What a year this has been, I always knew it was going to be busy but hadn’t envisaged just how busy, albeit, a great year. My commitment after this is to blog each month and keep up to date. This year was to see me and others I work with both internally and externally deliver on a range of projects, research and knowledge exchange.

I ran the KJ (Ho) Methods course at the start of the year this year for a group of creatives funded by Creative Scotland and delivered by a group of Japanese Professors. This was an exciting problem solving course for the creative industries and was well received.

Myself and a consortium of staff from 3 universities (@davidgmcgillivray; @sandrocf; @jennyflinn99; @dsrjarman; @lauragraham82 and Jane Ali-Knight) ) ran the International Leisure Studies Association Conference in Paisley and Glasgow. We welcomed around 110 delegates, two thirds of them from overseas. Our Scottish hospitality of cultural walking tours round the urban regeneration areas of the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow and a good old Ceilidh along with great papers and fantastic keynotes ensured a great time was had by all. We received some really lovely notes of appreciation afterwards, which makes all the stress of running a conference great.

All this was going on whilst I am involved in two fantastic research projects that I’m proud to be part of. The Digital Commonwealth http://digitalcommonwealth.co.uk/ project led overall by @davidgmcgillivray, and other parts of it by @jennifermjones, @CrenellatedArts and myself is a participatory practice project that aimed to increase digital literacy throughout Scotland, through creative interventions. There was a schools element where we upskilled school learners in audio, video, blogging and social media and a community media cafe element that did the same but with local peope in communities throughout Scotland. Then 3 creative voices elements; Songwriting, led by David Scott @thepearlfishers; Filmmaking, led by Tony Grace and Creative Writing led by David Manderson @davidtmanderson that engaged with external community groups. The context of all of this was Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games which we focused on key themes of culture, people, place and exchange. We are in the process of showcasing the great output produced from all these groups and conducting our evaluation of the project. We will report on this in the New Year.

The other great research project that I am working on is the Leveraging Parasport Events: for Sustainable Community Participation, this is led by @lsmisener and involves myself, @davidgmcgillivray; @davidfhlegg, @krich052. This is a comparative study examining Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as an integrated event and comparing that to the Pan Para/pan American Games in Toronto 2015 where para sport events are separated by time and place. So, as you might imagine this summer was a really busy time at the Games. We conducted 3000 surveys with volunteers pre and post Games, conducted on site surveys with spectators at the Games and online and conducted observation in venue at 5 Commonwealth Games Venues. We have a lot of data and are in the process of analysing that and trying to turn it into publications and conference output. We aim to deliver a Carnegie Public Engagement event in February of next year with Glasgow Life to try to reach a wider audience so that should be good. Then we will repeat all the work in Toronto next summer. I spoke at the Holyrood Legacy Conference on our work and I spoke at the Sport and Disability conference in Coventry and myself and my colleague David McGillivray spoke at the Cross Party Working Group of the Scottish Parliament on some of the early findings of our work. We were also recognised in achieving a Gold Medal at the GameChanger awards for research excellence. This was a great achievement for our internationally collaborative project. Roll on the next phase

In between all of this I have been teaching as a visiting Professor at the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. I was out there in March and May working with a great group of International students and staff and will be going again next week to work with a different group of students all on the MA in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy Programme.

My work locally continues with Renfrewshire Council who have ambitious and inspiring plans to bid for the City of Culture in 2021 and are co-funding a PhD studentship with the University of the West of Scotland, titled Leveraging Cultural Assets through Events, Festivals and Cultural Engagement: Paisley 2021. This is an exciting time for the Paisley and the University.

Lastly, I have been trying as always to produce research articles out of my research work but a big project I have been doing is with my colleague Allan Dumbreck where we have edited a book called The Music Industry Entrepreneur and contributed to a couple of chapters to that book too. This is due to go to the publishers before Christmas, so I better get on with the final edits.

Well that’s all for now. I promise to blog a bit more often next year.


I’m at the seminar on cultural planning at Creative Scotland offices in Edinburgh today and run by Napier University. I’ve summarised below some of the key issues from Greg Baeker and Sally Hun from Toronto. ¬†You will recall we used some of Greg’s work and you have read the Baeker report as part of the cultural planning course.

