Why Brexit should not stop UK cities from competing for European Capital of Culture..

Post-Brexit, UK and its cities are losing out to hosting European  institutions and values. Just recently, European Banking Authority exited from London.

Now, UK cities are barred from bidding  for European Capital of Culture. Wow, what a title. Only in Europe can we consider giving cities such titles and asking for bids for the same.

Beatrice Garcia has a piece  appealing not to bar the UK cities:

The news that UK cities are now barred from bidding to be European Capital of Culture 2023 has taken the nation by storm. The ruling by the European Commission, which cited Brexit as its main reason, came just days before five UK candidates – Belfast, Dundee, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Nottingham – were due to present their bids to the selection panel. The timing is unfortunate, and responses of outrage and disappointmentfrom the bidding cities – and the British public at large – were only to be expected.

I am one of the experts appointed to the selection panel – and an academic expert on the long-term legacy of holding the title of European Capital of Culture (ECOC). I have been documenting the experience of ECOC cities since 2002, starting with the ten-year legacy of Glasgow 1990, and then moving on to Liverpool 2008, a city whose ECOC journey I have researched from 2003 into its 10-year anniversary next year.

The fallout from the European Commission’s decision shows how dangerous it is to think of Brexit as a purely legal exercise. Relatively small initiatives (in EU funding terms) such as the ECOC nonetheless have huge symbolic value. Their impact has been felt not just by the cities hosting it, but by the many others inspired by the capacity for change that a year-long celebration of culture – and cultural exchange – can bring.

It is true that, in a globalised world – and with pressure to pursue local regeneration agendas, first and foremost – exploring the European dimension of the initiative has often been challenging. But the incentive to consider what it means to be European, and to reflect this through creative programming, has pushed host cities to explore links and histories which they might otherwise have forgotten. For instance, the Cities on the Edge programme – which came directly out of Liverpool’s City of Culture status in 2008 – linked the port cities of Liverpool, Marseille, Istanbul, Gdansk, Bremen and Napoli in previously unexplored ways.

What’s more, there is increasing support to advance European collaborations, exchange and working together with the other ECOC hosts which, after 30 years, have formed a strong and mutually supportive network. In 2008, Liverpool and Stavanger explored partnership options for the first time, and opened routes for ongoing collaboration in their approach to citizen volunteering, which continues to this day.

Now it is time to look beyond the political posturing and finger-pointing by both UK and EU politicians and consider how to ensure that the hard work already done by the five bidding cities takes them, and the rest of the country, in a fruitful direction.

Easier said than done. Lots of politics is at stake…

2 Responses to “Why Brexit should not stop UK cities from competing for European Capital of Culture..”

  1. Why Brexit should not stop UK cities from competing for European Capital of Culture.. | Me Stock Broker Says:

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  2. Why Brexit should not stop UK cities from competing for European Capital of Culture.. – Courtier en Bourse Says:

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