First International Legacy Network Conference: Glasgow 2014: Legacy, Partnership, Regeneration?

October 14-16 2015, Mitchell Library, Glasgow
Conference Organised by Policy Scotland at the University of Glasgow, in partnership with the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life.

You are warmly invited to attend and/or participate at the above multi-disciplinary professional and academic conference. We welcome papers and session proposals, as part of a major international knowledge exchange conference linking local and national governments, academics, business and communities. The conference is about all aspects of mega-event legacy but stresses the lessons learned that might be shared from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games experience and the legacy arrangements that featured prominently in the design, delivery and aftermath of the event.

  • Key questions for the conference include:
  • What is the impact on the local community and how can legacy be best shared with the local community?
  • What are the business and economic legacies?
  • What are the wider learning lessons for cities, games delivery and legacy evaluation? What does it tell us about broader city regeneration activities?
  • To what extent can social, physical, environmental, educational, softer people legacies be achieved?
  • What works, what does not and why? Show unique is any event city and how does it sustain momentum after the circus has gone?
  • Policy & practice transfer – what lessons and knowledge can be shared for other bids and established future events?
  • To what extent is there or can there be a sports/activity legacy and how would we know?
  • What lessons can we draw out from the para-sport dimensions of Glasgow 2014?
  • What lessons can we conclude from Glasgow’s bidding experience e.g. the relationship between games delivery and legacy?

We invite abstracts for papers and suggestions for sessions no later than June 30 2015. Final decisions on papers and sessions will be made by July 15 2015.

The conference will involve a mixture of plenary sessions, plenary panels, parallel sessions and interactive/participative sessions. We especially welcome papers from the global south, from research students and from researchers and consultants outwith the academic community. Speakers and sessions will mix academics and civic professionals and other non-academic experts. There will be a full social and study programme and we will endeavour to keep delegate fees affordable.

We welcome papers from any perspective provided they are consistent with the broad topic of legacy.

For further information:

Aim & Purpose

About the Legacy Research Network

Learning lessons from legacy is central to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Recent events such as the London Olympics and dating back at least as far as to Manchester Commonwealth Games demonstrates the growing scrutiny of claims made suggesting lasting legacy effects that are increasingly important strands of longer term urban regeneration and city development. It is increasingly inconceivable for competitive bids for mega events would not highlight wide-ranging legacy benefits, or indeed that the case made to local and national populations would not seek to capture legacy returns on public investment.

How strong and plausible are these claims? Which areas are more likely to be successful (e.g. contrasting infrastructure investment, local facilities versus say lasting health benefits from increased physical activity)? How do these event-related legacies play into longer term people and place strategies to regenerate our cities and communities?

Our core proposition is that around the world cities contemplating bids and working through their own plans to regenerate and transform would benefit from a space within which they can debate and learn lessons engaging with academics and other researchers who can bring different disciplines and international experience to the network.

We start from the experience in Glasgow where the securing legacy and the evaluation of legacy is central to the whole project. The Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July-August 2014 is but one example but is an opportunity also to locate the Games in the regeneration story of the city and region. It has already generated a range of academic, media and commentator responses. While it has to be embedded in the local context of post-industrial west central Scotland, we believe this is a unique opportunity to start an international network of cities and scholars who wish to take these ideas and work with them.

The Network is an outcome of the Legacy Research Partnership established by the three Universities in Glasgow alongside Glasgow Life and the City Council. It was the brainchild of the University of Glasgow’s representatives and we are grateful for the support both of the Partnership and its constituent parts, as well as seed corn funding from the University of Glasgow (both the College of Social Sciences and the Knowledge Exchange Fund).

Initial activities include:

  • A panel debate (July 17 2014) concerned with the different meanings of legacy, their impact on Glasgow and the different perspectives the academy can bring to practical assessment of legacy outcomes more broadly understood.
  • Preparing for an inaugural international conference for the network to be held in Glasgow at the Mitchell Library in October 2015.

