How Can the European Capitals of Culture Cities Balance the ‘United in Diversity’ Concept?
Dr Nicole Basaraba (2022)
Policy Brief No. 1/2022
This policy brief is based on a research study carried out in 2021 on the conceptualisation and expression of cultural diversity and unity within the European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) initiative using a case study approach. Previous case studies have commonly examined the impacts of the ECOC programmes from a single-city perspective and used quantitative and economic-focused approaches. Since the ECOC was intended to showcase the diverse cultures in Europe, a cultural discourse analysis was applied to eight winning cities between 2015 and 2019, proceeding the onset of COVID-19, to examine which aspects of culture ECOCs are expressing about their diversity and individual identities versus how they are communicating a ‘European dimension’. The results showed that the formalisation of the bidding process and evaluation can limit the ability of ECOCs to engage in more diverse and localised forms of cultural expression and a series of five recommendations, based on this analysis, are included in this policy brief for consideration in future programme development actions.
European Capitals of Culture, cultural expression, discourse analysis, cultural programmes, citizen participation, cultural tourism, cultural heritage