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Id 178
Author Cicerchia, A.,
Title Social and economic impacts of culture in ECoC Italian candidate cities

Cicerchia, A. (2016). Social and economic impacts of culture in ECoC Italian candidate cities. Economia della Cultura, XXVI (1): 149-164

Keywords Cultural economics; Cultural impact assessment; Cultural indicators; European Capital of Culture.
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Abstract Social and economic impacts of the arts and culture are a recurring topic in the literature of last two decades or more. Scepticism, in various extents, about their measurability coexists with an increasing accountability demand. In many cases, efforts to reporting cultural impacts appear disembodied from any planning frame of reference. It is so in many ex post evaluations, aimed at recollecting unplanned and unintended outcomes and spillovers of cultural projects of various nature. The European Capital of Culture Programme has increasingly developed a praxis for planning, monitoring and short term and medium term evaluating the desired impacts of the cultural investments, activities, events, etc. for candidate and selected cities. This paper investigates the impact and result indicators provided in the six Italian shortlisted cities Bidbooks in the selection process resulted in the adoption of Matera as European Capital of culture for 2019.

Metodology Analysis of the indicators to measure social and economic impacts of ECoC included in the Bidbooks of six Italian shortlisted ECoC 2019

Findings From the analysis of the indicators contained in the six Italian shortlisted ECoC 2019, the author concludes that evaluation is confirmed as a recurring weakness in Italy (not only in the cultural field). Out of six bidbooks, indeed, only one – Perugia – offers both a detailed response to the EU Policy Group proposal and a further development of possible measures of expected and desired impacts as well as targeted surveys to cover those areas for which the data are not satisfactory or available. True enough, the winner Matera lists seven additional areas of desired impact to the Policy Group model, but fails to go in any further specification as to the way to define and assess them in connection to the ECoC programmes. Impacts, their planning and their assessment, are by the most candidate cities postponed to a next stage, after the final selection. They are – bizarre enough – not deemed relevant for qualifying the proposal in the bidbook for the national competition. None mentions the possibility of negative impacts, and that missing piece alone should raise questions about the consistency, accuracy and reliability of the approach adopted. If their creative contents and the notable effort to translate cultural activities into urban policies and projects are indeed valuable for all the bidbooks of the six Italian shortlisted cities, planning and assessment of social and economic desired impacts – and anticipation of potential undesirable ones for their mitigation – are far from being brilliant, and can be considered, alas, as a lost opportunity.
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DOI DOI: 10.1446-84049y2016i1p149-164
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