Guest blog: animation workshops will help young people into film-making

Hi, my name is Morgan Spence and I am a 17 year old stop-motion animator from Kilbarchan in Renfrewshire. I am delighted to be backing Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2021 and helping to develop Paisley’s exisiting cultural offering through animation workshops for local primary schools and producing shorts films to highlight the town’s heritage, history and culture. These projects are funded by the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund out of the first of many awards that will support local projects over the next few years.

My relationship with Paisley and Renfrewshire goes back to when Brick City exhibition was held in Paisley Museum in 2013. The complex models on display were designed by Warren Elsmore, a renowned Lego artist. The success of this led the Museum to host his second exhibition, Brick Wonders in the autumn of 2014. Warren saw my Lego animation for a British Red Cross campaign video I had created and I was selected as a ‘local’ to get involved in both exhibitions – which was fantastic. I was asked to produce a series of short animated films that would accompany the Brick Wonders exhibits, bringing to life models such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Old London Bridge and the Halley VI Arctic research station. I spent many afternoons in the summer of 2014 in Paisley Museum painstakingly working with the models! These films are now an integral part of the Brick Wonders touring exhibition.

As well as hosting the exhibitions, Renfrewshire Council commissioned Warren to make a couple of models of key Paisley buildings and it was these that got me thinking about a  short film that I could make to promote Paisley’s  bid for UK City of Culture 2021. I asked myself “could I incorporate these models into some kind of film promoting Paisley and some of its famous ‘Buddies’?”. Having chatted it through with friends and family, it became clear that Paisley has had a lot to offer the world over the years! I commissioned several specialised figures to be created for the production, such as the likes of John Byrne and David Tennant. My short film will attempt to capture some of our local heroes along with the iconic architecture which we are so fortunate to have here in Paisley. Already the project has attracted interest from BBC Scotland News, who reported on it earlier this month. The film is expected to be finalised in the next couple of months. 

I am also planning to organise some animation workshops, principally with some of Renfrewshire’s primary schools across the 2016/17 terms. That will involve visiting local schools to share my knowledge of stop-motion film-making before using iPad tablets with groups of pupils to create their own short clips. I believe it is a great opportunity for the children to learn new creative skills and to engage with their peers through an enjoyable activity.

I am very much looking forward to beginning my animation workshops and I can’t wait to showcase the animation to the local community! Stay posted with the Paisley 2021 social media channels for more details in the coming months.


Morgan Spence