Liverpool, Capital Of Culture 2008? Or Of Chaos 2006?
Liverpool as a city is claiming much for the forthcoming celebratory years of 2007 and 2008, but concerns exist on many fronts about the present. There is more to serious development of cultural involvement than simply ‘community programmes’, admirable though that is. So what sorts of models of citizen and ‘stakeholder’ integration are being developed, building on the experience of other cities which have managed to engage people at all levels? And will these work?
Oh dear. We don’t seem to have got off to a very good start in Liverpool this year.
The end of 2005 saw the demise of several large-scale Liverpool projects, such as the trams project, and before that, in 2004, the embarrassment of the so-called ‘Fourth Grace’ (possibly a vainglorious misnomer? nobody I know thought there were even three ‘Graces’ until someone made that name up, not long ago). And in the Summer we had the debacle of the Mersey River Festival, only now being reported…
Then, to round off 2005, there was the extraordinary fuss over the shifts at the top of our political and administrative power base.
Capital of Culture 2008 now under scrutiny
And now questions are being asked about our preparations for Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008. These have been becoming more urgent over the past few weeks – there were concerns expressed when Liam Fogarty decided to raise the issue of an elected mayor once more – but since the New Year the story hasn’t really been off the front page.
Well, that there are questions is unsurprising, both for particular reasons and because there is always a period before these huge events, as far as I can see, when Questions Are Asked. What is more worrying, however, is the difficulty some actual citizens and ‘stakeholders’ have experienced in learning what’s happening and / or in getting answers.
Who takes day-to-day responsibilty for ‘stakeholders’?
I leave it to others to pursue the specifics of this alarming situation; my own concerns are quite complex, though I do have to say it would be helpful if they were being addressed at the practical day-to-day level… one problem seems to be identifying anyone who can take on issues of normal operational accountability. But there you go.
For me, and I suspect numbers of others, the real issue is, where do we go from here? As a long-time resident of Liverpool with strong roots in the city I know it’s really important that we make a big success of 2007 and 2008, the 800th anniversary of our City Charter, and then our European Capital of Culture Year.
What some people haven’t the foggiest inkling about, however, even after serious attempts to find out, is how they can bring their ideas to bear to help this to happen. And that perhaps has occured also in other European Capital of Culture locations, which begs a question about what models of social and artistic inclusion work best, and where.
Posted on January 6, 2006, in Arts, Culture And Heritage, Equality, Diversity And Inclusion, Events And Notable Dates, Liverpool And Merseyside, Politics, Policies And Process. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.