billboard mock up 2

THE work of creative writers is being displayed in a very unusual place – a five-and-a-half metre high billboard outside a railway station.

The unique outdoor visual arts project will be seen by people passing Paisley’s Gilmour Street Station and is part of Renfrewshire Leisure’s Out of Place programme that also features online gigs, film, audio performances and creative workshops.

billboard mock up 2

The specially-commissioned work from Renfrewshire writers for the Talk of the Town project will be individually on display from February 22 to April 6.

The first piece to be featured on the billboard is a poem by Roddy Scott, called Sma’ Shot Reel, which talks about celebrating the end of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The second is a piece by David Rae, whose words draw on the romance of meeting and parting at the station. And the third in the series is from Kick The Door theatre production company’s, Fraser Scott and Iona Ramsay, whose poem is called Paisley Before, Now and Next: Radicals an’ Revolutionaries.

David Rae

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Visual Arts Projects Producer, Kate Drummond came up with the billboard idea. She explains:

“I thought it would be interesting to use the billboard for something that’s not advertising, or selling to people, as that’s what you would normally see on that space.

“It’s a different way of communicating something in the written word, which is a nice positive message. People wouldn’t normally expect to see something like this on a billboard, so hopefully it will be very noticeable.”

Roddy Scott said: “The idea of my piece of writing on the billboard was to try to get people in the town feel uplifted and to raise their spirits.

Roddy Scott

“It’s an amazing idea to have creative writing on a billboard. When I heard my piece was chosen I was blown away.”

Fraser Scott said: “Our piece is a short poem that recounts the historic moments in Paisley’s past that made it what it is today. In its final words, the poem will ask, with all that behind us, what next?

Fraser Scott and Iona Ramsay

“We really hope our writing will spark excitement about the town and what could be next with those who read itOur hope is to capture a feeling of pride about Paisley and it is our hope that the people who read it will share in that pride.

David Rae said: “I’m very excited by this project as I love Paisley and the town is great inspiration for me.

“I’ve never had my words on a billboard before and I’m fascinated by the thought of my words being used in this way.

billboard mock up 1

“I hope my piece will bring a smile to faces and a few memories to those that pass by. And a reminder that a bag of chips makes everything better!”

Go to for the full Out of Place programme.

The Out of Place events are made possible with the support of Future Paisley – a radical and wide-ranging programme of events, activity and investment using the town’s unique and internationally-significant cultural stories to transform its future.


Nicola Drummond interview - Glasgow Science Centre festival

Renfrewshire’s joint environmental campaign Team Up to Clean Up is set to be showcased at a digital science festival hosted for the first time by Glasgow Science Centre.

Curious About Our Planet takes place from 18 to 20 February and aims to celebrate the wonders of the planet and the science of climate change.

Nicola Drummond interview - Glasgow Science Centre festival

The line-up includes a behind-the-scenes tour of Edinburgh Zoo, a sustainable cocktail making session, a UK film premiere and an art exhibition.

Also included is an interview with Lead Officer for Environment Coordination at Renfrewshire Council, Nicola Drummond, who discusses the impact the Team Up to Clean Up campaign has had in Renfrewshire as the council and community work together to effect change.

Nicola said: “It’s fantastic to be part of this online festival and hopefully we can inspire others throughout the country, especially those in our younger generations, to think about how they treat their local environment.

Facebook - Curious About - Envirotent - Workshops and Activities

“The Team Up to Clean Up campaign has grown tremendously over the past few years as more and more people take a real pride in their community and want to do what they can to improve where they live.

“We support them with litter pickers, collecting rubbish from their litter picks and providing a network of like-minded volunteers through our Facebook group and it’s fantastic to be part of such an inspiring campaign.”

The festival is an online version of Curiosity Live, a regular science engagement event that has been held at Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) for the past few years.

Cllr Cathy McEwan

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that our campaign is part of this exciting festival and I hope those who attend are inspired by the work going on in Renfrewshire.

“It’s incredible to see the dedication of our volunteers who are making a difference not only to their communities and the health of our local environment, but also inspiring others to join them and affect behaviour change in Renfrewshire.

“As a council, we will continue to do our bit with enhanced street cleaning and gully clearing to ensure that the commitment is there from us and the community, and I can’t wait to see where this campaign can take us in the future as we do what we can to tackle climate change.”

The festival is being delivered with support from the Inspiring Science Fund provided by Wellcome, UKRI and BEIS. It is also part of Our World Our Impact, Glasgow Science Centre’s climate change programme which is in partnership with the Scottish Government.

