European Cultural Capital Report
By Greg Richards, Diane Dodd and Robert Palmer, Volume 4, ATLAS, Arnhem, 2012, 118 pp.
The European Cities of Culture (ECOC) remains one of the most desirable prizes for cities across Europe. As more and more cities are involved in competing for the ECOC title, there is also a growing need for information about and evaluation of the event and the host cities. In its fourth edition, The European Cultural Capital Report aims to update the wealth of information contained in the original Palmer Report (2004) produced for the European Commission. The report provides an independent analysis of the ECOC, covering the many different cultural, economic, organisational, political and social aspects of the event; identifying trends, best practice and essential information for those organising, implementing and evaluating the ECOC.
Besides news, trends and development, by cross-referencing a number of ECOCs, the report highlights critical success factors such as volunteer schemes, entrepreneurship and education strategies, branding of national airlines and new funding models (such as crowdfunding initiatives). The report also looks at the growing need for more transparency (noting problems encountered in Poland and Spain following the selection process) and the future of the ECOCs – 2020 and beyond. It reviews the current European Commission proposals on the future of the ECOC programme and assesses what implications these might have for future ECOC cities. Media attention for ECOC cities as tourist destinations is highlighted within a wider review of tourism impacts in different cities.
The report discusses ECOC legacies, evaluation reports and the longer-term view of ECOC effects, as discussed at the conference The Decade After, held in Bruges in May 2012. The ECOC focuses on Tallinn 2011 as it provides an excellent case study of the challenges for low-budget ECOCs. With the economic crisis, Tallinn's emphasis on developing strong grass-roots support will be interesting for other cities working with low budgets and is a useful example of the kinds of initiatives that can be developed with the involvement of local citizens.
The report lists cultural capitals from around the world from now until 2033, and also reports on the new World Capital of Culture initiative. The bibliography lists more than 100 publications since the previous report.
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