Download the final version Scotland's Towns Conference 2017 programme here.





A Scotland’s Towns Partnership production.  In Partnership with Renfrewshire Council and Paisley 2021.

This year Scotland celebrates the richness of its history and heritage, and the role of the past in shaping our present-day places, cultures and identities.  This is particularly true for towns, whose heritage tells our story as a nation, from medieval burghs and seats of kings, to hubs of the industrial revolution, and ‘new town’ symbols of post-war modernity.

This year’s Scotland’s Towns Conference examines how, as a nation of towns, it is critical that we embrace our heritage; not only to acknowledge it, but to measure its worth, and value it; and to curate, preserve, protect and promote it.  In a world seeking authenticity, it is how we use our towns’ heritage moving forward, that will help determine the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of communities across Scotland.

Famous for its Paisley print, Gerry Rafferty, Paolo Nutini and Doctor Who (star David Tennant grew up in the city),  our home for this year is the wonderful Paisley.  Now in the final running for UK City of Culture 2021, Paisley is truly embracing its future history, with a vision centred on its world class cultural and heritage assets and the launch of an extensive programme of regeneration activity and investment.  Set within the wider context of the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy, its regeneration strategy for the next 20 years, contributes to re-establishing Paisley as Renfrewshire’s primary town centre for the benefit of local people and businesses as well as the national and international community.  Hear about and step into Paisley’s Vision for 2026, with our active session, walking through the town’s strategic activity areas that will deliver transformational change.  You will also hear from some of Scotland’s…and the world’s top place-changers, all responsible for creating the future of towns here and around the globe.



08:45     Auditorium and Foyer (Ground Floor)

Networking I Marketplace I FutureTown Design Competition I Most Beautiful High Street (45 minutes)



The Auditorium

09:30     Welcome and Introducing PACE

Jean Cameron, Bid Director, Paisley 2021

09:45     Paisley’s Future History: PACE Theatre Company. Performance by the largest youth theatre of its kind in the UK.

10:00     Host: Ross Martin

10:05     Ministerial Address and Winner of Most Beautiful High Street Announced:

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing

10:20     Using our Heritage to Create Social, Cultural and Economic Wellbeing

                Simon Wall, Town Architect, Westport, Mayo County Council, Ireland

10:35     Creating the Vision: Paisley’s Pattern!

                Sandra Black, Chief Executive, Renfrewshire Council and Paisley 2021 Board Member.

10:50     Question Time Panel with [guest speaker tbc] and Sandra Black, joined by Phil Prentice, Chief Officer, Scotland’s Towns Partnership

11:10     Step Into the Vision. Working Groups on the Move!

Guided Walking Tour of Paisley’s Strategic Activity Areas

Depart in groups by 11:25

Tour length – 1 hour

                Auditorium and Foyer (Ground Floor)

12:30     Networking Lunch I Marketplace I FutureTown Design Competition I Most Beautiful High Street (1 hour)

13:40     Town Centre Innovation Labs



                The Auditorium (Ground Floor)

Option 1: A Brave New World - Digital Future Proofing

Get to grips with the new digital world of VR, AR, Trip Advisor and the discerning tech savvy visitor.

Mark Collins, Founder and Director of Strategy and Public Affairs, CityFibre  and David Wallace, ‎Director - Major & Public Sector, BT  

The Alexander Wilson Suite (First floor)

Option 2: Tourism in our Towns – Then. Now. The Future.

Tourism has grown at a huge rate over the last two years.   Find out how VisitScotland will help moving forward, and plans for future theme years.

Riddell Graham, Director of Partnerships, VisitScotland

                Fringe Sessions end 14:20

                ‘Coffee-to-go’ from the North Minor Hall (Adjacent to Auditorium)

                The Auditorium (Ground Floor)



14:30     From Communities to the United Nations: Reinventing Places from the Ground Up

Geurt Grosfeld, Managing Director, The Embassy for Creative Affairs, The Netherlands

14:45     Dundee – A Learning Journey

15:00     Question Time Panel – Geurt Grosfeld is joined by Barbara Cummins, Director of Heritage Management, Historic Environment Scotland, Janet Archer, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland and Jean Cameron, Bid Director, Paisley 2021

15:20     Detroit’s Revival

Rob St Mary, Director of Outreach, Patronicity, Detroit, USA

Patronicity brings together local citizens and sponsors to support great initiatives in their communities. Hear how this has delivered real impact, from the ground up, gets wide engagement, captures ideas that work and filters out those that won’t.

15:40     Questions


15:50     Rob St Mary and Phil Prentice

16:00     Closing Remarks – Professor Leigh Sparks, Chair, Scotland’s Towns Partnership 


Sponsored By …Connecting Scotland's Towns