Dr Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Glasgow Science Centre, said: “We’re excited to be launching our first digital science festival following the success of GSCAtHome and our online Halloween and Christmas shows.

“Climate change will have an impact on everyone and Curious About Our Planet invites us to explore the science of it as well as reminding us of the beauty of our planet, all from the safety and comfort of home”.

Festival contributors include Heather Reid, WWF Scotland, Royal Zoological Society for Scotland (RZSS), Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), National Environment Research Council (NERC), the Conservation Volunteers and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

To find out more about the full festival programme, visit

Paisley-based Outspoken Arts Scotland have launched a series of FREE visual art workshops called ART WORKS offering creative learning in the visual arts and aimed at young people, school leavers and emerging artists.  The workshops will assist participants with skills gaps, building portfolios and professional development.

Workshops last 2 hours and, due to COVID restrictions, will be conducted via Zoom and hosted by a group of professional visual artists from across Scotland from Monday 16th February until Friday 13th March 2021.  Benefits to participants include quality engagement, deep learning and transfer of skills.  Art forms covered in the workshops include:  photography; clay modelling; drawing; painting; film-making; printing and print making and sculpture.  The workshops will provide quality experiences and professional collaborations, with a distinct focus on communities and audiences from within the protected characteristics.

Ilona Dynowski, Visual Arts and Creative Learning Officer, Outspoken Arts Scotland, commented: “We have created these FREE online workshops for young people, emerging artists, school leavers and those wishing you learn a new skill and build a portfolio for further education. We’re working with a team of professional artists to deliver quality workshops.  All materials will be provided FREE in advance and we hope that some of the participants go on to collaborate with each other and create their own cohort. We are reaching out to young people across the country to take part in the workshops.”


Details of each workshop:

Photography Workshops with Amanda Lightbody

Photography fundamentals with a twist. This workshop will guide participants on an experimental journey, introducing the creative possibilities of varying photographic processes. Combining old and new techniques, you will focus firstly on analogue and alternative photographic methods, moving on to digital imagery and editing. This is a collaborative workshop which aims to develop, build, share and enhance knowledge and to produce and capture unique images.


Part One – Feb 19th and 20th and Part Two – 5th and 6th March


Sorry this class is cancelled , we are sorry about this but just to update you so you can make alternative arrangements./// Clay workshops hosted by Sara Sonas

In this class you will learn the basics of clay modelling with air-drying clay, you will use some basic tools, some of which can be found in the home (cutlery for example). There will be a discussion on basic structure from design to modelling follow-through, so you can get the result that you want from basic materials. This class is a creative challenge and great for those who have a developing interest in sculpture, 3D modelling or ceramics.


Thursday 18th February from 3-5pm; Monday 22nd February 3-5pm; Tuesday 2nd March 3-5pm and Thursday 11th March 3-5pm.


Sorry this class is cancelled , we are sorry about this but just to update you so you can make alternative arrangements.///Reuse Art Workshops hosted by Sara Sonas

The ReArt: Reuse for Art workshop gives opportunities for young people to learn about the concept of reusing, discover new ideas and create objects out of discarded materials which hold no function or personal value (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, wood, etc). The works produced will be examples of how trash and street items can be brought back into life, forming unique pieces of art, and at the same time preserving our environment. The ReArt: Reuse for Art workshop gives opportunities for young people to learn about the concept of reusing, discover new ideas and create objects out of discarded materials which hold no function or personal value (such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, wood, etc). The works produced will be examples of how trash and street items can be brought back into life, forming unique pieces of art, and at the same time preserving our environment.


Thursday 18th February 11am – 1pm; Monday 22nd February 11am-1pm; Tuesday 2nd March 11am-1pm and Thursday 11th March 11am – 1pm

Drawing Workshops with Katie McGroarty

An online workshop for young people which will focus on experimental drawing. It’s so important to provide a space for experimentation, as well as allowing ourselves the time and space to understand how our hands work with different materials. This is crucial in any stage of your development as an artist. Experimental drawing is a fantastic skill to have as a beginner, or established artist, and can be extremely beneficial in identifying areas that need work, where you excel. This workshop explores how your hand naturally moves and identifying which mediums or practices you naturally gravitate toward.


Tuesday 16th February 5-7pm; Wednesday 17th February 5-7pm; Tuesday 23rd February 5-7pm; Wednesday 24th February 5-7pm; Tuesday 2nd March 5-7pm; Wednesday 3rd March 5-7pm; Tuesday 9th March 5-7pm and Wednesday 10th March 5-7pm

Film Workshops hosted by Giancinta Frisollo

Students will work both individually on film ideas and will be encouraged to talk collaboratively as a film crew to work on storytelling. These films will help to express students’ voice on issues they see within contemporary society, either in their own lives and neighbourhoods, or on a broader scale. We will help foster ideas and understand how to use film as a visual and aural medium to tell stories.

