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European City of Culture 2009 | Gloobbi
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ARTICLE


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European City of Culture 2009

European City of Culture 2009

The European City of Culture initiative is the legacy of the late Melina Mercouri, the former Greek Minister for Culture. Since its birth in 1985 when the inaugural city of culture, Athens, enjoyed the title, what have been the benefits for the cities involved? From Florence to Paris and Amsterdam to Stockholm, who have been the real winners and what is the real value in the process?

Well, the first obvious factor is that cities now get the whole Branding thing, pooling all of their cultural USP’s into one basket and then marketing themselves to the rest of Europe; this is essential to not only to get the title but to maximise their cities’ potential. Of course that was easier for Paris than maybe it will be for Essen in Germany in 2010. But for Essen it is a chance to operate on a stage that cities like Paris have operated on for centuries.

Global travellers seeking out new cultural experiences have ‘done’ London, Paris, Berlin and Rome. The European City of Culture award can only help cities that are full of history, cultural innovation and commercial potential to connect with a new generation of potential admirers.

There have been 36 cities of culture so far, including the 9 chosen for the millennium year, so analysing all of their performances is impossible in this space. Here we’ll look at one, Liverpool the holder of the title in 2008 and see exactly how the former second city of the British Empire, the birthplace of the Beatles and home of one of the most famous football clubs in the world, really benefitted.

The appointment of Phil Redmond as Creative Director was a stroke of genius, a man of the people as both a writer and a high profile Scouser. The UK government has wisely asked him to front the plans for a new British City of Culture award, planned for every four years, bringing with it the honour of hosting such globally significant events like the Man Booker Prize for Literature, the Turner Prize for Art and the Sterling Prize for architecture. He obviously did a good job with Liverpool and created a template for success.

Liverpool has done wonders with the dockside. The regenerated dockside is a world class focus for the arts and business, creating a foundation for the new cultural identity that the city needed to help to reinvent itself in the new millennium. Of course the Beatles, the football pedigree and its maritime and commercial past need to be celebrated but they alone could not be relied upon to appeal to a new geenration of visitors and investors; Liverpool has moved its’ brand forward into a new era.

The Tate Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum have been highlighted to make Liverpool a genuine cultural destination for global travellers who are too young to remember when Paul McCartney and John Lennon made it big. The full benefits will pan out in years to come in terms of tourism and commercial development but what Liverpool has done is realise how much it has to offer, that the energy and creativity of its people can be harnessed for a common good and that it is possible to reinvent a city brand without forgetting its glorious past.

Good luck to Vilnius and Linz in 2009.

__________

by Paul Goring, Paul has just returned to UK from a 2 year assignment in Paris, his business Consortio, www.consortio-recruitment.com, is a brand and recruitment consultancy, he is also a writer and published poet.



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