Will we have more cities of culture?
As we wrote a year ago, Liverpool was one of two European cities of culture in 2008. the Liverpool Culture Company has just presented it’s report on the effects of the year and reckons that it generated about £800 million for the city and encouraged 3.5million first time visitors.
To me this seems a tremendous achievement and, it seems the Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, thinks so too since he has asked officials to look at the possibility of having a British city of culture every four years. The idea is to stimulate cultural awareness (and tourism although this word hasn’t been used) and rotating some of the awards like the Turner Prize away from London to whichever city is chosen. Part of this stems from the belief that London hogs the limelight.
I’m all in favour of spreading domestic tourism and giving people a chance to take advantage of exhibitions and attractions in their area (I still have the image of that huge mechanical spider wandering around Liverpool) but I think it may still not be that effective.
Not that anyone takes any notice of me but might I suggest that it happens every year since we are such a large country in terms of population and that there be two places chosen; one for large cities and one for smaller areas otherwise the big places will reap all the benefits just as the minister is claiming London does at the moment.