The CC:RO has documented the experience of European Capital of Culture (ECoC) hosts since the initiative’s launch in 1985. Research frameworks have been devised and data has been gathered from 60 host cities in 30 European countries between 1985 and the present. This work has taken place within the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (University of Glasgow), the Impacts 08 research team at the University of Liverpool, the Institute of Cultural Capital at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, and in collaboration with researchers and research units across European universities. The research has been funded by UK Research Council grants (Arts and Humanities Research Council, Economic and Social Resarch Council), as well as the support of the European Parliament and the Creative Europe Programme by the European Commission.

Find below an overview of the main European Capital of Culture projects the Observatory stores:

  • European Capitals of Culture: Success Strategies and Long-Term Effects (2013) This study, funded by the European Parliament, assesses the long-term effects of hosting the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) programme since its inception in 1985, and discusses the organisational and policy implications of these findings. Over 60 cities in 30 European countries were surveyed by a team based at the Institute of Cultural Capital in collaboration with international colleagues.
  • Impacts 08 – European Capital of Culture Research Programme (2005-2010). Longitudinal research programme into the cultural, social, economic and environmental impacts of Liverpool’s becoming 2008 European Capital of Culture. The programme was commissioned by Liverpool City Council and was jointly developed by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. It is the most extensive research programme ever conducted on an ECoC and its final report is a key referent accross Europe. [Final Report]  [Programme website]
  • European Capitals of Culture Policy Group (2009-2010). International network of researchers and programmers of the European Capital of Culture initiative working on a common framework for ECoC assessment and delivery. The network was funded by the Creative Europe programme and led to a series of workshops, led by Liverpool and the Impacts 08 research programme, with the collaboration of teams from Stavanger, Marseille, Turku, the Rhur and Kosice. [Network blog] [Final report]
  • Cultural Sustainability? Liverpool in 2008 – (2007-2010) AHRC and ESRC Impact Fellowship to study the cultural policy implications of hosting the 2008 European Capital of Culture in Liverpool. This research, conducted within the University of Liverpool in partnership with the Impacts 08 team, evidences the symbolic impact of the ECoC on people’s sense of place.
  • Understanding the Long-term Legacies of Glasgow 1990, European City of Culture (2002- 2005) Research conducted within the Centre for Cultural Policy Research  at the University of Glasgow. This four-year research programme assessed the long term cultural impacts and legacies of hosting the title. It established innovative methodologies for narrative analysis to capture Glasgow’s image renaissance post 1990, and it was the first study to follow up the City Image and Cultural Governance impacts of a European Capital of Culture, ten years on.
  • Impacts 18 – European Capital of Culture Legacies, 10 years on (2016-2019) Conducted within the Institute of Cultural Capital, this project captures the long-term effects of hosting an ECoC in Liverpool, a decade after 2008. The programme revisits all thematic impact clusters assessed by its predecessor programme, Impacts 08City image; Cultural participation; Cultural vibrancy, Economic development and Cultural governance This is the first time a city fully replicates a multiple impact study to document legacies more than a decade onwards.

Report citation and project access:

Garcia, B. , Cox, T. (2013) European Capitals of Culture: Success Strategies and Long-Term Effects  Brussels: European Parliament

Report citation and project access:

Garcia, B., Melville, R. and Cox, T. (2010) Creating an Impact – Liverpool’s experience as European Capital of Culture. Liverpool: University of Liverpool


Report citation and project access:

Garcia et al (2010) An International Framework of Good Practice in research and delivery of the European Capital of Culture Programme. Brussels: European Commission

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