Take a closer look at Paisley's links around the world
Paisley’s name was once famous around the world for its iconic pattern and textile heritage which helped build international links and make the town a globally recognised brand.
Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 aims to use the past to transform the town’s future and put it back on the map. Since launching on November 13, 2015, the Paisley 2021 campaign has helped boost the town’s connections with the UK and the rest of the world.
From international link-ups and captivating events to far flung Buddie backers - and even a few famous faces along the way - the town’s story has reached people and places all around the world.
To mark the two-year anniversary of the launch, we take a look at just some of the different places Paisley has been linked to around the world since the town set out its aspirations to be UK City of Culture 2021.
Paisley’s unique textile history holds close links to India through the original Kashmiri shawls which the Paisley versions descended from. These links were marked in January 2016 as the Paisley Pattern starred in a cross-cultural fashion show by students from India and Paisley. The initiative, run by the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), saw a delegation from Glasgow Kelvin College travel to India to work with their local counterparts and incorporate the globally-recognised Paisley Pattern into their designs. These were later paraded on the catwalk during the special show in Paisley Abbey.
The Paisley 2021 bid was also boosted by a stunning video showing Indian dancers performing against the backdrop of the town’s landmarks in July 2017. The video, which was released to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence, starred dancers from Abhinaya Glasgow Dance Academy and was funded by a grant from the Renfrewshire, Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.
A special Musical Tapestry show celebrated Paisley’s friendship with India at the launch of The Spree festival last month. The event saw three Scottish musicians – Ross Ainslie, Angus Lyon and Ross Wilson – team up with Indian counterparts Smita Bellur, Asin Khan Langa and Sawai Khan, for a musical collaboration. The six also performed the same show at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, with which The Spree has been twinned.
The Paisley 2021 bid has received a number of supportive messages from famous faces in the USA – including a Hollywood A-Listed Buddie. Paisley-born actor Gerard Butler backed his hometown for UK City of Culture 2021 after being recreated in Lego for a special animated film about the bid. The star spoke of his pride after appearing in the special video created by teenage Kilbarchan filmmaker Morgan Spence. Taking to social media, Gerard said: “Honoured to make the cut, especially in Lego form. Paisley 2021, you have my support!”
Paisley also received support from the town’s superstar namesake - multi-million-selling US country artist Brad Paisley. Ahead of his sold-out performance at Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium, the musician posed for pictures with a specially-branded Paisley 2021 taxi and was presented with Paisley tartan tie.
Paisley playwright Karen Herbison took her play ‘Say You Love Me’ to New York in October 2016 as part of an international theatre exchange. After receiving support from the Renfrewshire Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, Karen, who operates as H-arts, put on the special performances just a stone’s throw from the famous Broadway theatre district.
The Singing Children of Africa Choir from the Jolaurabi School in Mombasa, Kenya, returned to Paisley for another spectacular performance in August 2017. This year marked the tenth anniversary of Renfrewshire Council supporting the choir’s event, set up by Scottish charity Educate the Kids and Renfrew volunteers Mike and Lynn Baldwin.
Buddies enjoyed a taste of Argentinian Tango as the first ever Paisley International Tango Festival came to town in August 2017. Visitors from across Scotland, England, Germany, Spain, and even as far away as Queensland, Australia, descended on the town for the weekend of classes and workshops from dance experts.
Paisley stole the show in the millionaire’s paradise of Monte Carlo thanks to the city’s historic car rally. Driver Jim Meggat and his Paisley 2021-branded Chrysler Sunbeam undertook the challenging 1,300-mile trek for the Monte Carlo Classic Rally – and the colourful car caught the attention of competitors from across Europe. Paisley has hosted the only British start point for the famous race on four occasions.
Glasgow Airport, which is situated only five minutes from Paisley town centre, continues to connect the town to the world. The airport saw over nine million passengers pass through its doors in 2016, with 30 airlines now travelling to more than 130 destinations across the globe.
Not only has Paisley’s famous Pattern carried the name of its home town around the globe – it also went out of this world. A patch of the Paisley Pattern several inches in size was sent on board a rocket bound for the International Space Station on Sunday 17 July, 2017. It was placed inside a capsule on the Space X Falcon 9 rocket for the CRS-9 mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.