Localism: Re-evaluating the future of culture, events and tourism

Localism: Re-evaluating the future of culture, events and tourism

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A half-day symposium exploring and re-evaluating the future of culture, events, tourism and the renewed focus on localism.

About this event

Over the course of the last two years, we have seen a renewed focus on localism and the importance of our local places as a feature of the disruptive effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Mobility has been restricted, events attendance moved online, and people found a greater appreciation for their local blue, grey and green spaces. Despite the coronavirus crisis, localities demonstrated resilience, countering the worst effects of the pandemic while testing the capacity of civil society and its institutions. People and institutions came together to mark their shared humanity through community events, sustain their local cultural ecosystems and strengthen their sense of place. However, the focus on localism also challenges existing models and rationales for investment in culture, events and tourism, designed to attract incoming visitation and eyeballs as a means of producing economic impact. In this year’s CCSE symposium we explore the theme of localism as it relates to the future contribution of culture, events and tourism, from several perspectives.

12:30pm-12:35 – Welcome/CCSE Professor Gayle McPherson

12:35 – 1:10 (+5) Keynote: Lord John Sinclair, 3rd Viscount Thurso (Chair of VisitScotland & ex-Officio Board Member, VisitBritain)

  • Scotland's Themed Years: How these engage Scotland’s creatives whilst simultaneously growing our culture, events and tourism offering.


1:20 – 2:00 (+5)

1) The future of tourism: A regenerative approach to the visitor economy

In this session we’ll hear from academics, policy makers, and community leaders considering the impact of the pandemic and the emphasis on localism on the tourism sector which has traditionally relied upon visitor mobility. This session will focus specifically on a regenerative approach to tourism that will minimise environmental and social impacts and maximise community benefits.

Chaired by Dr Sandro Carnicelli (UWS)

Panel: Mr Gordon Smith (VisitScotland Director – North, East, South Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire) - Ms Sarah Cameron (SensScot) - Dr Nancy Duxbury (University of Coimbra/Portugal)

2:15 – 2:55 (+5)

2) Socially engaged arts & cultural labour

As towns and cities focus on the role of culture in revitalising their places post-pandemic, renewed attention will turn to what Belfiore (2021) calls socially engaged arts labour and the duty of care funders have in participatory projects. In this panel session we hear from contributors discussing the complex issues associated with social engaged practice and the labour conditions of artists, cultural and creative practitioners. We’ll consider how funders, city leaders and the creative community itself can avoid precarious labour and provide sustainable incomes for the sector.

Chaired by Dr Clare Edwards (Renfrewshire Council)

Panel: Professor Eleanora Belfiore (University of Aberdeen), Professor Graham Jeffery (UWS), Claire Webster Saaremets (Skimstone Arts)

3:10 – 3:50 (+5)

3) The social value of community events

In this session, we’ll hear from academics and policy makers on the importance of community events as a contributor to individual and community wellbeing, sense of place, social capital and community cohesion. Before the coronavirus pandemic, community events were important, viewed as pleasurable experiences (Stevenson, 2021) that can contribute to social sustainability because they provide an arena for discussion about things important to neighbourhoods. Sociable events play an important role in bringing people together to celebrate shared values and interests. The importance of community events only heightened with the onset of the pandemic when people were even more dependent on each other, living in proximity, to find joy in very difficult circumstances. In this panel, we reflect on research conducted by the panel on the value of community events and consider how the pandemic has altered their role.

Chaired by Prof David McGillivray (CCSE)

Panel: Prof Gayle McPherson (UWS/CCSE), Dr Nancy Stevenson (University of Westminster); Amy Finch, (Spirit of 2012/Local Trust)

3:55 – 4:00 - Conclusion