A round up of Greg Baekers’ talk this morning on cultural planning. ¬†Cultural assets being leveraged to aid regeneration in deprived communities in cities but also in the rural communities. ¬†Baeker talked too of the creative rural community. This seems to fit well with many of our Scottish creative communities which are identified as creative places and/or spaces, as can be seen from Creative Scotland’s Place partnerships and Creative Place awards for Scottish Communities. ¬†The examples from Canada are inspiring to see the joined-up approaches of not only the national agencies for the arts and culture but local authorities and city planners. ¬†They link the cultural economy with both the creative industries and the cultural industries, recognising that these are not just one sector. ¬†We have witnessed the same dilemmas over the terms of creative industries, suggesting they are only businesses where the cultural sector tends to lend itself to including third sector organisations and social enterprises. ¬†Festivals and events both rural and urban Baeker argues are key cultural assets for cities that are often overlooked and seen as an added extra or as something for local communities or private sectors. ¬†These areas can add significantly to the overall cultural offering of cities and locations, as many of you have talked about in our seminars and workshops. ¬†I’m heartened to see this as a key agenda point (not least since I am a Professor that looks at events and cultural policies) for our city policy makers. ¬†Toronto uses cultural mapping and in policy terms refers to the outputs as creative cultural gains as this is the language the fits best with politicians and policy makers in justifying spending in these areas.

We went on to hear from Sally Han, Senior Cultural affairs officer from the city of Toronto and project manager for Making Space for Culture. ¬†She outlined the Creative Capital Gains report that Toronto adopted to invest in culture as a way of meeting the city’s overall strategic objectives. $250m of city money that was more than matched by the private sector to make projects happen. Business leaders and cultural leaders got together over a ten year period to make strides in building work and development of a cultural plan for the whole city in 2003. Benchmarks for the city of $25 per capita as a benchmark for spending in the city since they were behind their American counterparts. ¬†A decade on, cultural tourism, cultural development and enterprise all come under one portal now. ¬†She highlighted that government support is still key to sustainability and private sector is seen as more than just the icing on the cake, but it is additional spend. ¬†The City need to use the cultural assets to change infrastructure and access to the city and venues to help people engage. She stressed events like @TO2015 help leverage cultural spending and investment. ¬†Added to that Toronto has a strong knowledge economy with 7 Universities in the city engaging in the Creative Industries helps enormously. Policy makers and national arts agencies @creativescots need to see the benefit of engaging strategically with Universities with creative and cultural schools and departments as these are the people that are most often linked to our creative practitioner, artists and planners.

Will hear more from the screen industries and academia later today.  


The cultural lens

Posted: October 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

The cultural lens.

Cultural Planning

Posted: September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

We have been deep in discussion about the basic assumptions underpinning the cultural planning approach in the past couple of days.  Our short course in Cultural Planning (now in its second year) started yesterday with a full house of 15 participants from a wide variety of backgrounds; regeneration, culture, education, photography, architecture and museums.  A good mix of spirited people keen to debate and share examples.  We have drawn people from across the West and South West of Scotland but have also managed to attract a cultural planner from Sweden; giving us some interesting insights into approaches there.

Today the participants are out in Govan doing a practical fieldtrip with some inspiring guest speakers this afternoon. We will meet back with the participants in two months time, after they have a chance to try to conduct a mapping exercise using the cultural planning approach.  I have created another blog called uwsculturalplanning if you are keen to hear more. There is an audio boo, blog posts, readings and slides that will go up over the next couple of months.

Get in touch if your interested to talk further or ask any questions.

It feels like my colleague (@davidgmcgillivray) and I can finally come up for air since we submitted the final draft of our report to Creative Scotland this month. We are presenting preliminary results and discussing possible evaluation templates at the Scottish Cultural Evidence Network this coming Friday 26th April at Creative Scotland offices in Edinburgh. We will be drawing on some of the challenges of evaluating such large scale, multi-layered projects and discussing how impacts from such events are attributed to changes in cultural participation/regeneration/tourism etc and the concurrent difficulties that lies within this. It has been a hugely interesting project that has made me think differently about measurement and impact and the assigning thereof to any specific outputs from one of projects. We’ll save the detail for the seminar.

