18th Oct

Liverpool Town Hall

Plenary Programme


Impacts 18

legacies of Liverpool as european capital of culture, 10 years on

Session 1| 9am to 11am

What are the long-term term legacies of a European Capital of Culture? 

This session shared core findings from the Impacts 18 longitudinal research programme, interrogating Liverpool’s experience from 2000 to 2008 and 2018.

Panellists responded to the research findings and discussed the legacy of the European Capital of Culture Programme for the UK, debating the way this has set the scene for the UK City of Culture programme and projecting future legacies post-Brexit.


Keynote | Dr Beatriz Garcia

Roundtable chaired by Andrea Nixon


  • Chenine Bhathena, Coventry City of Culture

  • Martin Green CBE, Hull Culture Company

  • Steve Green, European Capitals of Culture (ECOC)

  • Claire McColgan MBE, Culture Liverpool



30 years of cultural renaissance

The Liverpool story: 1988-2018

Session 2 |11am to 12pm

30 years on, what do we mean by cultural renaissance cities? Do we still need a ‘rags-to-riches’ narrative to appreciate cities of culture?

Since the 1980s, post-industrial and port cities have experimented with culture and the arts as catalysts for urban renewal. Liverpool was both an early European pioneer and a late-comer in the 'cultural regeneration game'. 

In this session, leading figures in Liverpool's physical and symbolic renaissance revisited what it takes to rebuild a city and discuss the role played by culture.

They debated Liverpool's capacity as well as challenges for cultural leadership, resilience and sustainability over 3 decades. What happened then? What is next?


In conversation |

Lord Michael Heseltine and
Phil Redmond, CBE

Chaired by Paula Ridley


The Risks of Success

Session 3 |1pm to 2.30pm

What happens to cities when they become the ‘model’ to follow? Can cities enable creativity if they become ‘too good to fail’?

This session debated the risks faced by cities that have peaked in their cultural regeneration journey. The session discussed the challenges posed by increasingly standardised or formulaic approaches to cultural programming and cultural event hosting.   


Keynote | Jude Kelly CBE

Roundtable chaired by Jon Snow

A conversation between European cities that have become 'model' cities of culture.


  • Jude Kelly CBE, Women of the World

  • Shona McCarthy, Edinburgh Fringe

  • Fiona Gasper, Manchester International Festival



Bigger is not always Better

Session 4 | 3pm to 4.30pm

Can world cities slow down? Can mega-events be culturally sustainable? From mega to micro events in world cities.

In this session we opened up a conversation with global and mega-event cities like London, Los Angeles or Shanghai. After experiencing major events such as the Olympic Games or World Expo, is there a need to explore the value of scaled down initiatives?  Panellists shared their views on the capacity to balance mega-and micro event formats: from the new Boroughs of Culture in London to small city twinnings, such as Shanghai-Liverpool collaborations.

Keynote | Prof Ann Markusen

Roundtable chaired by Darren Henley OBE


  • Prof Ann Markusen, University of Minnesota

  • Laia Gasch, Mayor of London Office

  • Prof Jiang Jiehong, Birmingham City University