This conversation developed questions that had emerged in the research for the publication of the 5th edition of the European Capitals of Culture Reports.  Co-authors Robert Palmer, Greg Richards and Diane Dodd invited participants to take part in an exclusive conversation to discuss and explore the challenges, pitfalls and benefits of bidding for and hosting an event such as UK City of Culture and/or the European Capital of Culture (ECoC).

The conversation focused on a number of themes that were considered to constitute the many challenges facing bidding cities today, among which of prime concern was the realisation that Europe is being increasingly superseded by a global dimension and that ECoC, as a brand, urgently needs to raise its profile if the impacts of being a host city are to be sustained.  However, somewhat encouragingly, it was recognised that the corporate sector in the host and bidding cities does recognise the ECoC brand and appreciates its value for business.  The next challenge is to challenge this support at an international level.

Another of the report’s findings that generated substantial and timely debate was the rising influence of the media and public opinion generated, in particular, through social media and social networking sites.  With tourism boards currently actively engaging bloggers it has become a prerequisite for ECoCs to have an active social media presence.  It is vital, the experts argued, that panic and uncertainty surrounding ICT and social media tools is assuaged and that ECoCs positively embrace social media to engage audiences and increase participation.

Legacy has always been that elusive buzzword that ECoCs seek to emulate and the discussion focused on the importance of developing strategies for long-term impact and incorporating legacy into a bid.  However, the experts advised that flexibility and openness is the key to such a strategy as citizens chart their routes together towards a shared future.

Another key demand the authors of the report highlighted was the importance of building of new audiences and finding ways to galvanise people to confront big institutions and to promote excellence and inspire through courage and vision.  The conversation determined that most often risk-averse measures are driven by panic.

Finally, the group contemplated the process of handing over the title from city to city.  Using a comparison with the Olympics which, in everybody’s opinion is much more robust, the experts suggested that the most effective ways in which to avoid the same mistakes happening from city to city is though the thorough dissemination of reports such as those presented by the authors and the promotion of conversations and dialogue such as those hosted by IGCAT.





Website maintained by