Cultural Policy & Major Events

**Dr Beatriz Garcia led the Cultural Policy & Major Events research strand 2010-19, bringing 15 years of experience at the forefront of the culture-led regeneration and cultural impact debate, including her role as Director of the pioneering Impacts 08 research programme which laid the foundation for the ICC as a centre of excellence in culture research. From September 2019, you can continue to follow Beatriz’s work in the field via her personal website. The ICC will continue to undertake research under this theme, led by other academics, including for example the evaluation of the Liverpool City Region Boroughs of Culture programme. **

The Cultural Policy & Major Events research strand looked at national and international policy frameworks for culture and placed a particular emphasis on their application in the context of large-scale cultural interventions. Special events, such as the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) or the Olympic Games, and high profile denominations, such as becoming a World Heritage Site, are important catalysts for cultural policy as they require the formalisation of a common narrative for culture across a wide diversity of stakeholders over a concentrated period of time. This process can, in turn, be a driver for cultural change and regeneration with widespread economic, social and cultural impacts. 

ICC projects that focused on the assessment of cultural policy and its impact via large-scale interventions include the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Evaluation (2011-13), which was funded by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Arts Council England and a network of partners. This project built on the Impacts 08 research model to assess the multiple impacts of hosting the Cultural Olympiad as a four-year UK-wide cultural programme, considered the largest cultural event ever hosted in the UK, both in terms of its geographic remit and diversity of interventions. The research assessed the impact of the Cultural Olympiad in terms of its approaches to cultural programming, engagement of multiple audiences and communities, contribution to tourism development, role in the formation of diverse and sustainable partnerships, and also in terms of its impact on the broader Olympic and Paralympic Games — in particular, the programme’s success in proving that arts and culture are essential to the identity and sustainability of major international sporting events. This research has provided an unprecedented evidence base on the added value created by having dedicated cultural policies for the Games hosting process and is becoming a key referent point for future sporting events, including the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In 2012, Beatriz was also appointed to lead a European network of researchers in assessing the Long Term Effects of hosting the European Capital of Culture, with funding from the European Parliament. This project looked into the evolution of the ECoC programme since its inception in 1985 and assessed existing evidence of impact and sustained legacy across cultural, social, economic, governance and political domains. The project developed in parallel with extensive discussion on the future of the programme and its policy priorities, and resulted in a detailed report that will become a significant referent point for the articulation of future European cultural policy interventions.

Other recent projects include a study on the value of the World Heritage Site (WHS) title for Liverpool, co-funded by the ICC and English Heritage and supported by Liverpool Vision and the Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership. This project assessed the impact of the WHS title on the city’s image and reputation as well as local citizens’ sense of place. The consultation methodology for the study included a wide-scale, online public survey; a detailed media content analysis of references to Liverpool as a WHS since its nomination to the present day; a range of community focus groups; and stakeholder interviews with key business representatives.

See our research page for more examples.

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