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…)

The Glen Cinema Memorial Artwork

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 to describe some of what we have learnt and experienced over the past two years while working on this project. (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…)

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…)

Football is Nothing Without Fans – Football, Theatre & COVID19

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 theatre in-the-round for Methuen Drama (Bloomsbury) and the pandemic has caused me to re-think my introduction to this monograph entirely. My view is that the recent ‘presence of absence’ of the spectator in live streams from stadia and performance spaces has re-emphasised the value, and therefore the influence of audiences on cultural and sporting organisations. (more…)