Liverpool '08 – brand and contestation

Little, Stephen (2008). Liverpool '08 – brand and contestation. In: Malikova, L. and Sirak, M. eds. Regional and Urban Regeneration in European Peripheries: What Role for Culture? Bratislava: Institute of Public Policy, pp. 44–50.


This chapter examines the process of re-branding a major community - the City of Liverpool - through its role as European Capital of Culture, 2008. This year-long 'landmark event' was promoted as a means of attracting investment and tourist income. The paper assesses the implications of the Capital of Culture through its impact on one particular creative resource within that city – the Picket music venue.

The success of the bid in June 2003 created changes which impacted on some of the key creative activities within the city, threatening the legitimacy of the Capital of Culture project itself. Rapidly rising property values began to deny affordable space for the very activities which underpinned the success of the bid. The author was a participant in the subsequent three year campaign to protect the Picket venue as a resource for the training of young musicians in both artistic and technical aspects of music.

The paper looks at the contestation over Liverpool and Merseyside's highly local identity and global profile and the tension and synergy between traditional collectivity and individual entrepreneurialism characterised by the forms of social enterprise currently emerging in this creative milieu. It identifies some of the collective resources held by the Liverpool community from which were drawn key tactics in the fight to retain a significant cultural resource within the Capital of Culture

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