Launch of the European Cultural Capital Report 3

The third European Cultural Capital Report aims to update the wealth of information contained in both previous reports (European Cultural Capital Report volumes I and II produced by Bob Palmer and Greg Richards) and the original evaluation report (produced for the European Commission – Palmer Report, 2004).Given the wealth of information, research and attention focussed on ECOCs it is not surprising that we had editing choices to make. Rather than focussing inspanidually on different ECOCs as often articles in previous reports did, this third report has been able to draw conclusions from multiple examples. Section three on news, trends and development therefore includes articles on common issues such as spiralling bidding costs; risk mitigation planning, the development of regional dimensions and governance problems these sections cross-reference a number of ECOC to highlight emerging trends. Also, in section three we discuss the rising importance of ECOCs and highlight initiatives the world over that are aimed at mirroring the European model’s success.

Section four reviews the new ECOC selection process and questions how it will fair in an environment where there is increasing competition from cities to have the title. As this report goes to print, 7 cities have been preselected from a total of 15 cities and are hoping to be the next Spanish European Capital of Culture. The question remains if there is a need for disappointment management programmes in the future!

Section 5 follows the format of previous reports in providing an in-depth profile of one particular aspect of the ECOC, in this case the role of tourism. Drawing on data from all ECOCs, but concentrating mainly on recent editions, this review investigates the short and long term impacts of the ECOC on tourism in the host city.

Section 6 looks at ECOC legacies and therefore we felt it fitting to use as our case study the rather overshadowed ECOC from Norway – Stavanger 2008. Section 7 provides a detailed case study on Stavanger which highlights how the smaller city (paired in 2008 with Liverpool) managed to put its stamp on the year. The report highlights the valuable contribution of Stavanger in ECOC history and puts into question how success is increasingly being measured. Stavanger without a doubt has a success story to tell but it is not easily measurable with statistics.

Section 8, aptly titled – cultural capital crazy- highlights the growing popularity of the ECOC model around the world. From private ventures, to open grass-root lobbies, the ECOC not only as an idea but also as a model, is proliferating in strange and surprising ways.

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