In praise of free: December 17th unconventional advent calendar

Today’s unconventional advent calendar celebrates our cultural venues, formal and informal, and their place in the life of the community.


arts cafe venue break

I personally feel quite at home in arts venues but to some they can be alien spaces with an unwelcoming or elitist feel.  Living in Glasgow, I am very lucky to have a huge range of free museums and galleries on my doorstep, so I do make an effort to see the wonderful range of free events which are on.  I feel that free facilities and events are really important for people to be able to have the chance to see new cultural events and explore their area without the added barrier of cost.  That can be one reason why I don’t tend to visit the theatre or cinema much, I have to really want to see something to justify spending money on seeing something which is not free!  It is also why I love events like Doors Open Day, every September buildings are open for tours and events at no cost throughout Scotland (and Europe!).

Independent cafes and other small community halls or spaces can be really important in what makes the cultural map of a place work, where activities and get togethers are easy to organise and local groups or artists can sell or showcase their newest creations.  It’s not free to have coffee, of course, but I’ve seen some great free events at local cafes.

Do you have a favourite free venue?


  1. Pingback: The unconventional advent calendar | UWS 2013 Cultural Planning Course
  2. Willow

    Is anywhere truly free? ……… (sorry, I’m in a bit of a glump and never go to cafés – I can make a flask to carry with me).

  3. Willow

    My previous reply has led me to think that NO, it’s not free to participate in many ‘events’ no matter how free they claim to be ……. but YES in some places (eg the much-derided Blackpool) one is never alone – there’s always someone willing to talk and share, at the bus-stop, in the park, or just on the street ….. and as you say ‘Doors Open Day’ is a great meeting-chance.

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