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Celebrating 25 years of European Capitals of Culture

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I was a plenary speaker at a major European Commission conference in Brussels, celebrating 25 years of the European Capital of Culture programme....

I was a plenary speaker at a major European Commission conference in Brussels, celebrating 25 years of the European Capital of Culture programme.

I made a presentation on the Impacts 08 research programme, placing an emphasis on the relevance of conducting longitudinal (over 5 years) research, and combining an assessment of the economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions of hosting a major event.

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  • Commissioned research |Liverpool City Council +Liverpool Culture CompanyFirst European Capital of Culture host city to commission a longitudinal research programmeFirst city to request provision of evidence of impact across the four main identified dimensions of regeneration : economic, physical, social and culturalFirst city to appoint a University consortium to lead the assessment / evaluation
  • People’s Awareness and Perceptions2005 to 2008 | growth in positive impressions of Liverpool and drop in negative views across UKBy end of 2008 | 65% of UK residents aware that Liverpool was European Capital of Culture77% of visitors to Liverpool felt the city was ‘safer than I expected’.99% of visitors liked the ‘general atmosphere’ and 97% the ‘feeling of welcome’68% of UK businesses believed the ECoC had a positive impact on Liverpool’s imageOnline mediaThe Liverpool ECoC was strongly reflected in user-led social media spaces throughout 2008:flickr (50,000 Liverpool ECoC tagged photographs were uploaded by event audiences)YouTube (2,200 video clips generating over 2.5m views)Facebook(500 new group pages on Liverpool ECoC events with over 13,000 members)Google (volume of Liverpool ECoC related searches comparable to football searches)
  • one year on, there is evidence of clear and immediate Liverpool ECoC outputs and outcomes: The Liverpool ECoC presented a very wide range of events showcasing the wealth of local talent as well as national and internationally acclaimed work; it reached out to a significant variety of audiences with very strong levels of local engagement spread across socio-economic groups, and the programme achieved very high satisfaction levels, particularly during 2008 itself.  The city has undergone a remarkable image renaissance locally, nationally and internationally: local opinion leaders give more credibility to the city’s cultural assets and to the cultural sector as a source of civic leadership; national media in the mainstream, as well as in specialist domains, have got used to presenting a richer picture of Liverpool as a multi-faceted and contemporary city with world class assets and an ability to build on them; internationally, the city has been rediscovered as a tourist destination beyond football and the Beatles, and its approach to ECoC delivery is held as a key reference by other European cities to maximise citizen participation.  Levels of confidence have been raised across the city, particularly in the areas of culture and tourism. Strong partnerships have been developed, have continued post 2008 and may bring greater opportunities to retain local talent, bring in new ideas and approaches, attract external investment and further develop the range and quality of the city’s offer. Culture is more widely accepted as a driver for economic change, health and social inclusion. The cultural sector took the opportunity to play a larger role in the city’s leadership in the lead up to 2008, demonstrating that they had a contribution to make across a number of city agendas. As a result, one year on, there is ongoing commitment to ensure that the sector continues to contribute in areas as diverse as community safety, tourism development, health or city centre management.  These outputs and outcomes must, however, be understood within a wider context and their interpretation must take into account the particular challenges surrounding any attempt at assessing an ECoC programme unfolding over six years.
