A cultural extravaganza of a year

Posted: November 20, 2014 in Uncategorized
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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.


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