place-focused culturAL regeneration

This theme includes:

  • cultural participation and engagement
  • arts and health
  • cultural policy and regeneration
  • creative practice
  • socially embedded arts practice 
One of the principal activities of the CCSE is to undertake research and knowledge exchange activities focused on the importance of arts, culture and events to the development of places – in this case Paisley and the wider Renfrewshire area. Under the theme of place-focused cultural regeneration, the CCSE’s focus from 2018-2021 is to undertake research enquiries to assess the extent to which Paisley’s investment in arts, culture, heritage and events activity has produced intended outcomes – and what unintended outcomes have emerged. The CCSE will ensure that research and evaluation expertise are fundamental and embedded parts of Paisley’s approach to cultural regeneration.

Renfrewshire Council’s commitment to the establishment of the CCSE is driven in particular by the need to demonstrate the impact of cultural regeneration and to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of a multi-disciplinary approach to achieving five step changes:

1. Grow a significant new dimension to Paisley’s economy;
2. Radically change Paisley’s image and reputation in Scotland, the UK and internationally;
3. Paisley will be recognised for its cultural excellence;
4. Lift Paisley’s communities out of poverty;
5. Transform Paisley into a vibrant cultural town centre.

Over £100m is being invested to transform Paisley culturally, physically, socially and economically. This investment includes a once-in-a-generation transformation of the town centre, including re-imagining Paisley Museum as a world-class destination, building a new Learning and Cultural Hub at the heart of the High Street and refurbishing the Town Hall so it becomes a landmark entertainment venue. This investment also extends beyond bricks and mortar into neighbourhoods and communities, aiming to take new approaches through the arts, heritage and culture to improving people’s health and wellbeing, raising educational attainment and contributing to inclusive economic growth. Paisley’s cultural regeneration is founded upon and being driven by a partnership approach. The Paisley Partnership led Paisley’s UK City of Culture bid and is now committed to building on this momentum to lead Paisley’s cultural renewal into the future. The Future Paisley Partnership Board includes leading organisations representing Paisley’s communities and businesses, culture and events, further and higher education, health and police. It is grounded in local knowledge and has a national and international reach and influence.
Two PhD studentships will be conducted through this theme. The first studentship will use participatory arts practices to investigate the impact of the arts on health in order to better understand the scope of cultural inclusion for improving health and wellbeing and reducing health inequalities. The doctoral student will be embedded within the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Paisley Partnership’s Culture, Arts and Social Care Network. The second studentship will be embedded within Renfrewshire Council’s Regeneration Service and will investigate, evidence and analyse the direct and indirect effects on Paisley’s local economy of cultural regeneration programmes and the stimulation of the local creative industries sector.

In this theme we also draw on Centre members’ long-term engagement in place-making through embedded research, conducted with disfranchised communities and concerning changes brought about, and intensified, by community voice, media, policy engagement, as well as co-curation with grassroots organizations and local cultural agents. Centre staff have extensive experience of outreach activity, knowledge and research exchange focused on arts-based methods and active citizenship with peripheral communities across Europe, (RSE Arts and Humanities Network Award Regeneration and Heritage Zones in Northern Europe: Interdisciplinary and Cross-Institutional Research Network, Creative Scotland funded Riverside Solidarity; in India Resources of Hope AHRC/GCRF, and in Brazil and Argentina. These projects established a working method based on long-term embedded participatory research-practice in place-making – a multi-stakeholder and cross-institutional platform for co-production of knowledge.