Today’s unconventional advent calendar is a short in words but rich in imagery; in today’s rather dark and dreich weather I was thinking about the wonderful colours I saw on a happy trip to the Outer Hebrides. It was a kind birthday gift, and a rare treat to see the world from an entirely different perspective as we got to go on one of those tiny wee planes out to Benbecula. The weather was stunning, we flew over lochs and islands and felt very privileged indeed.
From a cultural planning perspective, I was considering the links between the islands and their shared heritage, but unique identity.
For other calendar entries, have a look at these posts.
Today’s unconventional advent calendar celebrates our cultural venues, formal and informal, and their place in the life of the community.
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?
I previously blogged about the Glasgow image I found, but there are literally millions to see, from all over the world! You can also add tags to any of the images yourself, and use the usual “favourite” tool in Flickr which will make it easier for you to re-find what you’re after again.
For previous unconventional advent calendar entries see this link.
Today’s unconventional advent calendar is very unconventional indeed as it is long weekend of cumulative entries. I may well devise some bonus content later for those of you who might have missed the last two days of usually daily pics and musings.
I was taken by the art featured in the calendar as someone who endeavours to unite art and planning issues; often we find ourselves working with various people who have ideas for new uses for buildings where the previous use has for some reason ceased, and unfortunately there are a lot of examples of buildings which are at risk due to continual neglect and decay. From a cultural planning point of view these can also present themselves as opportunities as well as problems, there are many innovative examples of property re-use and reimagination. Our towns and cities are constantly changing, instability can mean an area reinvents itself in various ways. The Liverpool biennial is the largest contemporary arts festival in the UK (see website), and when I first visited in 2008 the city was the European capital of culture. Interestingly, Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores Universities devised a methodology for assessing the impact of cultural festivals (download here), covering cultural access, economy and tourism, cultural vibrance and sustainability, image and perceptions and governance and delivery.
Previous entries for the unconventional advent calendar can all be seen on the UWS Cultural Planning blog where a community of cultural planning practitioners doing the 2013 short course are recording and sharing their reflections and thoughts.
Today’s unconventional advent calendar is a visit to Poland, where I recently had the fortunate opportunity to take a study tour based around the shipyard area. How would you show people around your own area on a cultural planning tour?
I have been thinking about the similarities and differences between Gdansk and Govan, reflecting on this in a photographic manner. I used photographs taken whilst on the study tour, but also older images which I had from 2009 (taken from the Glasgow science tower) and I gave a presentation on this today at the University of the West of Scotland Ayr campus, copied below.
Today’s unconventional adventure calendar is a little bit more seasonal than yesterday, celebrates lovely local museums, and I also have a go at a little bit of Gaelic.
I have been thinking about language and tradition in a cultural planning sense, our traditions and languages affect the culture of the area as stories and songs passed down generations will reflect the history of that area. Local dialect and local words are something which fascinate me. The picture above was actually not taken by me, but one of my family, and it is of the Scotland- England border at Berwick-upon-Tweed, a lovely border town which has a curious juxtaposition of Geordie, Northumbrian and Scots accents.
For previous unconventional advent calendar entries see this post.
Girvan is a pretty seaside town in the west coast of Scotland where I spent a happy summer holiday once when I was wee. I revisited it this summer, and was surprised how much of it I could remember (and was delighted to see that the little aviary and gardens called Knockcushan park were still there).
I did not know of the history of the gardens, this must have passed me by last time as I was looking at the animals and birds when I was ten! That said, I do attribute my career choices to the fact that I was always taken to historic places and used to enjoy spending time looking at castles and drawing things related to my holidays… if blogs had been about then no doubt the very tattered scrapbook I made would have been digital with scanned copies of tickets.
Summer seems so long ago now, with Christmas almost here, so this is a very unconventional advent calendar entry indeed for December 10th although you can consider the character of a place at any time of year!
Girvan has a wonderful view of Ailsa Craig, which is famous for its special seabird colony and also for being used to create curling stones (see gallery above, and for photos of these see my Partick curling club photos) The Glasgow 2014 baton also features a special Ailsa Craig “gemstones” in the puzzle mechanism, an exciting Commonwealth Games link for the area.
To me, Girvan has fantastic seaside memories; parrots in the park, boating pond outings, beach sandcastle building, chips munching, 2p fruit machines (although I think they may have been 1p then?!?), big high street with shops selling buckets and spades and postcards, lovely colourful harbour, seagulls and other birds along the pier wall.. Girvan rocks!
What do you think makes up the character of your favourite place?
Previous unconventional advent calendar entries can be found here.
Today’s unconventional advent calendar for 9th December is all about clubs, societies and organisations going on within an area, featuring a notice board in Cove and Kilcreggan in rural Argyll. Virtually every area will have local clubs and societies for any type of subject, from sports to literary events to music and heritage, long established and part of a bigger organisation or perhaps small and informal and entirely independent. People are a big part of cultural planning, they are cultural planning assets. Whenever I go on holiday I tend to gravitate towards the small cafes and end up picking up lots of leaflets to have a nosey at what is on (libraries and parish notice boards are a good source of information too, and tourist information centres). I have ended up going to fascinating events by serendipity taking a role, happening to be in the right place at the right time and chatting to someone or seeing a stray flyer. Of course, internet research is good too.. but when you’re a cultural planner on holiday it pays to hang out in lovely little community places, for people watching and good coffee, and pop up events may just be coming your way. Bike tag, anyone? Pop up street food market? A community choir in a reclaimed warehouse arts space?
My other unconventional advent calendar entries here.
Today’s unconventional advent calendar features public art in North Lanarkshire, in Motherwell Town Centre. I have been thinking about how many towns include purpose made public art to enhance and add to public space. Cultural planning encourages us to think about public and shared spaces, and how these are used.
Do you have a favourite piece of public art? One of mine has to be the Antony Gormley One and Other project, because I was lucky enough to be one of those who actually got to be on the plinth!
Other entries from the advent calendar (which runs from December 2nd to December 31st- counting down to 2014) can be found here.
Today’s unconventional advent calendar includes a wonderful story from Blackpool. I loved seeing the little plaque (featured on the calendar), which is from the Winter Gardens, acknowledging the stories as part of the character and history of the building.
Earlier calendar entries are listed in a previous blog post.