The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Permanent British City of Culture Prize

News comes today from the MLA that they are supportive of a permanent British City of Culture prize, similar to the European idea which has seen Glasgow, and most recently, Liverpool take on the mantle (almost wrote 'mental' oops) of City Of Culture.

Roy Clare, Chief Executive of MLA, said:

"We are very supportive of the idea of a permanent British City of Culture prize and agree that culture and creativity alongside sport are a vital part of tourism, renewal and regeneration, as many places already demonstrate."

I was wondering what other people thought about this development? I can see that the kudos for the city would be something to celebrate, and as Liverpool has shown it does increase visitor numbers (although who these visitors were I have not been able to find out) ... However I can also see that it creates an enormous amount of cost in administering the scheme as well as for the cities which wish to enter. Is the cost worth it? Does it bring more value for the people of the UK when engaging with culture? Could that ever be measured?

Perhaps they could just pick the names out of a hat at random? In that way it could be positioned more as a showcase than a competition and it might help to appreciate the wealth of culture that the UK has already?

2 comments:

New Curator said...

I would say that since it affects the local authority level, they should have to make bids and the winner is picked by judges.

Otherwise, random people being picked may not put enough effort in. An official bid with a plan of action means local authorities can be held accountable to promises.

A more important point is whether this goes against the whole point of the *European* Capital of Culture. The basis of that culture prize was to make stronger links across mainland EU, and to put a city into a European context. A British Capital of Culture may work against that.

Ceri said...

I completely agree with your third point, New Curator, I think it is creating an unnecessary additional prize when we already have one (albeit one that the government has little control over). I like the idea that there are capitals of culture across Europe - I do not know enough about the scheme to know how far links were made between Liverpool and Stavanger and Sandnes during Liverpool's tenure. A quick glance at the Liverpool website says very little about this connection. incidentally....