On a blustery Friday afternoon, hardy and rain-spotted folk from in and around Paisley gathered at the Beechwood Community Centre in Shortroods to take part in the first of the workshops planned as part of our UKRI funded place-based partnership project:Improving Community Wellbeing and Prosperity through Culture, #ArtandSoul.

This partnership-focussed work looks at how the benefits of arts and culture projects, interventions, activities and interests benefit local communities. The work undertaken will, we hope, provide evidence of cultural value as well as giving insights into the ways in which local communities and individuals participate in arts and culture. In turn, our findings will feed into policy and practice discussions taking place within community organisations and, at local authority level; helping those who deliver support and services to better understand the wants, needs, skills, abilities and interests of their communities.

Photo credit: Willie Kay

In liaison with local community leaders, our project partners at STAR Project and within Renfrewshire Council’s Cultural Regeneration team led the workshop which was attended by about 50 local community members alongside representatives from a range of local and national organisations; including NHS Scotland, Renfrewshire Leisure and the Disability Resource Centre.

The activities undertaken – and the discussions that arose from them – provided a huge data set which we must now collate, analyse and feed into the next phases of this project and, into the wider discussions currently ongoing at council level – and particularly within the Future Paisley Partnership – on the strategic direction of some of their cultural regeneration work.

We had a great, fun-filled afternoon that also gave us much to think about; there was a lot to say about the art and culture in Paisley as well as about ‘what’s not there’ and ‘what’s been lost’ over the years. That people attended in numbers in spite of really atrocious weather conditions helped to ensure that we were able to gather some very rich and valuable data to take forward in this project and, to feed into relevant discussions and debates on cultural regeneration in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland and elsewhere.


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