It is Variant policy to correct significant errors as soon as possible.
Please contact the editors:
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Glasgow, G20 7XJ
+44 (0)141 333 9522
Corrections & Clarifications,
issue 32, Summer 2008
The editors have considered a number of complaints
from Culture & Sport
Glasgow (CSG) concerning the article The
New Bohemia by
Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt.
One of CSG’s main allegations is "that the author has referenced
newspapers as reliable and accurate sources of facts, which is a major
flaw in a so-called piece of academic writing. Out of 36 note references
12 are directly taken from newspapers." (23 June 2008) Newspapers
are an invaluable resource for the academic researcher as they are
for journalists. It is of course the case that newspapers are not always
reliable sources. However, the same should be said of other types of
data such as, for example, official statements from governmental institutions,
as is made clear below. However, the press material used in this article
was in the context of a range of other sources and was not the sole
basis for the article. Furthermore, it is our understanding that every
care was taken to check where possible with additional sources and
to examine (via newspaper’s databases) whether corrections had
been issued or letters published from CSG or other sources querying
the veracity of the accounts. If CSG has approached any of these sources
for retractions, this was not obvious from the research undertaken.
The question which is important here, though, is not the use of press
sources which form a legitimate part of academic data gathering, and
indeed a substantial area of academic scholarship, but the issue of
the accuracy of the claims and the investigative thrust of the article.
As is made clear in Variant's full response to Culture & Sport
Glasgow [available here as a PDF], it is our belief that the publishing
of the article 'The New Bohemia' by Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt, Variant
issue 32, Summer 2008, is in the public interest.
• The article states that there were "controversial proposals
to allow private companies to develop businesses in two of its parks".
The article is clear that it is critiquing a nexus of interests. However,
the use of the possessive form – its – in the above sentence
in relation to the two parks may, strictly speaking in this particular
instance, be misapplied. The two parks mentioned are, at the point
of writing, within Land and Environmental Services.
However: "The parks and open spaces service links closely with
a number of other Glasgow City Council services and external agencies,
in terms of both policy and service delivery." Land and Environmental
Services declare this a "complex series of relationships",
and the restructuring of senior management, just prior to the Strategic
Review of Parks and Open Spaces, was "undertaken in order to move
Land Services forward as an organisation that is focused on customers
and corporate working." (Glasgow Parks and Open Spaces, Strategic
Best Value Review and Implementation Plan)
Culture & Sport
Glasgow has not contested that it is involved in parks development
and is engaged in formal partnerships to do with parks management.
Culture & Sport Glasgow manage the
Burrell Collection, whose facilities are a major plank in the Go Ape
business model for Pollok Park. See: http://www.savepollokpark.com
To more fully respond, the editors and the author
would like to hear from anyone who has information on the commercial
development/exploitation of parks, and, if Culture & Sport Glasgow
should be involved, the precise nature and level of their involvement.
• The article states that "somewhat predictably, it has
just been announced that the feted Kelvingrove Museum will be introducing
We would like to clarify that entrance fees to national museums across
the UK were officially scrapped on 1st December 2001. It is in this
context and the wider concerns of commercial exploitation of common
good facilities expressed in the article that Kelvingrove, a public
museum, will for the first time since then be charging admission for
the temporary Doctor Who Exhibition to be housed within the museum.
At Earls Court, tickets for the Doctor Who Exhibition are: £9,
child £7, under 3s free, family (2 adults + 2 children) £28.
The BBC makes it quite clear that it wishes to commercially exploit
its brands. See, for instance: 'Doctor Who helps drive to record profits
in BBC Worldwide's global expansion', The Guardian, Wednesday July
To more fully understand the position of CSG, we believe it clearer
to quote their website directly:
"Culture and Sport Glasgow has established a trading subsidiary
called Culture and Sport Glasgow Trading CIC to undertake the management
and development of commercial activities which Culture and Sport Glasgow
cannot undertake as a charity. The CIC is responsible for delivering
income through commercial activities such as retailing, catering and
The key areas of current commercial activity are:
• Retail in Museums
• Daytime Catering in Culture and Sport Glasgow Venues
• Venue Hire"
To more fully respond, the editors and the author would like to hear
from anyone who has information on: retail in museums, associated events
catering, venue hire, or any other forms of commercial exploitation
of museums or other common good assets.
• The diagram of the board members of Culture & Sport Glasgow
includes Councillor Archie Graham. Contrary to the information available
and provided at the time, we have now learned that Councillor Graham
resigned his position sometime in March/April 2008 and was replaced
by Bailie Allan Stewart.
We would like to make clear that the initial information for this
came from the Culture & Sport Glasgow website. At the time this
research was conducted (in the first quarter of 2008) Archie Graham
was still cited as a member of the board. Indeed, a response to a Freedom
of Information request, dated 15 April 2008, names Graham as a Director.
• We would like to make the following corrections, that:
• Bridget McConnell is not Executive Director of Culture and Sport
Glasgow but Chief Executive of Culture and Sport Glasgow.
• Dr Vartan Gregorian is not seconded to Culture and Sport Glasgow
but Special Advisor to the Board of Culture and Sport Glasgow.
• Independent Directors and Elected Members of Culture and Sport
Glasgow are all members of the Board.
• as Director of Leisure Services for Glasgow City Council, Bridget
McConnell's role had included overseeing sports facilities and the staging
of a number of sporting events before the redesignation of post to Executive
Director (Culture and Sport); this new, expanded appellation explicitly
recognised the 'sports' element and, we are led to understand, the efforts
to secure the Common Wealth Games.
• We would like to apologise to Councillor Aileen Colleran, who
is not, as incorrectly stated, a member of the Culture and Sport Glasgow
(Trading) CIC board.