Paisley creatives band together to answer the question on “everybuddy’s” lips at the ‘What’s Next? Connect, Share and Celebrate’ event

After losing the City of Culture bid earlier this month, many Paisley Buddies have been asking what’s next for the thriving culture hub.


Despite missing out on the title, Paisley’s brightest and boldest creatives gathered in Paisley Town Hall last Wednesday night at the ‘What’s Next? Connect, Share and Celebrate’ event hosted by the Creative Renfrewshire Network.

It was an evening of lightning talks from various creative speakers, and there was a pass the mic slot where the community could inspire with news from their local areas.

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A 2018 ambition tree was on hand for attendees to pin up their personal goals for the New Year

Alan Clark, Project Manager of youth arts charity CREATE Paisley, gave a talk on the power of volunteers in allowing Paisley’s young people tap in to their full potential.

He told Clyde Outside his favourite part of the night was the atmosphere.

Alan Clark said: “The highlight for me was the optimism in the room.

“Despite Paisley being unsuccessful with its bid to become UK City of Culture 2021, the community are looking ahead and dreaming about a bright future for Paisley and Renfrewshire with culture playing a key part in that.”

Alan explained that ‘What’s Next? Connect, Share and Celebrate’ was also an opportunity to “shape the future of the community and continue to celebrate the vibrancy of what’s happening in Renfrewshire – all over some Christmas cheer.”

3 years stay

Opinion boards were dotted around the room. This one asked attendees to share what Renfrewshire needed to improve over the next three years in order to make them stay.

The evening was hosted by the Creative Renfrewshire Network and Gillian Easson, Director of Creative Dundee.

Creative Renfrewshire members took the time to reflect on the Paisley 2021 journey and the network’s many research trips to Creative Dundee, Hull and The Stove Network in Dumfries.

Whilst, Gillian Easson from Creative Dundee acted as a “spirit guide” for Paisley Buddies in terms of culture and future visions for Paisley.

With regards to the cultural love-exchange between the two cities, Gillian told Clyde Outside: “Paisley and Dundee share many similarities as former industrial and innovation hubs. Each has impressive natural surroundings, a significant number of student inhabitants, and now both have culture firmly rooted at the core of their regeneration plans.

“A collaboration between Creative Dundee and Creative Renfrewshire makes great sense to explore what’s next for our creative places – beyond the big cities

“We’re harnessing and celebrating creative people based here to make sure they are visible, heard and connected.

“Through this Renfrewshire will continue to be highly creative and boldly ambitious. This is absolutely what our future economy and society needs.”


Another opinion board proposing future collaborations and partnerships between individuals and organisations.

Among other the speakers of the night were Andy Campbell and Gary Kerr, founding members of the Paisley Community Trust, who outlined the Trust’s journey to date – highlighting how Paisley’s Untold Story Town Heritage Asset strategy inspired much of the work. They also talked about their welcomed ambitious Baker Street plans to transform part of Paisley into an arts hub.

Alison McCandlish a PhD student in cultural planning at UWS, also gave a presentation about her cultural mapping PHD, aimed at encouraging people to have fun with heritage – which appeared to inspire this mini mapping of culture throughout Renfrewshire.

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Renfrewshire culture map

Keren McKean also gave an inspiring talk about 20+ years of music industry experience, including managing Snow Patrol. And, Sam Gonçalves, the Digital Producer at Creative Dundee, also spoke about his experiences capturing and telling stories from Brazil, Paisley and Dundee.

Morag Macpherson, Head of Cultural Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, was also at the event and she told Clyde Outside: “The ‘What Next’ event was a brilliant opportunity to regroup and focus on the positive.

“It’s great that the Creative Renfrewshire Network have been working with Creative Dundee to think about how we take our creative journey forward.

“We have huge opportunities in the future to make the most of, including the redevelopment of the museum, town hall and arts centre, and a new Library.

“It’s going to be really important over the next few years that we can enable the Creative sector to take opportunities, and the ‘What Next’ event was the perfect start.”

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About Hannah McLaren

Hannah is Head of Design for our print magazine, The Pattern, and is a student journalist with an interest in writing cultural, social, community and arts features.

View all posts by Hannah McLaren →

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