Our paper Capturing the Cultural Olympiad in Scotland: The case for multi-criteria analysis for Cultural Trends has just gone to the publisher for online publication with the paper version coming later in the year so look out for that soon.

We have also just had news that our chapter Foley, M; Mcgillivray, D and McPherson, G, The Cultural Value of Mega-Events: the co-creation of public policy is to be published in Bryson, Crosby and Bloomberg (2014) Creating Public Value in Practice is to be published by CRC Press / Taylor and Francis the USA publishers next year so that is exciting to be part of that project. We still have some revisions for that so I’ll be working on that a bit later in the month.

And finally, our new book Finkel,R; McGillivray, D; McPherson, G and Robinson, P (2013) Research Themes for Events by CABI has gone to print and will be out in November. This seems to have taken an age to get to print but the end result is a good collection of themes for events and case studies from across the globe.

So, now on to finishing a chapter for the future of events book by Yeoman et al and working on a research bid to the Big Lottery.  I have just finished delivering some social media training to Renfrewshire Council with @jennifermjones so you would think I would be better at catching up with my own blog posts!

Till next time…..


Latest Cultural Offerings

Posted: August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

The past couple of months have been an array of all things cultural.  From the excitement of #citizenrelay as the Olympic Torch came through Scotland and interviewing the kids at Netherlee Primary and participating in their celebrations.  @dgmcgillivray and @jennifermjones have made a great job of this pan Scotland project.  

I participated in a great seminar at the University of Warwick with Eleonora Belfiore, @elebelfiore, Dave O’Brien @DrDaveOBrien and about 20 other cultural academics from the UK. ¬†It was a great couple of days with new relationships emerging and old ones strengthening. Some of these formed in the first place through twitter, the power of social media is indeed useful to academics.

I also travelled to Stavanger in Norway, where I participated in a keynote panel discussion on Events Policy and had a good academic discussion with the likes of Matt Frew @graffiticloud, Don Getz, Alan Jepson, Rhodri Thomas and of course our host Reidar Mykletun¬†among others. ¬†The academy of Event Studies was born out of the conference so looking forward to hearing more of that in due course. ¬†I then gave the a presentation on the Future of Scottish Tourism: key policy issues and opportunities as part of the Opening Session at this year’s Leisure Studies Association conference at Edinburgh University. ¬†All this before I even ventured to London to see what was happening with @London2012Fest and the Cultural Olympiad. The Cultural Festival of the Olympics offered a wide array of activities for engagement and the spectacle of both the Opening Ceremony, Hyde Park and much of London’s festivities didn’t disappoint. ¬†Scotland had its share of the Cultural Olympiad and many of those projects are still in full flight. ¬†With over 50 projects linked to the Cultural programme of the London 2012 Olympics in Scotland Ruth MacKenzie, Iain Munro, Leonie Bell and others certainly ensured Scotland was involved and engaged.

My time on the Board of Creative Scotland has come to an end but not the relationship. ¬†I’m working on a few exciting projects on the International front, with a role as an International Cultural Ambassador for Scotland taking shape for next year. ¬†I was in London at Scotland House for a couple of Creative Scotland’s events and they certainly showcased Scottish Music and Scottish Film well to our International partners as well as staging a couple of ceilidhs with VisitScotland. ¬†

Myself, David McGillivray, Jennifer Jones, Margaret Scott and Sarah Scott from UWS have just been commissioned to conduct the Impact Evaluation for the London 2012 programme along with colleagues Beatriz Garcia and Tamsin Cox from University of Liverpool and Rachel Granger from University of Middlesex so we are busy conducting research for that just now.  Watch this space for updates.

Finally, I have been finishing a paper (with Foley and McGillivray) for a conference in the USA at the Centre for Integrative Public Leadership in September at the University of Minnesota on The Cultural Value of Mega-Events: the co-creation of public policy.

So, who says academics have an easy life over the summer. ¬†It has certainly been busy for me, but hey ho, what exciting material and people I’ve had to work with. ¬†


The Global Impact of the Olympics and the London 2012 Games: an interview with Professor Gayle McPherson – Anglo Higher¬ģ Publishes News, Commentary and Opinion About Global Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Professional Training.