Problematising the question of participation in Capitals of Culture

Enrico Tommarchi, Louise Ejgod Hansen, Franco Bianchini

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Participation is increasingly a common feature in both Capital and City of Culture (CoC) programmes such as European Capitals of Culture (ECoC) and UK Cities of Culture (UKCoC). Since the mid-1990s and in particular in the last decade, many ECoCs have been displaying an emphasis on audience development and cultural engagement, impacting both on the balance of their cultural programming and on the design of specific projects and events with the aim of engaging local communities. This development that seems to be putting participation at the centre of both ECoCs and UKCoCs, at least at rhetorical level, is the motivation behind this Themed Section of Participations. Why has it become increasingly important and how is participation understood and practiced in the different local versions of CoCs? And how can participation in CoCs be understood in the context of both a broad societal participatory turn and a narrower participatory turn in cultural policy and in the practices of cultural institutions? This Themed Section does not give a simple and conclusive answer to these questions, but it offers partial, case-based examples and can be seen as the first step towards a better understanding of why, how and to what extent CoCs are participatory. In this editorial introduction, we map the landscape in which the specific cases presented in the articles are positioned. We look at the emergence and development of the agenda of participation in mainly the ECoC scheme and we identify some of the challenges that future research needs to address.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)154-169
    Number of pages16
    JournalParticipations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


    Dive into the research topics of 'Problematising the question of participation in Capitals of Culture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this