previously participated in “newer” forms of academic engagement (lightning talks, research slams, Pecha Kucha, PubPhD, Three Minute Thesis) and I feel that Twitter conferences definitely have their place alongside these and more traditional forms of presentation like posters, journal articles and in person conference presentations. Being able to communicate your research and academic interests in more than one form definitely helps the skillset of academics at any stage of their career, and the use of these techniques is also opening up a debate about democratising conferences (Twitter has no travel costs and you can either participate live, or catch up at a later time by working remotely at a time which suits you). I would highly recommend submitting a paper to a Twitter conference if you have the opportunity!
The weeks from late October until mid-December always seem to be some of the most hectic of the year, and this is especially true for researchers looking at events like myself. My PhD projects aims at understanding the social and economic impacts of the Paisley urban regeneration programmes. One of the flagships of this investment scheme is the public events programme, and that is thus one of the major cases studied. In a period of only five weeks in duration, four big events are on in Paisley:
The Spree festival,
The Halloween festival,
The Paisley Fireworks extravaganza, and
the Christmas lights switch on.
Halloween is by far the biggest event. 41,000 people (in a town with – generously speaking – some 74,000 inhabitants) participate in a two-day celebration spread out all over town. This also means researchers and consultants administer questionnaires and interviews. My questionnaire revolves around the willingness-to-pay on the demand side, and perceived impact on the supply side.
Measuring willingness to pay for a service which is free of charge indicates the worth of the service provided. Adding this up with travel costs, shopping, and sometimes other costs, shows us what people are willing to spend to experience a night out in Paisley. In this case, a large majority thought that it was important that the event programme was mainly free, but they would still have come if there had been a fee: the fun fair, the only part of the programme where more or less everything had an entrance fee, was the place where most people asked for an increase of the available programme.
Though the demand-side of the survey is arguably the most important, earlier evaluations did not ask local shopkeepers’ opinions (though there are other ways to measure that, such as dialogue with the opinions of the local Business Improvement District). Understanding whether, and which, businesses benefit from the events programme brings an important piece of information to understanding the economic impact on the area. Interestingly, most of the shopkeepers who stated that their business suffered as a result of the closed roads and crowded streets rather than gained from it, said that they still wholeheartedly supported the event programme as such, as it brought life to the town.
The Halloween festival attracts people from all over Scotland, and earlier evaluations show that around 40 % of visitors come from outside of Renfrewshire. In the coming weeks, there will be two events attracting a predominantly ‘Renfrewshirian’ crowd. Performing the same survey with these participants and shopkeepers at smaller, more local events provides an interesting insight in how hosting the sheer volume of 41,000 people affects the community. Is being a big event venue the road forward for Paisley?
On 11-12th September 2019, CCSE’s Professor David McGillivray and Dr Severin Guillard attended the conference “Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe” as part of their HERA-funded project, FESTSPACE. This 2-day conference was a good opportunity to meet with members of the other 19 funded projects, and to develop research plans with the FESTSPACE researchers based in London, Dublin, Barcelona and Gothenburg.
During the conference, the team displayed a poster presenting the project’s research questions and the ways they will be addressed in each case study, and held various meetings to discuss future conferences presentations and collective publications.
This event also provided a fruitful opportunity to exchange idea on the theoretical reflection and empirical investigations which have started in each city, and the specificity of the work carried out by each member. While the London team (Dr Andrew Smith, Dr Goran Vodicka and Prof Guy Osborn) has started to investigate everyday interactions in London’s Finsbury Park, Dr Bernadette Quinn and Dr Theresa Ryan (Technological University Dublin) are exploring how expectations for solitude and silence shape encounters in Dublin’s public libraries. Dr Kristina Lindstrom is observing how laws and regulation inform the production of Gothenburg’s festivals, while Dr Alba Colombo highlights how language, place of origin and place of living influence the perception of Barcelona’s events. Finally, the Glasgow team (Prof. David McGillivray, Prof. Gayle McPherson and Dr Severin Guillard) has begun to address the issues at stake in the promotion of Glasgow’s as an event city, involving interviews with public institutions and festival organisers.
More information about the FESTSPACE project is available here Follow the project on Twitter at @FESTSPACE1.
CCSE Professors, David McGillivray and Gayle McPherson recently returned from a week in Tokyo, Japan, as part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded Japan-UK project focused on the Paralympic Games and Social Change. The project is designed to build Japanese research capacity around disability studies and sport to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities. In March 2019, six Japanese colleagues visited the UK to learn about disability sport studies and visit Stoke Mandeville, while in June UK colleagues visited Tokyo for a week to understand more about the way the Paralympic Games 2020 are to be leveraged to the benefit of people with disabilities in Japan. Professors McGillivray and McPherson participated in a tour of games venues, helped host a policy forum and shared future research plans during a symposium held at the Houses of Parliament, attended by members of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, government ministers and Japanese academics in the field of disability sport.
Parasport events like the Paralympic Games are often heralded for raising awareness of disability-related issues and for transforming attitudes towards people with a disability in the host nation, and internationally. However, building on several large comparative research projects undertaken over the last five years, Professor’s McGillivray and McPherson have demonstrated the need for concrete, resourced and effectively leveraged strategies if the enthusiasm and excitement generated by events is to be sustained in the longer term.The project continues until December 2019 and progress can be followed at http://paralegacy2020.net/about/.
On the 3rd July 2019, I presented at the Global Strategy Forum, in the National Liberal Club, in Whitehall, London. Global Strategy Forum is an open forum, founded in 2006 and dedicated to the promotion of fresh thinking and active debate on foreign affairs, defence and international security issues. It was an interesting audience of about 80 people; made up of Ambassadors, Lords, Ladies, MPS, ex-military personnel and policy makers. The session was entitled: The GSF/British Council July 2019 Research Launch: ‘Building A Lasting Peace: New Approaches To Conflict And Recovery’.
The website promoted the event saying ‘we were delighted to welcome to GSF Professor Gayle McPherson of the University of the West of Scotland, and Professor Joanne Hughes of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast’. We presented the key findings of new research commissioned by the British Council on the role of education and culture in international efforts to address the causes of conflict and build sustainable peace and discussed their implications for UK and international peace and security policy. The event was co-chaired by Lord Lothian PC QC DL, Chairman of GSF and Dan Shah, Director, Research at the British Council.
After presentations from Joanne and me, the panel were open to questions from the audience. This was a very well informed audience, who were keen to quiz us on specific examples of the contribution of culture and education to global security and stability. It led to an interesting discussion as I was suggesting unusually, that culture, is often both the cause of conflict and a possible aid in post conflict resolution and indeed in conflict prevention. I discussed examples from our research in Rwanda, Colombia and Syria; Syria continuing to present the most challenge of course, as it is not yet post-conflict. The audience were engaging and some of the questions were a bit left-field but thankfully Dan Shah, Director of Research for the British Council was on hand to help with those. We will continue our work in the fields of cultural diplomacy and soft power; and would be happy to collaborate further with colleagues that are keen to be involved with the Centre. Alison Bailey, from The British Council published a short report in conjunction with us called Art as Peace and this is available from the link below along with Joanne’s report on Education for Peace.