As part of my PhD I have been working with some community groups around Paisley, exploring what culture means to them. One of the groups, Create Cafe, asked me to put up a blog post about what the group made. It was so much fun to work with the young people who attended the cafe and the Create Paisley volunteers, a real privilege to be able to spend some creative time exploring the town through their eyes.
I explained the project in my participant information sheet/ consent form like this:
‘Mapping My Paisley’ is about drawing a map or picture about your view on what is important to you in Paisley; where you enjoy spending time, what you think is important to the culture of Paisley, which areas you like and what you think could be better.
So what did Create Cafe make?
Six maps were created by Create Café and three different kinds of maps were made, one as drawing on top of a printed map of Paisley, one as a mind map list and four as plans of a part of Paisley they knew. Some maps showed Create as their centre of Paisley, some concentrated on a small area of the town and some mentioned places outside the town as well.
The average number of things in the maps was 9, with some as many as 19 or as few as 3. One map included very detailed drawings of buildings and features, some drew pictures of things which they associated with Paisley (e.g. things which their favourite shop sells), many added notes to what they included to show what it meant to them such as visiting friends, being a member of a band or where they took art lessons.
Some of the places which were included are as follows:
- The Abbey, and churches (including Elim Christian Fellowship)
- Other landmarks such as Paisley museum, library, Town Hall, Old Fire Station, War Memorial, Stanely House, Russel Institute and Anchor Mills
Clubs, societies and events
- Sports and active hobbies – Pokemon Paisley, Parkour coaching, Barshaw Golf Course
- Paisley Comicon
- YMCA, Create (office and Blend café), Arts Collective of Paisley and Art Classes
Activities and meeting places
- Shopping- Comic Crazy shop, Silverburn, Braehead
- Community meeting places – Stanely House
- Eating, drinking and meeting friends/ family – Callums Cavern, Bungalow, Three Sisters Bake, Saporito High Street, Sangre, Last Post, Saporito/ Bianco Nero, Blend, Top Wok
- Transport hubs (Paisley Canal, Paisley Gilmour Street)
- Paisley Cross and County Square
- Roads including the Wynd, Barrhead Road, High Street, Causeyside Street
These map results are anonymised as a general summary. The picture at the top is actually my map, where I was playing with ways of representing places; as a practitioner-researcher I think it is good to test out your ideas.. no prizes for noting that my picture of Paisley includes the university and is rather cafe, museum and parks -centric, and on reflection it is pretty funny that I have drawn a cup of coffee bigger than the abbey. I wanted to work with Create because I hoped to involve groups which can traditionally be under-represented in cultural discussions to explore a diversity of opinions on culture and what it means; I also worked with The Star Project, and ROAR Connections for Life.
Thank you again Create Paisley and all of the cafe attendees!