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Place-making and cultural tourism

Posted on    by Philip Schlesinger
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Place-making and cultural tourism

By 26 January 2024No Comments

Professor Murray Pittock gave the third evening lecture in the CCPR/CREATe ‘Reflections on Culture’ series at the ARC on 23 January. His topic was ‘Location, Location, Location: Culture, Heritage and the Economy’. He discussed the crucial importance of locality in the cultural economy, a point sometimes made tongue-in-cheek when he used quirky pub signs to show how, furth of these isles, the Scots are apt to be confused with the Irish.

In a talk that drew on his extensive travels and research, Professor Pittock’s strongest focus was on Europe, with Austria the favoured example of outstanding success, scalable with Scotland but taking its distance by combining a compelling trio of mega-attractions to drive the cultural tourist’s Euros into the national economy: Mozart, Klimt and Empress Sisi.

Given his intensive engagement with Scotland’s academic, intellectual and political life, Professor Pittock lamented the nation’s failure to devise a comparably compelling cultural policy to that of the Austrians or French.

Scotland’s notable assets in heritage, its superb rural locations, vibrant cities, and artistic and cultural breadth had a way to go in moving up the ladder of successful nation branding – the route to gaining that elusive just measure of tourist pounds.

Robert Burns was rightly invoked as the star turn in the auratic promotion of Scotland, as was the renown of Scottish food and drink. However, Scots needed more confidence and pride, argued Murray Pittock, and the hospitality trade needed to scale up and recognise opportunities that stared it in the face. The cultural policy establishment needed more focus and know-how in its pursuit of economic success.

Storm Jocelyn did not deter a doughty and highly engaged audience from braving the driving rain and cutting winds. The speaker was kept talking long after he’d left the podium, a good indicator of how he’d hit the mark.

The event was chaired by Professor Philip Schlesinger.