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Culture community at the heart of Paisley’s culture bid

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Renfrewhire’s culture champions and event organisers showed their support for Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid as the town celebrated its first 2021 weekend – Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 February – this year.

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Passionate culture enthusiasts joined in the cultural conversation – the first of many public engagement sessions for the town – and even brought along personal objects that represent what makes Paisley to them.

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The ideas exchanged at the event will help to develop plans for a cultural programme of events as part of the town’s bid.

Hosted by the Paisley 2021 bid team – in association with the Creative Renfrewshire Network – attendees also had the opportunity to give their views on the draft Creative Renfrewshire strategy.

They also found out about the £500k Culture, Events and Heritage Fund designed to support the local creative sector ahead of the bid, which is now open to applications.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Chair of Paisley City of Culture Partnership Board, spoke about how Renfrewshire’s cultural community are at the very heart of Paisley’s bid.

He said: “Paisley’s has a thriving contemporary cultural scene and that’s down to Renfrewshire’s cultural community. On our doorstep we have the UK’s largest youth theatre – PACE, fantastic community groups – Rockus Community Choir and the newly formed Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir, and lots more going on in the town’s venues each and every week.

“We have a great location and excellent transport links that are already a major boost for people coming into the town, but mean we have capacity for more tourists and visitors and that’s a big part of our plans.

“Paisley is utterly unique. Our contribution to the world has been absolutely massive and people shouldn’t be shy in shouting about it. We have a globally-recognised brand – the Paisley Pattern – and the second highest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in Scotland – from the Abbey, town hall and observatory to unique gems like the Grand Fountain.

“And Paisley’s bid will put the town in the international spotlight, helping to attract tourists and bring people into our town centres.”

The weekend also put a spotlight on Paisley’s culture and events scene, with people encouraged to take to Twitter and Instagram and share photos using #Paisley2021 to help take a snapshot of what happens in the town on an average weekend.

Highlights of the weekend included Call to Yarns – the kick-off of the Renfrewshire Tapestry project, and Paisley on Film – a unique showcase of old photographs and films about the town, hosted in University of West of Scotland.

Heritage walks, live music, art exhibitions and art classes also featured.

Councillor Macmillan added: “This weekend is very important to Paisley’s bid. It has helped us create a clear picture of the town’s culture and events on an average weekend. This snapshot is a baseline that, along with the views of the community, will help us develop a distinctive, innovative and inclusive cultural programme which stretches across all of Renfrewshire.”

Find out more about Paisley 2021 by liking facebook.com/Paisley2021, following @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram or visiting www.Paisley2021.co.uk.