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.

Blogs on this theme: 

FestSpace Film(s)

Originally posted on, this blog is reproduced here with kind permission. Barcelona’s FestSpace team has produced a short video to bring together the objectives of the research and to summarise its key outcomes. It includes the perspective of the five...

The Anniversary Of London 2012 Olympic Games – The Social Value Of Events?

Our Spirit of London 2012 and Local Trust funded research project examining the social value of community events was completed at the end of last year. This week, I participated in a webinar alongside project collaborator Tamsin Cox. Chaired by Bill Morris, LVO, and,...

The Challenges of COVID and the Effect of the Pandemic on Physical Activity in Adaptive Sport

It is easy to forget that in a world before COVID there were already significant barriers for people with disabilities and chronic illness who wanted to take part in physical activity. Some of these barriers were physical in nature, such as inaccessible facilities,...

Don’t Just Patch – Have a Revolution / Begin by Sewing on a Button

The Grand Conversaziones series – part of the currently ongoing Paisley Exhibition – kicked off on the second Friday in February with a frank and fascinating exploration of Paisley’s Present. The event provided a timely reminder of the town’s assets – chief among them...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

‘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...