The Culture and Education District, London

The Institute of Cultural Capital conducted this scoping study for the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2017.

The study assessed the value of the emerging Culture and Education District (CED, rebranded as East Bank since 2018) in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This is a case study of a ‘creative clustering’ in the making.

The study involved ten months of expert observation and analysis by a multidisciplinary research team led by Dr Beatriz Garcia, with Dr Michael Atkins as lead research support and Stephen Crone as report editing assistant.

In conducting this research, the Institute of Cultural Capital & the University of Liverpool (Image and Governance strand) worked in collaboration with the What Works Research Centre & the London School of Economics (Economic strand), City University (Creative strand) and Loughbourough University (Social strand).

Find below access to the main reports produced as part of this research.

Areas of assessment: Potential impact areas

Background material

European Capitals of Culture Legacies

Final Project Publication

European Capitals of Culture: Success Strategies and Long-Term Effects


The European City/Capital of Culture Programme was launched in 1985  and the ECoC title has been awarded to nearly 60 cities in 30 countries.  The Programme has become a key platform for city positioning and a catalyst for economic and cultural regeneration. Immediate cultural,  social and economic impacts are common and the capacity to secure  long-term effects, though harder to evidence, has grown in key areas  such as urban image change and tourism development.

The latter is  evidence of the stronger commitment towards sustainable legacy  planning and ever more defined and locally sensitive vision statements.  This report documents common approaches and success strategies,  highlights the strongest claims of long-term effect and analyses recurrent challenges that limit the Programme’s ability to reach its full  potential.

Key recommendations are the establishment of a standardised  evaluation framework, greater emphasis on comparative research and  the creation of a formal knowledge transfer programme so that future  hosts can better benefit from the wealth of experience developed in the  last three decades.

Study Background

This study, conducted over a period of seven months in 2013, is a response to the  European Parliament 2012 call for a comprehensive assessment of the long-term effects of  hosting the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) Programme, and the potential organisational and policy implications of these findings.

Research questions

The main aim of the study is to examine and interrogate the wealth of published material produced about respective ECoC host cities, in order to: identify the most common  strategies for success; collate and review evidence of impacts and long-term effects from a cultural, economic, social and policy point of view; and understand the main recurrent  challenges.

The study addresses six main research questions:

  1. How did the “European Capital of Culture” initiative come into being, what changes has it undergone, and what are its constitutive elements?
  2. What trends and common patterns, if any, can be discerned with regard to successful applicant cities since 1985?
  3. What different strategies and concepts have been developed and used to make the ECoC a success for the individual cities both in the short and long term?
  4. What are the discernible long-term effects connected with ECoC status in terms of cultural, economic, social, and political aspects?
  5. What are the main obstacles ECoC hosts faced in the past, and what similarities and differences can be identified?
  6. What recommendations can be given to exploit the potential of the ECoC initiative more efficiently and tackle challenges more effectively, both at the level of programming and organisation?

In addition, the study reflects on a series of more specific questions which point at two of  the most pervasive challenges for ECoC hosts since the inception of the Programme in  1985: the Programme’s capacity to develop a meaningful European Dimension; and the  capacity for hosts to extract lessons from previous experience and maximise knowledge  transfer.

The Study has considered evidence available for the three first decades of the ECoC  Programme, as articulated by published material on 48 host cities between 1985 and 2013,  and the proposals of 10 upcoming hosts between 2014 and 2019. This has been complemented by selected expert reflections across the Programme.

Access full report here

Access summary powerpoint presentation  here

Access appendices here

Building bridges between Olympic cities and the Olympic Movement

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We have been awarded one of only six Advanced Olympic Research Grants by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for a research project titled ‘The value of global cultural policy-making: Building bridges between Olympic cities and the Olympic Movement through transnational cultural narratives’.

The project will document the testing and implementation of the first IOC Cultural Action Plan during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and its development in the lead up to Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020.

Dr Garcia has been accredited by the IOC in my capacity as academic observer and international cultural policy expert with 17 years experience documenting the Olympic Games. During her time in Rio, she will contribute to shaping the first dedicated Olympic cultural observers programme and will offer recommendations for its handover to Pyeongchang, host of the 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo, host of the 2020 Summer Games.

The research aims to answer the following questions:

  • In which ways can a global IOC Cultural Action Plan contribute to the Olympic Games cultural narrative?
  • In which ways does this Action Plan portray the International Olympic Committee’s contemporary cultural vision?
  • What can the Olympic Games enable culturally that is not possible through other types of cultural policy interventions?

This will be achieved by meeting the following objectives: 

  • To assess the impact of the new IOC Cultural Action plan on the cultural narrative of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
  • To assess the capacity for the IOC Action Plan (as projected in Rio and promoted through IOC Culture & Heritage Foundation activities) to inform the cultural strategy and evolving narrative of the Pyongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  • To assess the effect of a unifying Olympic cultural framework and Games-time cultural narrative on public perceptions of the IOC as a transnational cultural actor.

Glasgow 1990 | 10 year legacies

Cities and Culture Project: Understanding the Long-term Legacies of Glasgow 1990, European City of Culture

From January 2002 to December 2005, Dr Beatriz Garcia was the principal investigator of a research project on Cities and Culture, using Glasgow 1990 European City of Culture as a case study. The research was conducted at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research, University of Glasgow, with support from Matthew Reason (research assistant), Nicola Sneddon (CCPR Information and Resources Administrator), Adrienne Scullion (CCPR Academic Director) and Christine Hamilton (CCPR Director).

The main premise for the Cities and Culture project was a recognition of the predominance of the city as a cultural centre and the trend (emerging throughout the 1990s and fully established by 2004) to place the arts and culture at the heart of urban development. In particular, the project was set to explore the nature and effects of emerging bridges between areas such as urban regeneration, place marketing, city tourism and cultural policy.

The academic dedication to exploring these bridges was not exclusive to the CCPR. However, up to 2002, much of the existing research focused on studying their economic dimensions and short-term effects, while overlooking the analysis of potential long-term cultural and social legacies. The Cities and Culture project was designed precisely to address this caveat: a key focus of the research was the sustainability of cultural investment in cities.

The project was designed to co-ordinate a variety of academic disciplines and test new research methodologies. As such, it incorporated approaches to research drawn from social sciences and the humanities, in particular, urban, leisure, cultural and communication studies, politics and arts history.

More information about this project and its outcomes is available in the Publications section. You can access a more detailed Research Description (2004) below, or can search for relevant blog entries within this site.

Open publication – Free publishingMore glasgow1990