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Thread: Researching the ECOC in Liverpool

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    McCaber McCaber's Avatar
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    Default Researching the ECOC in Liverpool

    I am a Canadian Master's student working out of Aarhus University in Denmark and currently living in Seattle, Washington. I will be in Liverpool as of the 20th of April to collect data about the Capital of Culture experience. Specifically, I am interested in the negotiation around city space and the different definitions of "culture" that drive who has appropriated what space and with what justifications and consequences. I would love to hear your opinions about this. What do you think about the promotion of the Capital of Culture locally and to prospective visitors? How was Liverpool "sold"? What do you think is distinct about the "culture" of Liverpool? What do you think about the regeneration and building projects in the city? Were there controversies? Did you feel like the process was democratic? driven by an elite? What did you think about the events and spectacle throughout the year? Who did you think most benefited? Perhaps the most ideal scenario for me would be to talk about this over a pint when I'm in town. I have never been to Liverpool and look forward to being in the city and talking to locals. Is anyone game?


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    Hi there,

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    Thought I'd do a quick response on my perception of the City's Capital of Culture.

    I personally thought it a fantastic year while it was happening. However, in the couple of years leading up to it I was concerned that local people were being excluded given the type of event that were being talked about.

    Phil Redmond then came onto the board organising the events, and then ordinary things, which everyone could take part in, started to be publicised. I enjoyed many events, including the opening ceremony which was absolutely fantastic (Ringo excluded obviously!). I loved the superlambs and the things that they did for the children, like the Culture Day Party, when hats, balloons etc were provided for all children in schools. Our kids loved it (I work in a school).

    The whole point of the CofC was to improve people's perception of Liverpool, embrace our very mixed cultures, improve our infrastructure etc. I think this was achieved.

    It's my view that the whole year was great................because I thought the powers that be would fail to meet expectations - but they didn't - mine were more than met.

    The legacy of the Culture Year appears to be continuing with more positive publicity for our city, which is great for residents and visitors.

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    Couldn't agree more!

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McCaber View Post
    Specifically, I am interested in the negotiation around city space and the different definitions of "culture" that drive who has appropriated what space and with what justifications and consequences.
    Culture means many things to many people. The working class of Liverpool wanted predominantly working class cultural events (which do not have universal appeal) and the middles class more universal appealing traditional cultural events.

    Some morons thought it was a way of making money and providing employment, not knowing what cultures was of any type.

    I would say about 1/3 of the city took no part in any event at all and never bothered to see any.

    What do you think about the promotion of the Capital of Culture locally and to prospective visitors? How was Liverpool "sold"?
    It was sold about right. Maritime, architecture, music, cosmopolitan influences, etc.

    What do you think is distinct about the "culture" of Liverpool?
    The maritime cosmopolitan mix of the people, which blends into a unqiue blend.

    What do you think about the regeneration and building projects in the city?
    They were already under way, despite. Most were late and the city was still a constructions site, which it still is.

    Were there controversies? Did you feel like the process was democratic? driven by an elite?
    The process had to be driven by an elite. Liverpool became a predominately working class city in culture as the economy collapsed. The middle classes fled. This is changing as people come back.

    What did you think about the events and spectacle throughout the year?
    Very good and many were well thought out and reflected the city's maritime heritage.

    Who did you think most benefited? Perhaps the most ideal scenario for me would be to talk about this over a pint when I'm in town. I have never been to Liverpool and look forward to being in the city and talking to locals. Is anyone game?
    The city as whole benefitted in image. Outside of the city most of the UK thought the city was wasteland of a slum, not ever being there, as the London media portrayed that image. See this:
    home of the skyscraper
    However, this image was not reflected outside of the UK. The city generally does not care too much what the rest of the UK think, and like to look over the seas - as it traditionally did.
    Last edited by Waterways; 04-14-2009 at 10:49 AM.
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    Default Appreciating the feedback

    I am in the process of trying to meet a deadline for a preliminary intro to my paper (due tomorrow) but I had to pause to let all of you know how much I appreciate any and all feedback about this. Links are great too. Thanks! I will respond with more detail after tomorrow when I turn my attention to the actual fieldwork and data collection -I have specific queries about things like the "Paradise Street Development Area" and bylaws that were passed banning skateboarding and fly-posting in certain areas, etc. I will elaborate soon. And again, I would love to talk in person to who-ever is willing when I am in town next week.

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by McCaber View Post
    I am in the process of trying to meet a deadline for a preliminary intro to my paper (due tomorrow) but I had to pause to let all of you know how much I appreciate any and all feedback about this. Links are great too. Thanks! I will respond with more detail after tomorrow when I turn my attention to the actual fieldwork and data collection -I have specific queries about things like the "Paradise Street Development Area" and bylaws that were passed banning skateboarding and fly-posting in certain areas, etc. I will elaborate soon. And again, I would love to talk in person to who-ever is willing when I am in town next week.

    Cheers!

    There are indeed many bye laws around this city banning skateboarding etc, which is ironic when the city then hold the Hub Festival as some kind of beacon promoting skateboarding and graffiti etc. The one weekend a year when you won't get arrested for it.

    An interesting aside though. On the weekend I sat in the new Chavasse park, basking in the sun and revelling in the success of Liverpool One and the hundreds that chilled out alongside me in the park.

    A group of lads had come into town and bought a bike at Sports Direct. They then sat off in the park to relax. Clearly the strategy of Grosvenor had succeeded, providing a pleasant atmosphere to relax and shop. However, the guys then decided to build their bike and test it out, going round in small circles. They were quickly accosted by security and told to stop or leave.

    The irony of this cannot be ignored.


    As to your original enquiry though, the overall purpose was for me about image. Changing the image of Liverpool to outsiders, but also to its own people. The events were used as a magnet to focus attention on the city at a time when much physical regeneration was going on, bringing people into the city that may have avoided it otherwise. I certainly found that all visitors were pleasantly surprised by what they found. All in all, I'd say it was a definite success. I participated in over 20 of the events, many of which were harder to avoid than participate in. Try asking waterfront residents how many times they couldnt leave their homes because the Strand was closed off for starters.

    The downside of the physical regeneration is that it has now drawn more focus on the grottier areas that would soon have followed suit, had the recession not kicked in. Some projects have been delayed or shelved altogether, so areas such as Lime st, Clayton Square and St John's are going to present a hell of a contrast to visitors and locals alike.

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