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Meet the 2021 engagement team

Our 2021 engagement team have been busy over the past year travelling the length and breadth of Renfrewshire and beyond spreading the word about the bid.

Some of the team have taken the chance here to tell you about themselves and why they believe Paisley has what it takes to win.

Meet the 2021 engagement team

Linzi Clark

“I had graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Commercial Music and found that it was difficult to get that first opportunity to start my career and so was working in Costa Coffee full time.

“My older sister had previously completed a graduate intern placement at Renfrewshire Council and recommended that I should look at the vacancies available through the Invest in Renfrewshire website.

“Having lived in Paisley my entire life, I was excited that Paisley was going to showcase everything it has to offer through the City of Culture bid.

“I had been actively looking for work in the creative sector and have a big interest in the creative arts and so when I saw the opportunity to work as part of the bid team, I thought it would be the ideal role for me.

“The highlights have been getting to meet people from all walks of life through community engagement, and gaining a better understanding of all the amazing things that are happening in Paisley.

“I’ve assisted with the organisation of various community engagement events and cultural consultations and I’ve also had the opportunity to perform at various events including at the launch of the Culture bus.”

Kathryn Murray

"I started with the Paisley 2021 team in 2015 as a graduate intern through the Invest in Renfrewshire programme, and I am now the Paisley 2021 Volunteer and Ambassador Development Coordinator, looking at how we will involve our local communities in the activities taking place in the run up to 2021 and beyond.

"I always like to say that I'm a product of Renfrewshire's cultural offerings. I was a member of PACE for nine years and was also actively involved in other youth theatre and dance groups across Renfrewshire.

"I'm still involved in local community groups today as a member of Paisley Musical and Operatic Society and as a cheerleading and gymnastics coach at Solid Rock Cheer and Gym in Linwood.

"I think Paisley will win because we have such a rich, cultural heritage that deserves to be showcased to the world. I want every young person growing up in Renfrewshire today to benefit from the opportunities that Paisley UK City of Culture 2021 could bring, both economic and cultural, and I want the people of Renfrewshire to have the chance to feel proud of where they live."

Margaret Scott

“I’m a Business Development Manager working with the School of Media, Culture & Society at the University of West of Scotland – and since January 2016, I’ve been seconded to work with the 2021 bid team.

“I lead the Cultural Capacity and Social Regeneration workstream which has members from across Paisley’s third sector groups, the university, the college and the Creative Renfrewshire Network.

"This group’s work has resulted in several new projects being developed which support our bid, including projects with Renfrewshire Leisure, Incube Creative Business Incubator, West College Scotland, University of the West of Scotland and Renfrewshire Council Criminal Justice.

 “Paisley has everything it takes to host a year-long cultural programme – friendly people, creative and cultural talent, fascinating cultural assets, a distinctive historic backdrop, strong transport and venue infrastructure, demonstrable collaboration and partnership across a range of civic partners and an appetite for creativity, innovation and transformation. 

“Paisley needs and wants this title – it will be the catalyst the town needs to fast-track its culture-led regeneration plans”

Natalie Orr

"I'm the Administrator for the Paisley 2021 Bid Team. My role on the team is mainly business support and community engagement.

"I keep track of all the events happening in Paisley and meet with community groups, schools, businesses and others in Renfrewshire to gather support and ideas of how the bid can help people living in the area.

"I am also involved in the Cultural, Heritage and Events Fund which offers a chance for anyone to apply for grants for their projects in Paisley. I especially love this as we receive so many applications for each round and it really shows what the people of Paisley have to offer. Their ideas are amazing and it’s brilliant to see the finished product.

"I was born in Paisley and have lived here all my life so I am very passionate about my town and I am so happy to hear all the positivity about it!

I think Paisley should win because I've seen first-hand all the effort and dedication that the team and the people of Paisley have put into this - it has created a real buzz in the town. Paisley has improved so much already because of this bid and it can only get better! I think it will help the town in so many ways, particularly with connecting everyone from all areas of Renfrewshire and to help rebuild our High Street into somewhere that people look forward to visiting.

Paisley has such beautiful buildings and so much to offer, and it’s amazing that more and more people are coming into our town now saying that they didn’t realise what we had until we started bidding to becoming UK City of Culture.”

Yvonne Farquhar

"My role within the Paisley 2021 team is to manage, plan and organise our engagement and participation activities.

"It was clear from the outset that our bid required to be authentic and at the heart of the bid would be the voice of our people. We set ourselves an ambitious target to consult with every neighbourhood in the town and the wider Renfrewshire community.

"In order to achieve this, we embarked on a year-long conversation and we have been invited and welcomed into communities, businesses, places of worship, education establishments and on the streets.

"The message coming from our engagement is that we want this, we need this and we are ready! There’s a great sense throughout Renfrewshire that we are on the cusp of something truly magnificent.

"Winning the title of UK City of Culture 2021 will have huge impact on Paisley and Renfrewshire particularly in terms of widening the prospects for young people and providing a vibrant cultural and commercial hub."

Nicola Canavan

“I am a Cultural Analytics Intern on the Paisley 2021 bid team.

"My main role within the team has been to create a Paisley Digest report that details all things cultural in Paisley. The research I have conducted has helped to inform the bid and information from my report features in the bid appendices.  Throughout my internship I have also helped out at a number of events including West College Scotland Freshers’ Fayre and the Paisley 2021 reception at Holyrood.  I have also helped out with a number of community engagement events including a bus tour around all of the schools in Renfrewshire.

"Having studied history at university, I have an appreciation of Paisley’s rich cultural heritage and think that the bid is a fantastic way of reconnecting the people of Paisley with their history.

"From the textile collections at Paisley Museum and Art Gallery to the historic Sma’ Shot Cottages’, the bid is helping to shine a spotlight on Paisley’s world class heritage assets.  Winning the UK City of Culture competition would be great for Paisley as it would give the town a platform to share its story both nationally and internationally.

"If Paisley is awarded the title of UK City of Culture in 2021 it will make a huge difference to the town. The increase in visitor numbers will help to grow our economy and will create hundreds of new jobs for local people. It will help also help tackle poverty and make it easy for people in Renfrewshire to access cultural activity.”