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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 the social and cultural impact of events and culture on communities. I am also interested in the role of art, sport and culture in creating soft power change through cultural diplomacy, both through state and non-state actors. I also hold the role of the Director of the Centre for Culture, Sport and Events


Current research activities

I am currently a co-investigator on an SSHRC international collaborative research project Leveraging Parasport Events: for sustainable community participation. This has produced a series of outputs in public policy, impact and media analysis of parasports representations.  I am currently the Principal Investigator on a British Council project examining evidence for art and culture's role in cultural diplomacy. I am also acting as an expert advisor to the OECD on their draft recommendation on Global Events and Local Development for member countries


Research areas: GV recreation Leisure - mega events, cultural policy, cultural diplomacy, sport, disability, digital media

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 I am interested in looking at cities who failed to win City of Culture titles and what they do next.

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 policy impact evaluation and transformational change.

External positions

Visiting Professor, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy

1 Mar 2014 → …

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event Social Sciences
Sports Social Sciences
disability Social Sciences
major event Social Sciences
art Social Sciences
cultural program Social Sciences
Commonwealth of Nations Earth & Environmental Sciences
sport Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1997 2019

Co-creating, co-producing and connecting: museum practice today

McPherson, G. & Barnes, P., 30 Apr 2019, In : Curator: The Museum Journal. 62, 2, p. 257-267 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Community Engagement
33 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
cultural heritage
heritage tourism
57 Downloads (Pure)

Repurposing the (super)crip: media representations of disability at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

McGillivray, D., O'Donnell, H., McPherson, G. & Misener, L., 6 Jun 2019, In : Communication and Sport.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
discourse analysis

Events Policy in Theory and Strategy

McGillivray, D. & McPherson, G., 2018, (In preparation) London: Routledge.

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Research Impact Award - Gold Medal

Gayle McPherson (Recipient) & David McGillivray (Recipient), 3 Apr 2014

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Commonwealth of Nations
local participation
Community participation

Activities 2013 2018

  • 3 Participation in conference
  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
  • 1 Consultancy

The Contribution of Art and Culture to Global Security and Stability

Gayle McPherson (Consultant), Sophie Mamattah (Consultant)
Feb 2018Jul 2018

Activity: Consultancy

Battle of Ideas. Can Culture Save the City?Institute of Ideas, London and University of the West of Scotland

Katarzyna Kosmala (Invited speaker), Carlton Brick (Organiser), Gayle McPherson (Invited speaker), Pauline Hadaway (Invited speaker), Christine Hamilton (Invited speaker), Alistair Donald (Chair)
28 Nov 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

UK Government Committee on Soft Power

Gayle McPherson (Invited speaker)
11 Oct 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

The Challenges of Evaluating Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy and Cultural Relations

Gayle McPherson (Keynote/plenary speaker)
Jun 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

National Museum Conference 2013

Gayle McPherson (Keynote/plenary speaker)
Sep 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

Press / Media

Announcement of Research Appointment

Gayle McPherson


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Research

University PhD researcher aims to put Paisley on the cultural map

Alison McCandlish & Gayle McPherson


4 items of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Newspaper opinion piece

Gayle McPherson


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Scotland's Towns Summit: 19th November 2014

Gayle McPherson & Graham Jeffery


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities