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The cultural regeneration of Scotland’s biggest town – Paisley - will be supported by an analysis led by UWS academics.

The team have been awarded grant by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support the project.

Professor David McGillivray, Project Lead and Chair in Event & Digital Cultures at UWS, said: “This grant is the outcome of a partnership built over the last few years between the University, Renfrewshire Council and the STAR Project.

“We have a collective interest in exploring the role arts and cultural activity can play in enhancing the wellbeing and prosperity of communities in Paisley and this project will enable us to work closely with people living in the town to access their experiences.

“The outcomes of the project will also feed directly into the ambitious plans the Council and other partners have to embed arts and cultural activities in the regeneration of Paisley.”
Professor David McGillivray, Project Lead at UWS

UKRI is funding 53 innovative national initiatives, worth a total of more than £1.4 million, enabling members of the public to actively contribute to research and innovation projects that affect their lives and local communities.

UWS’s team of researchers based in the Centre for Culture, Sport and Events, working alongside Renfrewshire Council and the local STAR Project community organisation, won the £22,500 UKRI award for their ‘Evidencing the Impact of Cultural Regeneration on Poverty: A Collaborative Approach’ project.

The project aims to explore the relationship between investment in cultural regeneration and the alleviation of poverty in Paisley’s communities. The research comes as the wide-ranging Future Paisley cultural regeneration programme gains momentum, using the town’s unique cultural stories to transform its future.

By uncovering the mechanisms behind how increased investment in cultural regeneration supports positive social and economic change within the Paisley community, the project will help Renfrewshire Council to understand the impact of its investment.

A team of researchers from UWS, Renfrewshire Council and the STAR Project will work collaboratively with community partners, to identify how best to research and deliver projects locally. The project will contribute to the ongoing work of CCSE and Future Paisley meaning the research legacy will continue beyond its initial funding.

Leonie Bell, Renfrewshire Council and Future Paisley Strategic Lead, said: “We are delighted to be working with UWS and STAR Project through the Centre for Culture Sport and Events.

“We welcome this funding, which will support the work they already do to undertake research and to bring an academic focus to the evaluation of how Paisley is harnessing the power of culture to transform lives and places.

“Through the Future Paisley programme, we are proud to be part of an area-wide partnership which aims to deliver on the aims of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, and position Paisley as a leader for towns everywhere in terms of cultural regeneration.”

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI, said: “This is one of 53 pilot projects that we have funded, all using exciting ways that researchers and innovators can involve the public in their work.

“In 2020 and beyond, we will build on the lessons we learn through funding these pilot projects to help us achieve our ambition of making research and innovation responsive to the knowledge, priorities and values of society and open to participation by people from all backgrounds.”