Blog post by Philip Schlesinger
On 4 October, our new ‘Reflections on Culture’ series was initiated by Dr Bridget McConnell, former CEO of Glasgow Life, the arm’s length agency that runs culture, leisure, and sports services for the City of Glasgow. In a wide-ranging conversation with Professor Philip Schlesinger, Bridget reflected instructively on four decades of her career in the arts and cultural management.
The discussion covered her early work in east and central Scotland before she took her major role in the west in 1998. Her role in driving forward major projects such as the establishment of the Riverside Museum and the refurbished Burrell Collection, as well as overseeing such signature events as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, was discussed in some detail.
The perennial challenge of finding funding for cultural infrastructure, in the context of the broad policy changes that have made the creative economy a centrepiece of official thinking, was also on the agenda. So too was the changing climate affecting the scope of arts and humanities research. The complex interplay between the UK government, the devolved Scottish government, and Scotland’s largest city, could hardly be avoided. A bevy of sometimes challenging questions came from the floor at this well-attended event.