Class Includes:

  • Introduction to basic filmmaking techniques and understanding of filmmaking as a visual and aural storytelling platform
  • Introduction to story structure and storyboarding
  • Introduction to basic film editing


Friday 19th February 12-2pm; Saturday 20th February 12-2pm and Friday 26th February 12-2pm; Saturday 27th February 12-2pm; Friday 5th March 12-2pm and Saturday 13th March 12-2pm


It’s February at last and love is in the air as we get ready for Valentine’s Day! 


Many of Paisley’s town centre businesses are still open or operating, making sure  Valentine’s Day can still be celebrated during lockdown. 

We’re highlighting those special Valentine’s Day offers or services on our social  media channels and we also have a full list on our website here 

From gifts and cards, jewellery to flowers, food retailers to perfume and beauty gift  sets, plus afternoon teas and dinner for two at home, we have everything you need  to show your loved ones just how much you care! 

Or how about ordering a gift voucher from one of our amazing health, hair and  beauty businesses – allowing you to support a local business during these tough  times and give your loved one a treat to look forward to! 

Let’s show our Paisley town centre businesses some love! 

Love Local, Love Paisley this Valentine’s

Amanda Lightbody

Outspoken Arts Scotland announces the first in a series of FREE creative learning workshops in the visual arts.  These online workshops are aimed at young people, school leavers and those not in employment, further education or training.

This first series of workshops explore drawing, film making, sculpture from found and recyclable materials, and clay.

Full details of the programme can be found at this link

[ pictured below left to right: Sara Sonas, Katie McGroarty & Amanda Lightbody ]


sara sonas Katie McGroarty Amanda Lightbody


outspoken arts

Joining us Online

These workshops will take place online via Zoom.  Participants must register their personal details, or that of a parent or guardian.  We need your year of birth and also a postal address for surveying purposes and for you to receive any FREE materials pack if required in the workshops. We will issue Online Safety guidance to participants on how to manage their participation, what conduct is expected, and how we will moderate the sessions.  The lead artists will host the sessions along with our Creative Learning officer, who is registered with Disclosure Scotland.  Participants will be screened in a waiting room prior to start of workshop to ensure safety and compliance.

Outspoken Arts Scotland will manage your data safely and not share this with anyone outside of our organisation for any purpose.  We observe and adhere to the General Data Protection Act of 2018.

If you have any questions please contact our team.

Outspoken Arts Scotland Ltd
Tel 0776 272 2460
Find us on FacebookTwitter
Instagram @outspokenartsSC

A Scottish Charity SC023620
A Co. Ltd by Guarantee SC157153
VAT Reg 797 3863 59

This workshop programme is supported by
Creative Scotland | Glasgow City Council | Renfrewshire Council | LGBT+Consortium | William Syson Foundation

WORKSHOP TIMETABLE                                                                                                                                
Tue 16 Feb, 5-7pm                           Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Wed 17 Feb, 5-7pm                         Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Thu 18 Feb, 11am-1pm                   Sara Sonas – Reuse Art Workshop

Thu 18 Feb, 3pm-5pm                      Sara Sonas – Clay Workshop

Fri 19 Feb, 10am-12noon                Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 1

Fri 19 Feb, 12noon-2pm                  Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop

Fri 19 Feb, 2pm-4pm                       Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 1–vqTkvEtHt_K-yKYwxyx91o0OmmHoN

Sat 20 Feb, 10am-12noon               Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 1

Sat 20 Feb, 12noon-2pm                 Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop

Sat 20 Feb, 2pm-4pm                       Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 1

Mon 22 Feb, 11am-1pm                  Sara Sonas – Reuse Art Workshop

Mon 22 Feb, 3pm-5pm                    Sara Sonas – Clay Workshop

Tue 23 Feb, 5-7pm                           Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Wed 24 Feb, 5-7pm                         Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Fri 26 Feb, 12noon-2pm                  Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop

Sat 27 Feb, 12noon-2pm                 Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop

Tue 2 Mar 11am-1pm                      Sara Sonas – Reuse Art Workshop

Tue 2 Mar 3pm-5pm                        Sara Sonas – Clay Workshop

Tue 2 Mar, 5pm-7pm                       Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Wed 3 Mar, 5pm-7pm                     Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Fri 5 Mar, 10am-12noon                 Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 2