  • Expectation management – Liverpool had very high aspirations for its ECoC year and made ambitious promises at the bid stage, including a strong emphasis on economic and social regeneration goals. This led many to judge the city’s ability to deliver the ECoC, and success in doing so, on the basis of measures that were far beyond what is realistic to expect from a programme of cultural events. The ongoing physical transformation in the city was often directly identified with the ECoC, and the programme’s benefit to the city was often judged against areas as diverse as job creation, maintenance of the public realm or reduction of anti-social behaviour. Impacts 08 has captured trends in opinion across most of these wide areas but this and other reports attempt a clear distinction between areas that can be appropriately associated with the ECoC delivery process and can be directly impacted by it, and those that would arise from a range of factors, of which the ECoC title is only one.  Building on crisis points as catalysts for change – The lack of an established blueprint for ECoC delivery means that structures of management must be built anew in each city, with little opportunity to learn from previous experience. Liverpool was reluctant to focus on a single artistic vision as it saw the ECoC title as a far broader celebration of the city and its ways of life and an opportunity for repositioning the city. This resulted in a complex framework for operations, involving a wide range of stakeholders with often conflicting demands. The loss of the artistic director in 2006 and the dramatic impact of city-wide physical transformation on public realm event management (which culminated in the well publicised cancellation of the open air concerts within the Mathew Street festival in 2007) were two particularly controversial moments that generated negative media narratives and endangered public confidence. However, these moments can also be understood as key catalysts for positive change: the first led to far greater arts sector involvement and leadership in the programme and hence to a potentially more sustainable collective approach to culture in the city; the second led to a streamlining of governance which included the appointment of a locally supported and nationally recognised individual as creative director, who speeded up decision making and facilitated the media narrative for the year.  Understanding timeframes – Liverpool’s decision to embed the ECoC in a much wider and ongoing regeneration narrative, as well as the ambition for a truly locally owned programme, involving communities from across the city, resulted in a programme of activity that extended over several years. Determining what was or was not part of ‘Liverpool 08’ as a brand or the ECoC as a wider concept throughout this period posed a complex challenge in establishing the boundaries for impact assessment. This was accentuated by the need to account for the time it takes for initiatives to have a measurable effect on their environment. In early 2010, it is possible to offer a robust overview of the impact of gaining the title, as there has been an opportunity to test changes in city perceptions and their impact on areas such as resident and business confidence over six years. However, to understand the full impact and legacy of hosting the ECoC in 2008 will require ongoing measurement and analysis in the years to come in order to disaggregate direct Liverpool ECoC impacts from the impacts of other local and global trends. In Glasgow, host of the 1990 European City of Culture title, it took over a decade to understand what aspects of the programme led to impacts that have sustained in the long-term.
  • Telling the story of a city in its own terms understanding stories as evidence rather than just anecdotesBe scientific but creative | a city in change is not a fixed object

Transcript

  • 1. Celebrating 25 years of European Capitals of CultureSession 5 | Leaving a Legacy European Commission, (Brussels, 24 March 2010)
    Researching the impact and legacy of a European Capital of Culture
    The Liverpool experience
    Dr Beatriz Garcia
    Director
    Impacts 08 – The Liverpool Model
    European Capital of Culture Research Programme
    The Liverpool Cityscape, 2008 © Ben Johnson, 2010. All Rights Reserved DACS.
  • 2. Researching the European Capital of Culture
    Palmer / Rae study on ECoC programme (1995-2004), key warnings:
    Lack of contemporary and retrospective data, poor quality assessments
    It is not possible to compare experiences nor fully understand legacies
    Glasgow 1990: first city to actively engage in ECoC assessment
    1989-1991: Immediate economic impact (Myerscough, Policy Studies Institute)
    2002-2005: Long term cultural legacy (Garcia, University of Glasgow)
    Liverpool 2008: first city to commission a longitudinal research programme
    2005-2010: Economic, physical, social and cultural impacts(Garcia, University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University)
    Beyond short-term evaluation
  • 3. Background | Liverpool 2008, the right time, the right place
    2003-2010 | since Liverpool’s nomination as ECoC, a key period in the advancement of cultural policy and impact research throughout Europe
    Key terms | culture as tool for development, creative cities, creative class, creative economy
    Acceptance of integrated cultural planning as an urban policy model
    Widespread discussion on the need for ‘longitudinal research’
    Generalisation of the term ‘impact assessment’
    Emphasis on knowledge transfer and knowledge exchange
    Ongoing research challenges
    short-termism, instrumentalism, imposing frameworks not fully sensitive to local cultural environments; imposing quantitative ‘measures’ over capturing intangible value
    Liverpool | seen as a relevant laboratory to test concepts and methodologies
    First ECoC host city to commission a longitudinal research programme (2005-2010)
    Requesting evidence of impact across four regeneration dimensions (holistic frame)
    Appointment of University consortium to lead the research (critical assessment)
    European Commission | funding towards cultural policy groupings (2009-10)
    Using the ECoC title as a case study to test comparable methodologies
  • 4.