Steering Committee Members

  • Kenneth Gibb (University of Glasgow/Policy Scotland) – convener
  • Josef Konvitz (Hon Prof University of Glasgow)
  • Mark O’Neill (Glasgow Life)
  • Julie Clark (University of Glasgow)
  • Linda Christie (University of Glasgow)
  • Robert Rogerson (University of Strathclyde)
  • Lesley Sawers (Glasgow Caledonian University)
  • Jane Thompson (Glasgow City Council)
  • Des McNulty (University of Glasgow/Policy Scotland)

First International Conference of the Legacy Research Network

Convened by the University of Glasgow, in partnership with Glasgow Life, the Glasgow City Council, Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian Universities

October 14-16 2015, Glasgow


Regeneration and change have become the rationale for mega events in cities, the basis for their legacy. The concept of legacy however has tended to stress physical improvements, with little or no further investment after the mega event itself. The Legacy Conference and Network should expand the concept to include wider social, environmental and economic concerns. This calls for ongoing measures to improve human and social capital, or rephrased, knowledge and the ability to use it – our common wealth.

Legacy makes sense as part of a long-term strategy for urban regeneration. The challenge is to capture and apply knowledge acquired through the design and delivery of a mega event or other urgent and long-range projects. A new agenda is needed to stimulate research, embolden civic leaders, and generate community and business support. This conference should help redefine legacy, promote research and knowledge exchange on what works (and what doesn’t), and link large-scale urban events to better, long-lasting economic, social and environmental outcomes. A new policy field, legacy is multi-dimensional; it begins well before a mega-event and results may emerge over years.

This conference, covering what current and prospective research tells us, will be the first in an open-ended series, to be supported by a new global city-university legacy network. This network will be open to cities which have hosted events, bid for events, intend to host events, or just want to benefit from the experiences of others, and their main research universities. We also welcome individual researchers and academics interested in all aspects of legacy and the future of our cities.

Key questions

The potential of Legacy:

  • Is legacy possible or a delusion? Can mega-events really strengthen regeneration? Are there opportunities being missed?
  • Do cities really need mega-events? What can be learned from failed bids?
  • Who benefits from legacy, and how can the benefits be distributed more widely? Does legacy enrich civic pride and strengthen a positive urban identity? What are its humanistic, cultural dimensions?
  • How can physical infrastructure investments be linked better to soft infrastructure (education, health, environment, safety), to add value?
  • What are the cutting edge research questions today? How can interdisciplinary legacy research be carried out? And how can research influence practice?

The skills for legacy:

  • Why are medium-term strategies so necessary and so challenging? And why do they matter for legacy? What is the optimal scale for intervention?
  • Can knowledge about legacy practice be synthesized? Are there good models of collaboration between cities and research universities?
  • What skills are acquired by planning and delivering a mega-event? How can event-based, innovative partnerships necessary to make a mega-event operational be mainstreamed into service delivery after the games are over?
  • What does evaluation demand? How can evaluation methods be improved? How are the results of evaluation used, and by whom?

Governance for legacy:

  • How is legacy used for political purposes?
  • Are conflicts inevitable?
  • What do we know about the legacy of past events? What have cities done differently?
  • If governance is part of the problem, can it also be part of the solution?
  • What is the agenda for the next two years? For 2018 and beyond? How can international co-operation be strengthened?
  • What are the regulatory and transparency challenges to implementation and how can they be tackled better?


  • City leaders
  • National and regional governments
  • University leaders and senior researchers
  • Academics and other researchers working on relevant legacy/city studies
  • Practitioners
  • International organisations that sponsor mega-events in cities
  • Community leaders
  • Philanthropic organisations


October 14-16 2015, a year after Glasgow hosts the legacy-centred Commonwealth Games


Glasgow; Mitchell Theatre


Plenary, panel and parallel sessions
Full social programme
Catering, field trips and excursions as part of the core conference fee
Reduced rates for students and delegates from specified lower income countries
Steering committee will design programme and assess proposals
Sponsorship opportunities


August 2014 – initial conference announcement and call for participation
January 2015 – call for papers and special sessions
end June 2015 – deadline for abstracts
end August 2015 – deadline for paper submission
October 2015 – conference (14th-16th)

External Links