Promoting dialogue between European citizens and developing a sense of belonging to the same European community have been the ambitions of the European Capitals of Culture since their creation in 1985. Member states have taken turns to host the event, while an international panel assesses the candidates based on ever more demanding criteria.

A city is not awarded the title on what it plans for a given year. The bidbook should include a strong European dimension, and highlight the city’s place in the European culture. IGCAT advises cities in realizing this through providing trainings for future ECOCs. There are loads of consultancies that advise cities how to win, however IGCAT provides cities with a thorough training in how to prepare the perfect bid, as we believe it has to be the city who writes the final book.

Co-authors of the European Capitals of Culture Reports Robert Palmer, Greg Richards and Diane Dodd invite 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 the European Capital of Culture (ECoC). Places are restricted to professionals in the field (leading academics and policy-makers) to ensure a quality discussion with the authors.

Cities who are aiming to becoming the next European Capital of Culture within their country are invited to participate in the event. Next to the discussion that will take place with the IGCAT experts (and authors of the European Cultural Capital reports) this also allows for a thorough conversation with other cities, creating links and providing opportunities.

12 December 2014 edition

Candidate cities in various stages of bidding for the coveted European Capital of Culture title, took part in a meeting with the authors of the European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) reports in Barcelona on Friday 12 December 2014. The meeting featured the participation of several bidding ECOC cities in order to explore challenges as well as collaboration possibilities, facilitated by leading experts on the European Capitals of Culture Programme: Robert Palmer, Greg Richards and Diane Dodd.

At the December seminar (which is becoming a yearly event) IGCAT offers the bidding ECOC cities the opportunity to meet with other bidding cities to forge important links. The sessions are organized both as formal and informal sessions so that the cities have the opportunity to share expertise and experience with one another, and tease out areas of concern and difficulty.

Areas discussed included important elements in the bidding process; changes in the guidelines; devolving the effects of the ECOC across the region; involving regional partners; ensuring political support for the bid; managing political stakeholders; opportunities available through EU programmes; glavanising private support; crowdfunding methods; involving local citizens in the bidding process; reaching new audience segments; developing the European Dimension; using the ECOC to develop tourism; effective evaluation strategies; using evaluation in the bidding process; developing creative  sector growth; using the ECOC as a platform for innovation; social media in the bidding process; creating legacies; branding impacts; putting the city on the  map; critical success factors and ensuring a successful ECOC.

All the cities participating agreed that the meeting was incredibly useful and Brendan McGrath from Galway Ireland admitted following the morning session that the seminar was the most useful meeting he had attended in years!

IGCAT also offers tailored training courses for political representatives, programme coordinators and wider stakeholders, on future European Capitals of Culture both in Barcelona and/or as a structured visit to the bidding the city.

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