Fri 5 Mar, 12noon-2pm                   Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop

Fri 5 Mar, 2pm-4pm                         Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 2

Sat 6 Mar, 10am-12noon                Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 2

Sat 6 Mar, 12noon-2pm                  Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop

Sat 6 Mar, 2pm-4pm                        Amanda Lightbody – Photography Workshop – Part 2

Tue 9 Mar, 5pm-7pm                       Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Wed 10 Mar, 5pm-7pm                   Katie McGroarty – Drawing Workshop

Thu 11 Mar 11am-1pm                    Sara Sonas – Reuse Art Workshop

Thu 11 Mar, 3pm-5pm                     Sara Sonas – Clay Workshop

Fri 12 Mar, 12noon-2pm                 Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop

Sat 13 Mar, 12noon-2pm                Giacinta Frisillo – Film Workshop


This open competition will run from 2nd February to closing date 31st March 2021 and lead to an eventual exhibition of works in June 2021.


A number of exciting prizes ranging from £100-£500 will be offered to winners.

Full details and Entry Guidelines at this link.  Please note guidelines may change at any time subject to Covid-19 restrictions in force at any time.

Entrants must be over 16 years of age.  You must submit work through our online submission system at this link

Entry opens 2nd Feb 2021

Closing Date 31st March 2021

One artwork only with £10 application fee

Provisional Exhibition 4-26 June 2021. (may be subject to covid-19 restrictions)

Entrants requiring assistance with digital accessibility issues should contact:

Steven Thomson, Secretary
Tel 0776 272 2460

Registered Office
c/o Unit 33, Sir James Clark Building,
Abbeymill Business Centre, Seedhill,
Paisley PA1 1TJ

Renfrewshire’s three large-scale Covid19 vaccination centres welcomed their first visitors today.

The facilities at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre, Renfrew Leisure Centre and Johnstone Town Hall opened their doors this morning – with thousands expected to attend in the weeks ahead.

NHS staff are running the vaccine rollout and Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure are supporting the NHS with the operation of the buildings.

Those attending on day one were mainly from the 70-74 age group – with that cohort having received their appointment letters from the NHS as part of the national vaccine rollout.

Those aged 65-69 will be next to receive a letter inviting them to be vaccinated at the centres at some point in the coming weeks, with other age groups to follow at later dates.

And – speaking after they received their jabs – some of the first visitors to the centre at Paisley’s Lagoon urged their fellow residents to take up the offer of the vaccination when their turn comes.

Archie Conroy, of Paisley, said: “I didn’t feel a thing! Getting vaccinated is the only way we’ll get out of the pandemic and get things back to being more normal than they are just now.”

And John Steele, also of Paisley, added: “When you think about all the deaths that have been happening, if people are offered the vaccine they should definitely take it.”

When you become eligible for an appointment the NHS will write to you directly with details of the location, date and time. Please be patient – do not turn up without an appointment.

Free parking is available at each site. All three have good public transport links but if you need extra help to plan your public transport journey you can visit SPT’s website or call the free Traveline Scotland helpline on 0141 465 1878.

If you have a mobility issue, you can use SPT’s bookable, door-to-door MyBus service by calling 0345 128 4025, although advance booking is recommended.

The advice for anyone coming along is to wear a face covering, bring your appointment letter, arrive as close to your appointment time as possible, and wear loose-fitting clothing you can easily remove your arm from.

More information on the local centres is at and more info on the vaccine itself is available from the NHS at

New designs aimed at turning Paisley’s Abbey Close into an expanded outdoor events venue and improved public space have been published – and the public are being asked to give their views.

The planned changes will create a more attractive outdoor space around the town hall and Abbey, allowing people spend time in the shadows of two of the town’s most iconic buildings.

The work would see an expanded paved area in front of the town hall – removing the current ‘D’ shape – increasing the capacity for events such as the Halloween and Food and Drink festivals.

They also include new high-quality paving and lighting, removing some boundary walls to make the space more accessible and open, and adding new seating.

The proposed designs were based on feedback from an initial consultation in 2019 which asked the public what they wanted from Paisley town centre’s open spaces.

The statues of Alexander Wilson and Robert Tannahill would be repositioned but retained in prominent spots close to their current locations overlooking the town hall.

Residents and businesses can have their say on the proposed designs at

The work is part of the wider push led by Renfrewshire Council to use culture and heritage to drive new footfall to the area, and includes the ongoing work to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class destination and Paisley Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue.

The Abbey Close improvements are planned to be complete for the town hall reopening and will allow venue activity to expand outside into the space at the entrance to the building.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The last year has shown us that high-quality outdoor space will only be more important in future.

