Liverpool’s 08 Lessons to be Passed On


Liverpool’s lessons from its successful stint as European Capital of Culture are to be passed on to the rest of the county at a major conference tomorrow (Friday, April 24).

The Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Warren Bradley, is to make a key note speech to arts leaders across the UK, which will also be attended by Culture Minster Andy Burnham MP.

The conference, in London, called: ”Maximising the importance of culture throughout the economic downturn”, will see Councillor Bradley explain how Liverpool planned for ’08 and used the year to drive forward a £4bn regeneration programme.

Organised by the centre for Public Policy Seminars, Cllr Bradley will use the event to tell over 200 cultural movers and shakers the importance of investing in culture, developing partnerships and supporting activity at a community level to ensure long lasting impact.

Liverpool hosted over 7,000 events, including 60 World or European premieres, for its Capital of Culture year which attracted 3.5m new visitors to the city, generating an £800m boost to regional economy.

The building of the ECHO Arena, which is owned by the council, and Liverpool One – both of which opened in ’08 – have helped transform the fortunes of the city as a major visitor and retail destination.  The arena hosted events such as the Capital of Culture Opening party and the MTV Europe Music Awards.

To build on the achievements of the year, Liverpool City Council recently approved an £8.45m arts budget maintaining Capital of Culture funding levels for the next two years, benefiting 67 arts organisations. And last month the city unveiled a highlights programme of over 100 events and festivals in a bid to be the UK capital of FREE culture in 2009.

Such was Liverpool’s success the government has agreed to look at establishing a British City of Culture competition. Liverpool also created hugely successful Volunteer and Ambassador programmes that are now being adopted by other Capitals of Culture across Europe.

Councillor Bradley said: ‘’It’s an honour to be invited to address this conference. It speaks volumes for how Liverpool is seen across the UK as a cultural beacon.

‘’Such was the planning for delivering ’08 it has put Liverpool in a very strong economic position and has given our international and national profile a huge boost.

‘The lessons from the year tell us that you can use culture to make huge improvements both for the individual and the economy. We are now building on that fantastic foundation and have set a template for other cities to follow.’’