Cart 0

Cities of Culture, 30 years on.
Who has the edge?

18-19 October 2018 | Liverpool

In October 2018, the Institute of Cultural Capital partnered with Culture Liverpool, CreArt and the British Council for a 2-day international symposium dedicated to discussing the long term impact of hosting major events and the value of culture as a catalyst for change.

Conversations featuring cities from the UK, Europe and beyond, discussed the rewards that can be reaped by event-led regeneration, but also the barriers to, and risks of, success — in particular, what it takes for cities to maintain a distinctive and competitive edge, in an era where becoming a ‘city of culture’ is a common aspiration.


Beatriz White wall B&W.jpeg

Dr Beatriz Garcia

Session 1 | Impacts 18

Director, Institute of Cultural Capital
Member, European Capital of Culture Selection Panel
Member, International Olympic Committee Culture & Heritage Commission

Dr Garcia has been at the forefront of research on the rhetoric and impact of culture-led city regeneration interventions since 1999. Major projects include a review of all evidence on 33 years of the European Capital of Culture programme (1985-2018); the pioneering Impacts 08/ Impacts 18 programme on Liverpool 2018; and the first nation-wide legacy assessment of a Cultural Olympiad, focusing on the London 2012 Olympic Games. 


Jude Kelly CBE - credit Kalpesh Lathigra.jpg

Jude Kelly CBE

Session 3 | The Risks of Success

Former Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London

Founder and CEO of WOW - Women of the World Foundation

Born and raised in Liverpool, in 1997, Kelly was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre and in 2015 she was made a CBE for services to the Arts. Her work has been recognized with several awards and her recent TED talk has over 1.4 million views in 2018.

She has founded a range of arts institutions including the international artists space METAL, with bases in Liverpool, Peterborough and Southend on Sea.


Prof Ann Markusen

Session 4 | Bigger is not always Better

Professor Emerita and Director of Arts Economy Initiative - University of Minnesota
Principal of Markusen Economic Research

Markusen is currently researching occupational approaches to regional development, as well as artists, arts organisations, cultural industries, and cultural activity as regional economic and quality-of-life stimulants. She has worked in cities as diverse as Berkeley, Seoul, Glasgow and Kyoto.

Ulrich FUCHS.jpg

Ulrich Fuchs

Session 6 | Cities on the Edge

Cultural Manager
Member, European Capital of Culture Selection & Monitoring Panel

Fuchs has been a member of the European Capitals of Culture Selection and Monitoring Panel since 2014. He was the Vice-Director of the European Capital of Cultural Marseille from 2010 to 2014. Marseille, reputed as a stronghold of violence, drug dealing and gang warfare, became Capital of Culture in 2013 and has since used a strong cultural programme to drive development in the city. He was Deputy Managing Director and Programme Director of Linz European Capital of Culture 2009, and was Project Manager of the team preparing Bremen’s application to be European Capital of Culture 2010.

Maria Balshaw.JPG

Maria Balshaw CBE

Session 7 | Connected Cities

Director of Tate
Accounting Officer - Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Balshaw has overall responsibility for Tate’s strategic direction and day-to-day operations, working with a talented group of colleagues to further Tate’s mission to promote the public understanding and enjoyment of British art, and of twentieth-century and contemporary art. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the arts in June 2015.


In Conversation

Mayoral Addresses

Panel Chairs



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




19th Oct

      Various Venues


Morning Plenary Programme

7.30am-11.30am | Titanic Hotel


Northern Cities

Session 5 | 8.30am-10am

(Breakfast Provided from 7.30 am)

What is the future for culture-led regeneration? Ways forward in European Northern cities


Breakfast Address|Joe Anderson OBE

Roundtable chaired by Alice Webb


  • Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool

  • Carol Bell, NewcastleGateshead Initiative

  • Pat Power, Harcourt Developments

  • Cesare Torre, Genoa City Council


Cities on the Edge

Session 6 | 10am-11.30am  

What we can learn from the margins? The experience of port cities, small cities, remote cities of Europe.

Keynote | Ulrich Fuchs

Roundtable chaired by Sir Bob Scott


  • Ulrich Fuchs, Former Artistic Director - Linz 2009 and Marseille-Provence 2013| European Capitals of Culture

  • Cristina Farinha, Cultural Consultant, Porto

  • Prof Franco Bianchni, University of Hull and consultant to Matera

  • Dr Daiva Citvarienė, Kaunas 2022 European Capital of Culture


Liverpool Regeneration
Coach Tour

11.30am-12.30pm | Liverpool waterfront

Impacts 18 themed discussions while touring 30-years of culture-led physical transformation
from the Royal Albert Dock to the Baltic Triangle and the new, emerging Ten Streets district.


Afternoon Plenary Programme


2pm-6pm | Liverpool Town Hall


Connected Cities

Session 7 | 2pm-3.30pm

Closer or further apart? European cultural networking post-Brexit



Keynotes | Maria Balshaw CBE

Roundtable chaired by

Prof Michael Parkinson CBE


  • Maria Balshaw CBE, Tate

  • Alan Bishop, Creative Industries Federation

  • Tamara Rojo CBE, English National Ballet

  • Kathy McArdle, British Council


Cities of Culture the next 30 years

Session 8 |5.15pm-6pm



Concluding Address | Steve Rotheram

Claire McColgan MBE

Key lessons & reflections | Dr Beatriz Garcia


Parallel Workshops

We also hosted two parallel research sessions to discuss the impact and long-term legacy of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture through distinct thematic lenses.

Each session builds on Impacts 18 evidence as gathered through dedicated research projects covering the period 2000-2008 and 2008-2018.

A third session was hosted by the CreArt Network and focused on discussion around European cultural networking.