Gayle McPherson

Accepting PhD Students

1997 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

My interests revolve around the public policy interventions of the local and national state in events and festivity of all types and leveraging events to  create social and cultural impact. I'm interested in evidence based public value of sports and cultural events and using these to create progressive opportunities. My work also covers the role of art, sport and culture in creating soft power change through cultural diplomacy, both through state and non-state actors. I was a member of the UK Soft Power Group run by the British Foreign Policy Group. I am the Director of the Centre for Culture, Sport and Events at UWS and a member of the European Cultural Parliament. 


Current research activities

I am currently a co-investigator on an SSHRC international collaborative research project Leveraging Parasport Events: for sustainable community participation 2018-2022. This has produced a series of outputs in public policy, impact and media analysis of parasports representations.  I have just led as PI and completed a report on the social value of events for Spirit of London 2012 and that is accessible here I have also completed a British Council project, as Principal Investigator, examining Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth in Kenya. I'm also a co-I on Festspace HERA funded 3 year research project on the role of festivals and events in public and civic spaces. Lastly, I am conducting research in sport and disability in Scotland funded by the Peter Harrison Foundation and the Observatory for Sport in Scotland.


Research areas: GV recreation Leisure - mega events, cultural policy, cultural diplomacy, sport, disability, public value

Desired research direction

My future research will continue to focus of the social and cultural impact of mega events on communities and on their role in leveraging wider impact. I will develop further how mega events contribute to creating public value and how these can or are being used for progressive opportunity. I will continue my work in cultural diplomacy and sport diplomacy having taken on more PhD students in this area.

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

I have expertise and experience of monitoring, evaluation and impact of arts, culture and sport and have worked for a range of agencies. Recently these have included: Creative Scotland, British Council, Renfrewshire Council and the OECD. I have expertise in events, sport and cultural diplomacy impact evaluation and transformational change.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Visiting Professor, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

1 Mar 20141 Dec 2019


  • HM Sociology
  • Cultural policy
  • sports policy
  • mega events
  • public value
  • JZ International relations
  • Diplomacy
  • cultural policy


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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