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Image and reputation

This thematic area explores the positioning and repositioning of Liverpool before and after becoming ECoC, looking into how the city is presented by the media, how it is promoted through official marketing narratives, and how it is perceived from the perspective of local residents, visitors and people from around the UK.

A number of methodological tools were employed by Impacts 08 in its examination of the impact of the ECoC on representations and perceptions of Liverpool locally, nationally and internationally. Impacts 18 has placed particular emphasis on the longitudinal analysis of press coverage – a core building block of the original evaluation. However, data here will also be compared with data on perceptions that will be gathered as part of other thematic clusters (see: Neighbourhood Impacts and Visitor Survey projects).

Press Narrative Impacts

Impacts 08 provided valuable empirical evidence of the impact that bidding for and hosting an ECoC can have on the image of its host city, covering the period 1996-2008. In examining the legacies of the ECoC 10 years on, the Impacts 18 programme is aiming to understand:

  • how frequently, and in what context, the Liverpool ECoC is still referred to in the UK national press;
  • what legacies or after-effects, if any, hosting an ECoC may have on the trajectory of national press coverage on its host city.

The project is divided into two strands:

  • Coverage about Liverpool in general. The aim here is to establish an understanding of how press references to Liverpool have evolved over time, regardless of whether they include explicit reference to the ECoC. This strand covers a sample of 5,783 articles (an average of 10% of all relevant coverage) published between 1996 and 2017. Data on 2018 is still being collated.
  • Coverage mentioning the Liverpool ECoC specifically. The aim here is to understand how Liverpool is referred to in the context of the ECoC programme specifically, so as to identify dominant narratives and ECoC associations that may explain noticeable variations in generic city coverage (above) and thus changes in the ways the city is represented at large. This strand covers all articles published on Liverpool as ECoC, amounting to 1,739 between 2000 and 2017.
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