The cultural regeneration of Scotland’s biggest town will be supported by an analysis led by University of the West of Scotland (UWS) academics.

The team have been awarded a grant by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support the project.

Professor David McGillivray, Project Lead and Chair in Event & Digital Cultures at UWS, said: “This grant is the outcome of a partnership built over the last few years between the University, Renfrewshire Council and the STAR Project.

“We have a collective interest in exploring the role arts and cultural activity can play in enhancing the wellbeing and prosperity of communities in Paisley and this project will enable us to work closely with people living in the town to access their experiences.

“The outcomes of the project will also feed directly into the ambitious plans the Council and other partners have to embed arts and cultural activities in the regeneration of Paisley.”

UKRI is funding 53 innovative national initiatives, worth a total of more than £1.4 million, enabling members of the public to actively contribute to research and innovation projects that affect their lives and local communities.

UWS’s team of researchers based in the Centre for Culture, Sport and Events, working alongside Renfrewshire Council and the local STAR Project community organisation, won the £22,500 UKRI award for their ‘Evidencing the Impact of Cultural Regeneration on Poverty: A Collaborative Approach’ project.

The project aims to evaluate and evidence the positive impact cultural regeneration can have on communities, while supporting efforts to lift them out of poverty.

The research – exploring the relationship between investment in cultural regeneration and the alleviation of poverty – comes in the wake of Paisley’s unsuccessful bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

By uncovering the mechanisms behind how increased investment in cultural regeneration supports positive social and economic change within the Paisley community, the project will help Renfrewshire Council strategically plan long-term investment.

A team of researchers from UWS, Renfrewshire Council and the STAR Project will work collaboratively with community partners, to identify how best to research and deliver projects locally. The project’s activity will contribute to Renfrewshire Council’s three-year strategic plan, meaning the research legacy will continue beyond its initial funding.

Tom Saunders, Head of Public Engagement at UKRI, said: “This is one of 53 pilot projects that we have funded, all using exciting ways that researchers and innovators can involve the public in their work.

“In 2020 and beyond, we will build on the lessons we learn through funding these pilot projects to help us achieve our ambition of making research and innovation responsive to the knowledge, priorities and values of society and open to participation by people from all backgrounds.”