“While the major events were postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, visitors to them and our reopened town hall will play a part in the area’s economic recovery in the years ahead.

“When we last asked the public’s views on Abbey Close in 2019 they told us they valued its architecture and scenery but felt it could be improved – the designs are based on that feedback.

“I would encourage members of the public to go to the council website, read more about the proposals, and let us know what they think”

Imogen Stirling

Poet, musician and theatre-maker, Imogen Stirling, collaborates with youth arts charity CREATE Paisley, to help the young people of Renfrewshire express themselves through poetry. 


The internationally renowned writer, whose portfolio of work has been featured on Sky Arts will be taking up the mantle of writer in residence for this year’s Paisley Book Festival which is going digital for the first time.

Imogen Stirling

As part of Imogen’s role she’s working with CREATE Paisley to champion the role of creativity in the lives of young people and offer a chance to work alongside her on their own poetry and writing. Imogen’s work has seen her travel the world with sold out performances at the Prague and Edinburgh fringe as well as appearances at both the Eden and latitude festivals but with her 2020 touring schedule being ground to a halt by Covid-19 she is looking forward to supporting young people express themselves as part of the project.


I’ve always had a passion for working with young people and the opportunity to work with CREATE Paisley as part of my tenure as Writer in Residence is really exciting. During these tough times it is so important for young people to be able to express themselves and I am super excited to do that with them through my passion for poetry. I believe that using words and poetry in a relaxed environment can really help us to express our thoughts and explore emotions in a safe and healthy way and I am so looking forward to these workshops and hope to see as many people there as possible’’

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Imogen joins CREATE as part of their Teach Me Tuesday programme which will give young people the opportunity to take part in a series of free online creative writing workshops. Together, Imogen and the young people will use simple writing exercises, discussion, poetry readings and storytelling to explore how words can be used to express mindfulness and fun. With a view to looking forward to more hopeful times than 2020, the imagination will run wild with radical new futures and what we can learn from this tumultuous year. After having played around with various poetic techniques throughout the workshop, each participant will be encouraged to create their own short piece of writing which can be edited into a collective ballad and then presented during one of the Paisley Book Festival’s online events.


CREATE knows the importance of creativity in a young person’s life in terms of their mental health and academic attainment but also at this time, workshops like Imogen’s, play a much more important role. Brid Gallagher, Youth development worker at CREATE, has been working across the charities online programme since the start of lockdown and has seen first hand the effect that lockdown is having on young people’s lives: 


‘We work with so many young people who are struggling at the moment. The isolation and anxieties surrounding the pandemic are really having an effect on their well being and we have had many young people approach us who are struggling with depression and isolation. Workshops like Imogen’s give much needed structure and a chance to express their feelings in a safe and healthy way. We are so excited to be working with Imogen and  grateful for her giving our young people such a great opportunity to see their work being showcased at the Festival’s online events!’ 


The workshops are open to anyone aged between 12 and 21 and will start on Tuesday 26th of  January at 7pm. 

Open to all levels, with complete beginners very welcome!” To sign up visit

Paisley trust

it can be confirmed that Beyond Retail Property Fund Ltd – a UK managed real estate business, specialising in redeveloping retail property, has agreed the purchase of Marks & Spencer’s retail unit on Paisley High Street. The site, adjacent to The Paisley Centre, will be incorporated within the company’s wider regeneration plan which is expected to come forward in 2021.

Paisley trust

In November 2020, Reith Lambert announced that their client had purchased The Paisley Centre with a repurposing strategy to include a new residential quarter and a mixture of retail, leisure & commercial uses, together with new outdoor public spaces.

Richard Ford, Reith Lambert, said: “We are delighted that our client has agreed the purchase of the M&S unit on Paisley High Street. This unifies the ownership of what is effectively an integrated unit within the main centre.

“This represents a major opportunity for Paisley, and we will take time to work with our client and key partners to bring forward proposals which will help realise the spirit of the Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030.”

In July 2020, M&S announced plans to close their Outlet store in Paisley and reinvest in a new M&S Foodhall at Renfrew Road Retail Park. The new site will be 30 per cent larger than the current Foodhall in the town centre.

David Bates, Head of Region at M&S, said: “We are pleased to confirm the sale of our current building on Paisley High Street, ahead of our relocation to a new M&S Foodhall site in Paisley.

“We are really excited to open our brand new M&S Foodhall in Paisley’s Renfrew Road Retail Park, which will provide a much larger food offer for the local community. The existing M&S store in Paisley will continue serving customers until the new store opens this summer.