A heritage-inspired cultural mega-event in a stigmatized city: Hull UK City of Culture 2017

Enrico Tommarchi, Franco Bianchini

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    While the impacts of cultural mega-events on a city’s projected image have been extensively explored, less attention has been devoted to their role in relation to territorial stigmatization. These events have, in some cases, engaged with issues of stigmatization, as happened in Glasgow (European City of Culture 1990) and Derry-Londonderry (UK City of Culture 2013). This paper explores how built heritage is mobilized through a cultural mega-event in relation to stigma, through a case study of the city of Hull, in Northern England. Despite being among the country’s main ports until the 1930s, Hull suffered from steady structural socio-economic decline, in particular due to the demise of its fishing industry from the 1970s onwards. Hull UK City of Culture 2017 was understood as an opportunity to counter negative external perceptions. Heritage was mobilized to tell the story of the city, engage residents and visitors in cultural activities and boost civic pride. Events in 2017 and beyond promoted heritage learning in innovative ways, also through the spectacularisation of heritage spaces. However, the official evaluation of Hull 2017 shows how positive immediate results were later scaled down, suggesting that these events are not sufficient on their own to counter stigmatization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)478-498
    Number of pages21
    JournalEuropean Planning Studies
    Issue number3
    Early online date3 Aug 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Built heritage
    • cultural mega-events
    • stigmatized cities
    • UK City of Culture

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development


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