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Our research on the European Capital of Culture programme

ICC Director, Dr. Beatriz Garcia, has researched the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) initiative since 2002 and has documented the experience of all ECoC hosts (over 65 cities, in more than 30 European countries) since the initiative’s launch in 1985.

This research has focused on studying the symbolic regeneration potential and long-term cultural legacies of hosting an ECoC, as well as its economic, physical and social impacts.

The ICC was created in 2010 to pioneer methodologies for the analysis of the multiple impacts of major cultural interventions and has become a world referent in comparative indicator analysis and longitudinal studies. Liverpool has been a focal point for our studies, but our research framework has also been applied in the study of the legacy of Glasgow 1990 and is a referent in other ECoC research programmes, from Stavanger 2008, to Turku 2011, Marseille-Provence 2013, Aarhus 2017 and Leeuwarden 2018.

Find below an overview of the main European Capital of Culture projects Beatriz has directed since 2002:

•  Impacts 18 – European Capital of Culture Legacies, 10 years on (2016-2019) This project captures the long-term effects of hosting an ECoC in Liverpool, a decade after 2008. The programme revisits all thematic impact clusters assessed by our previous programme, Impacts 08: city image; cultural participation; cultural vibrancy, economic development; and cultural governance, as well as impacts on citizens’ wellbeing. This is the first time a city has fully replicated a multiple impact study to documents ongoing effects more than a decade on. Findings will be made available from May 2018.

•  European Capitals of Culture: Success Strategies and Long-Term Effects (2013) This study, funded by the European Parliament, assesses the long-term effects of hosting the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) programme since its inception in 1985, and discusses the organisational and policy implications of these findings. Over 60 cities in 30 European countries were surveyed.

•  Impacts 08 – The Liverpool Model (2005-2010). Longitudinal research programme into the cultural, social, economic and environmental impacts of Liverpool’s becoming 2008 European Capital of Culture. The programme was commissioned by Liverpool City Council and was jointly developed by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. It is the most extensive research programme ever conducted on an ECoC and its final report is a key referent across Europe.
[Final Report]  [Programme website]

•  European Capitals of Culture Policy Group (2009-2010). International network of researchers and programmers of the European Capital of Culture initiative working on a common framework for ECoC assessment and delivery. The network was funded by the European Commission and led to a series of workshops, led by Liverpool via the Impacts 08 team, with the collaboration of teams from Stavanger, Marseille, Turku, the Ruhr and Kosice.

•  Cultural Sustainability? Liverpool in 2008 (2007-2010) AHRC and ESRC Impact Fellowship to study the cultural policy implications of hosting the 2008 European Capital of Culture in Liverpool. This research demonstrates the symbolic impact of the ECoC on people’s sense of place.

•  Understanding the Long-term Legacies of Glasgow 1990, European City of Culture (2002- 2005) Research funded by the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (University of Glasgow). This four-year research programme assessed the ten-year cultural impacts and legacies of hosting the title. It established innovative methodologies for narrative analysis to capture Glasgow’s image renaissance post 1990.

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