My Story

Sharon McAulay, manager of the STAR Project, tells you about the changes she's seen in Paisley since the town's bid for UK City of Culture 2021 was launched 2 years ago.

Two years ago to the day we launched Paisleys bid to become the City of Culture for 2021. We heard people say “aye right”, "what do we know about culture" or "that's not for the likes of us”.

There was a very clear perceived sense of a divide, of something belonging to others that’s not within reach, of something unattainable, and also of something to be laughed at.

Many of us who work within Renfrewshire communities know the value of cultural engagement. Culture plays a critical role in communities and provides a sense of belonging, a framework for intervention and also a platform for communities to make a difference.


So, through our Community Engagement during the past two years we have all worked really hard to remind people that the arts, heritage and culture is for everyone… and it belongs to everyone and, perhaps most importantly, that this bid is for everyone and Paisley deserves a chance.

Things have changed since then! We hear less ‘aye right’s’ these days and we see heads held a little higher, people walking a little taller.

When we were shortlisted attitudes literally changed overnight, a real sense of ‘oh…maybe we are good enough after all!’

People are believing that we can actually do this, that Paisley is so much more than a bunch of negative stats. We have so much potential, so much to give, and this bid is a real opportunity for us to show the world that Paisley is ready to be put back on the map.