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

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 the internationally recognised Paisley Pattern – alongside an opportunity to reflect upon the path that Paisley is navigating out of the pandemic.

While the impositions forced upon us by the necessity for COVID19 lockdowns have been many, the enforced break from the norm has nevertheless caused many to reflect on what constitutes success and where we should seek to invest our effort when seeking to create vibrant, liveable and sustainable communities. (more…)

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…)

‘Dry’ Trains to Newcastle…

‘Dry’ Trains to Newcastle…

On boarding the 12.30 LNER high-speed from Edinburgh Waverly to London Kings Cross, little did I expect that the journey itself would begin in such a decidedly uncanny manner

Having taken our prebooked seats, applied  earphones, and settled back to enjoy the 5-hour journey as best we could, a slight sense of unease then enveloped the carriage as the tannoy announced: ‘This is a dry train. No alcohol will be served on this train, and no alcohol is to be consumed on this train, between Waverly station and Newcastle.’ (more…)

CCSE: A (half) Year in Review

CCSE: A (half) Year in Review

As the new academic year pick up pace, we find ourselves tentitively adjusting to something of a return to a more conventional office life. Albeit one in which venturing out in public my still result in failure to recognise someone you’ve known for years on account of only being able to see half of their face! Nevertheless, it is encouraging that we are able to look forward to some work taking place in ‘real life’ settings rather than in the ether. (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…)