Artists, poets, actors and musicians from Paisley joined up with representatives from the public, private and third sectors at the Scottish Parliament tonight to show their support for Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.
George Adam MSP for Paisley and Neil Bibby, MSP West Scotland, are sponsoring a reception for Paisley 2021, which has attracted attendance by Creative Scotland, the National Theatre of Scotland, VisitScotland, Skills Development Scotland, YoungScot and the British Council, to name but a few.
Attending were Paisley-born, renowned artist and script-writer, John Byrne, who recently said he supports the bid wholeheartedly. And MSPs of all parties were invited to show their support in person and via social media.
The event marks a critical point in Paisley’s journey towards submitting its bid for the title, run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), next spring, and celebrates phenomenal support for the endeavour garnered over the past year.
Jean Cameron, Project Director for Paisley 2021, said, “In 12 short months, we have seen the tide of opinion turn towards a position where people now really believe we can do it, and that belief in itself has had an enormously positive effect on our communities.
“A vivid pattern is emerging – a bit like the famous Pattern itself – with passionate people all pulling together to create an incredible showcase that draws inspiration locally, but also thinks globally looking to partners across Scotland to help us throw the country’s doors open to colourful, dynamic, marvellous, friendly exploration!”
In the past year:
- 8,000 people have been part of “the conversation”, participating in consultations across the eight different themes around which Paisley will construct its bid, including visual art, music, literature and fashion.
- 74 local businesses have backed the bid, 16 of which have taken on the role of principal partner using their influence to amplify the bid team’s appeal that Paisley’s cultural assets can be used to transform the lives of local people, and the experience of visitors to Scotland’s largest town.
- The bid has achieved cross-party support, with Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, recently recording a message of support, and MPs for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and Paisley and Renfrewshire North, respectively, Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands, hosting a reception at Westminster in September.
- Paisley 2021 marketing and communications have generated 70 million opportunities to see or hear something positive about Paisley and the town’s bid for the City of Culture accolade.
Paisley also has the largest following on social media of any of the known contenders including Perth, Coventry, Hereford, Sunderland and Stoke-on-Trent.
Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Bid Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, added, “These past 12 months have taken us on an incredible journey, rediscovering assets that have for too long been overshadowed and engaging with local communities on an unprecedented scale. Tonight we are moving things up a gear and we are very grateful to George and Neil for affording us the opportunity.”
George Adam MSP, said, “It is an honour as Paisley’s MSP to host this event showcasing what Paisley has to offer and presenting the powerful case for Paisley to be the UK City of Culture in 2021.
“The interest that has been generated will mean this is one of the best attended events the parliament has ever seen. Indeed, the numbers are so high because so many of the talented individuals from in and around the town are attending.
“I’m sure this will go a long way in presenting Paisley’s bid to the world.”
Neil Bibby MSP, said, “I’m proud to co-host this important event in support of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture. Local people already know that we have an incredibly strong case to be the 2021 host, but it was fantastic to showcase the town’s Untold Story in the Scottish Parliament to MSPs, the Scottish Government and key stakeholders. It is very encouraging to see that more and more people are backing the bid.”