    • Longitudinal : [2000-2003] 2005 – 2010 [2015]
    • 5. Self-reflective : analyses process as well as outcome
    • 6. Holistic : multiple dimensions of impact; positive as well as negative
    • 7. Collaborative :Research & Arts Councils match funding, data sharing univ/ gov / industry
    inclusion, outreach, diversity
    access &
    participation
    image & perceptions
    creativity
    production
    consumption
    cultural vibrancy
    media coverage
    people’s views
    governance & delivery
    aims + objectives
    policy, strategy
    employment
    visitor trends
    investment
    economy & tourism
    social capital
    physical environment
    equalities
    well-being
    quality of life
    infrastructures
    public realm
    sustainability
    Impacts 08 | Research framework
  • 8. Liverpool as European Capital of Culture
  • 9. The brand, the year
    the lead-up
    The wider city regeneration & re-imaging programme
    The European framework
    Liverpool as European Capital of Culture
    £130m over 6 years
    ECoC hosting process
    2000-2: ECoC bid
    2003: Official nomination
    Year of Learning
    2004: Year of Faith
    2005: Year of the Sea
    2006: Year of Performance
    2007: Year of Heritage : Liverpool 800
    2008: European Capital of Culture Year
    6 years operations
    Culture Company
    £4 billion in 8 years
    4 years key event programming
    £800k for European links
    2009: Year of the Environment
    2010: Year of Health, Well-Being and Innovation
  • 10. Liverpool Culture Company Objectives
    To create and present the best of local, national and international art and events in all genres
    To build community enthusiasm, creativity and participation
    To maintain, enhance and grow the cultural infrastructure of Liverpool
    To increase the levels of visitors and inward investment in Liverpool
    To reposition Liverpool as a world class city by 2008
    Liverpool as European Capital of Culture Intended impacts & legacies
    2008 European Capital of Culture Vision
    • To positively repositionLiverpool to a national and international audience and to encourage more visitors to the city and the North West
    • 11. To encourage and increase participation in cultural activity by people from communities across Merseyside and the wider region
    • 12. To create a legacy of long term growth and sustainability in the city’s cultural sector
    • 13. To develop greater recognition nationally and internationally for the role of artsand culture in making our cities better places to live, work and visit
  • Liverpool as European Capital of Culture Intended impacts & legacies
    participation |
    image
    cultural vibrancy |
    Liverpool Culture Company Objectives
    To create and present the best of local, national and international art and events in all genres
    To build community enthusiasm, creativity and participation
    To maintain, enhance and grow the cultural infrastructure of Liverpool
    To increase the levels of visitors and inward investment in Liverpool
    To reposition Liverpool as a world class city by 2008
    2008 European Capital of Culture Vision
    • To positively repositionLiverpool to a national and international audience and to encourage more visitors to the city and the North West
    • 14. To encourage and increase participation in cultural activity by people from communities across Merseyside and the wider region
    • 15. To create a legacy of long term growth and sustainability in the city’s cultural sector
    • 16. To develop greater recognition nationally and internationally for the role of artsand culture in making our cities better places to live, work and visit
  • The findings | main areas of impact
  • 17. Findings | Economy and tourism
    9.7m additional visits
    £754m direct spend
    in Liverpool + region
    34% growth
    in visitors since 2007
    2.6m international visitors
    (97% of them visit first time)
    1.14m additional hotels nights in Liverpool,
    plus 3m in the North West region
  • 18. Findings | Cultural access and participation
    Three pavilions in deprived communities owned by neighbours and praised by critics
    Above average ethnic minorities, lower socio-eco groups and young people attend ECoC events
    60% of residents attend at least one ECoC event
    15m visits to events or attractions in 2008
    Growth in cultural engagement (2006-2008)
    • 10% yearly rise in arts audiences (2006-2008)
    • 19. 50% rise in visitors to sub-region’s largest attractions
    • 20. Drop in % of people who claim to have no interest in culture
    Over 4,000 registered volunteers, 1,000 active
  • 21. Findings | Cultural vibrancy and sustainability
    New local cultural networks attracting multi-million national grants
    From mid 1990s to end of 2008, 211% growth in culture stories
    over 70% of ECoC contributors locally based
    8% growth in creative industry enterprises since 2004
    51% of local peers agree that Liverpool has been repositioned as a ‘world class city’
    Greater awareness of Liverpool’s contemporary cultural offer, beyond football and Beatles
  • 22. Findings | Image and perceptions
    Over 85% of national articles on ECoC events are positive or neutral
    Less polarised media representation.
    From 1990s fixed negative & positive extremes into nuanced stories on diverse contemporary issues
    ECoC stimulates wider use of online social media platforms offering alternative narratives
    In 2008, cultural stories dominate national media, outnumbering social / crime related stories
    71 % more national positive stories on Liverpool as a city between 2007 and 2008
  • 23. Findings | Governance and delivery process
    Highest amount of sponsorship (£24m) and earned income (£4m)
    InternationalECoC peers view Liverpool as a reference point for community involvement and research strategy
    85% residents agree that city is a better place in 2009 than before ECoC
    Business stakeholders agree that the ECoC has added value to existing regeneration programmes
    New collective cultural strategy for city-region
    New approaches to joint cross sectoral thinking have emerged
  • 24. Summary | Immediate ECoC impacts
    The Liverpool ECoC presented a geographically and socially inclusive programme,
    It reached a significant variety of audiences, ensuring local engagement across socio-eco groups
    It achieved very high satisfaction levels, particularly during 2008 itself.
