What is “European Capital of Culture”?
European Capital of Culture is an initiative designed to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, celebrate the cultural features Europeans share, increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area, foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities. In addition to this, experience has shown that the event is an excellent opportunity for regenerating cities, raising the international profile of cities, enhancing the image of cities in the eyes of their own inhabitants, breathing new life into a city’s culture and boosting tourism.
Who started the ECoC project?
In 1985, former actress Melina Mercouri, then Greece’s Minister of Culture, and her French counterpart Jack Lang came up with the idea and managed to convince the European Parliament that culture can serve as a catalyst for the cultural development and the transformation of the city. In 1985, Athens became the first city to hold this title.
What are the goals of the ECoC project?
Primary goal of the project is to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, celebrate the cultural features Europeans share, increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area. The ECoC project is a valuable opportunity to revitalise the cultural life of the city, raise its international profile, enhance its image, to breathe new life into city’s culture and to boost tourism.
How does it work?
Since 2011 two cities hold the title of the European Capital of Culture every year in two different EU countries. Process of the ECoC selection usually lasts six years and through two selection rounds.
How will the Croatian city to hold the title be chosen?
Ministry of culture of the Republic of Croatia in June 2014 announced a call for submission of applications after which Croatian cities had 10 months to prepare their bids. Pre-selection report, the decision on which cities enter the second and final round of the application process, was published in June 2015. The final decision is expected to be announced in the first half of 2016. All of the candidate cities are evaluated based on given criteria by an independent panel of cultural experts.
What are the basic criteria?
Candidate cities are evaluated based on following criteria:
- long-term strategy: cultural management plan; sustainability of cultural activities following the title year; strengthening of long-term connections between sectors; evaluation plan and monitoring the project impact;
- capacity to deliver: political support; sustainable infrastructure
- cultural and artistic content: clear and consistent artistic vision of the cultural programme; inclusion of local artists and organisations; scope and diversity of activities; ability to combine local cultural heritage and traditional art forms with new, innovative and experimental cultural expressions;
- European dimension: promotion of Europe’s cultural diversity; common aspects of European cultures, heritage and history; cooperation with cities in other countries, transnational partnerships; strategy to attract wider European audience;
- reach: inclusion of the local population and non-governmental organisations, especially the young, marginalised, discriminated and minorities; special attention is given to accessibility of activities to disabled persons and the elderly; strategy of audience development, especially connection with education and the inclusion of schools;
- management: feasibility of the proposed budget; proposed management structure and the executive body; process of appointment of the artistic director; clear communication strategy that will emphasize this European Union initiative;
Why bid for the European Capital of Culture?
Candidacy and the bidding process are an ideal opportunity to rejuvenate the city, change its image, strengthen the cooperation between sectors, improve the life standard and professionalize the cultural sector.