Cities of Culture (EU)

2010 saw the celebration of 25 years of European Capital of Culture (ECOC). Over the years, the potential offered by this title has become increasingly recognised and debated because cities compete with each other for investment, attraction and brain retention, as well as for tourists. More recently, however, there is a renewed emphasis on the ECOC to generate a programme of change within cities and for this transformation to be real and sustainable. In recent years Noema has helped cities such as Sibiu, Cork, Liverpool, Turku, Ostrava and Marseille to develop integrated, sustainable and well-balanced Capital of Culture programmes. Our thinking is based on the notion that, in order to be successful, each place needs to discover its distinctive resources (tangible and intangible) and then apply creative thinking to finding ways of maximising such resources for the benefit of the city. In the first instance, this should be for its inhabitants, and only afterwards for visitors and investors.

More recently, in the UK, Lia Ghilardi and Franco Bianchini worked with Norwich to develop a resource-based cultural planning process to help its bid to become UK City of Culture 2013. Although the city of Derry eventually won the title, work with Norwich is continuing in the form of mentoring of those stakeholders involved in preparing a new cultural strategy for the city.

In Kent, similar work was undertaken with Kent County Council during their annual Cultural Summit.