    The city has undergone a remarkable local, national and international image renaissance
    local opinion leaders give more credibility to the cultural sector as a source of civic leadership;
    national media present a richer picture of Liverpool as a multi-faceted city with world class assets;
    internationally, Liverpool rediscovered as a tourist destination beyond football and the Beatles,and its approach to ECoC delivery is held as a key reference by other European cities.
    Levels of confidence have been raised across the city, particularly in culture and tourism
    Strong partnerships developed, continuing post 2008
    These may bring greater opportunities to produce, retain and attract talent, attract external investment and further develop the range and quality of the city’s offer.
    Culture is more widely accepted as a driver for economic change and social inclusion
    The cultural sector played a larger role in the city’s leadership in the lead up to 2008
    In 2010, there is ongoing commitment to ensure that the sector continues to contribute in areas as diverse as community safety, tourism development, health or city centre management.
  • 25. Summary | Wider context and challenges
    Expectation management
    Building on crisis points as catalysts for change
    Understanding timeframes
    Assessing the ‘European dimension’
  • 26. Impacts 08 reports
    Programme overview
    • Impacts 08 Baseline Findings 2006-2007 (2007)
    • 27. Impacts 08: Methodological framework (2010)
    • 28. [Final Report] Creating an Impact (2010)
    Cultural Access and Participation
    - Volunteering for Culture (2010)
    - Neighbourhood Watch (2010)
    - Impacts of Culture on Quality of Life (2010)
    Cultural Vibrancy and Sustainability
    - Liverpool's Creative Industries (2009)
    - Liverpool’s Arts Sector (2009)
    Image and Perceptions
    - Media Impact Assessment (Part I) (2006)
    - Re-telling the City: exploring local narratives (2007)
    - Liverpool 08 Centre of the Online Universe (2009)
    - The Look of the City (2010)
    • Media Impact Assessment (Part II) (2010)
    Economy and Tourism
    - Doing Business in the ECoC (Part I): (2007)
    - Doing Business in the ECoC (Part II): (2008)
    - ECoC and Liverpool’s Developer Market: (2008)
    - Tourism and the Business of Culture (2010)
    - Economic Impact of Visits Influenced by the ECoC
    Economy & tourism background papers
    - Estimating Economic Benefits of Event Tourism
    - Economic Impacts of the Liverpool ECoC (2008)
    • Methodology for Measuring the Economic Impact of Visits Influenced by the Liverpool ECoC (2009)
    Governance and Delivery Process
    - Who Pays the Piper? (2008)
    • Liverpool on the map again (2010)
    .
    All reports available at: www.impacts08.net
    www.impacts08.net
  • 29. Ways forward | Lessons for impact research
  • 30. Conclusions | Establishing a model for research
    The need to conduct longitudinal research to understand impacts
    A five year programme leading up to and during the event allows a data baseline.
    However, the most important legacies are likely to emerge over a five to ten year period
    Combining quantitative and qualitative techniques
    Statistics help capture representative data / follow trends over time / benchmarking
    In-depth qualitative research allows locally sensitive value assessments
    Establishing a collaboration across research sectors and nation states
    Universities working alongside data agencies, consultancies and think tanks
    Combining independent academic research + knowledge transfer
    Diversifying funding for research : from commissioners as well as research councils
    The involvement of universities, strengthens the legacy of hosting the ECoC
    Sustain working priorities, beyond election cycles
    Fund multi-specialist teams simultaneously
    Accept time delays to contextualise data
    Negotiate conflicting agendas
    Establish diverse communication channels (internal, public, peer refereed)
  • 31. Points for discussion
    Culture can be a key catalyst for local development and regeneration
    Emerging evidence in Liverpool shows that key drivers result from applying cultural incentives and investment within economic, social, physical as well as cultural/ artistic / creative policy agendas
    A key challenge to culture-led regeneration is the risk to take culture out of context and instrumentalise it for economic or social ends without attending to geographical, temporal and local identity sensibilities
    To maximise its potential and sustainability, we need to keep advancing our understandingof synergies as well as potential conflict between cultural, economic and social imperatives
    This requires more support to assessmenttools that acknowledge the multiple dimensions of regeneration (thematic, qualitative and quantitative methods) and its progression over time (longitudinal research)
  • 32. Thank you
    Beatriz Garcia
    bgarcia@liverpool.ac.uk
    www.impacts08.net