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5th July, 2018

Liverpool leads global cultural conversation


Cultural heavyweights from across the world are heading to Liverpool for a conference which explores the big questions cities face today in their uses of culture and discusses the ten year legacy of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture 2008.

Impacts 18: Cities of Culture 30 Years On: Who Has the Edge? is an international symposium taking place on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 October. It will see world-renowned speakers head to the Town Hall to discuss experiences in cities big and small, from Barcelona to Shanghai, Marseille to London and Porto to Los Angeles. They will debate topics such as what counts as cultural renaissance in the 21st century, what are the risks to success, what are the impacts of local and international partnership working and whether going bigger is always better.

Key speakers include:

Professor Ann Markusen – Leading scholar on urban planning, regional and industrial economics for the University of Minnesota. 

Jon Snow – Renowned TV presenter and former student at the University of Liverpool.

Maria Balshaw CBE – Director of the Tate art museums and galleries.

Lord Michael Heseltine – Politician and businessman who played a key role in the city’s regeneration in the 1980s.

Ulrich Fuchs –Member of the European Capital of Culture selection committee, former artistic director of the European Capital of Culture years for both Marseille-Provence (2013) and Linz (2009).

Jude Kelly CBE – Founder and Director of the Women of the World festival and former Artistic Director of the Southbank

Alice Webb – Director of BBC North and BBC Children’s.

Darren Henley OBE – Chief Executive of Arts Council England and author of a number of books specialising in art. 

Tamara Rojo – Artistic Director for the English National Ballet. 

Martin Green CBE – Chair of Middle Child theatre company’s Board of Directors and former Hull UK City of Culture chief executive and director.  

Professor Michael Parkinson CBE – Adviser to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool. Former director of the European Urban Studies Institute. 

They will be joined by representatives from the city’s arts and cultural sector who played a key role in Liverpool’s bid to become Capital of Culture and the delivery of the acclaimed year itself. 

As part of this unique symposium, Dr Beatriz Garcia, Director of Institute of Cultural Capital will reveal findings of Impacts 18 – a 20-year longitudinal study which charts Liverpool’s journey since bidding for the title of European Capital of Culture 2008. 

Research began with the Impacts 08 programme which spanned 2005-2010 and evaluated the social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of Liverpool holding the cultural accolade. 

Impacts 18 continues this vital research and examines how this experience has evolved a decade on. The research interrogates the legacy of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture across five main themes: 

City image and reputation

Participation and wellbeing

Governance and leadership

Cultural vibrancy

Economy and tourism 

The findings of the report will be unveiled at the conference and is expected to reveal if culture has really made a difference since 2008, what the level of engagement with culture is in the city, how has it changed people’s perceptions of the city and is it really a catalyst for wellbeing? 

A debate will take place around whether having the cultural accolade has made a difference to Liverpool since 2008. From changing media representations and perceptions of the city to being a catalyst for wellbeing; changing levels of cultural engagement across neighbourhoods, to shaping resident’s sense of place; from changing levels of visitor engagement with culture to enhancing governance and cultural leadership. 

To complement the announcement of this internationally significant symposium and research, a brand new legacy website has been launched which looks back at Liverpool’s special culture year and includes key information documenting 2018. To find out more visit 

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