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We present the result of our over a year-long e?ort aiming at showing the European Capital of Culture „from the inside”, mainly through the eyes of its participants. Our team of experts and researchers, representing various domains of applied social sciences, tried to grasp the most important elements of the ECoC events, as they were recognized and experienced by the residents of Wrocław and visitors.
The ECoC Wrocław 2016 was a project with a variety of themes and scales of events, often assuming different forms of participation and creation of attitudes. From being a purely passive spectator to active participation and fully engaged “presumption of culture”. Also, the events building the ECoC were inscribed into the calendar year
and spheres of culture representing the most important curatorial domains only from the formal point of view. One thing is certain – the total number of events (diffcult to calculate precisely, but certainly over two thousand) made the space of our city – region subject to a cultural effect unprecedented in its scale and intensity.
Events and festivals organized as part of the ECoC, both those with known forms and often new and unprecedented, going beyond the boundaries of usual understanding of participation in culture, had to in?uence the city and its residents in several key areas, which – as we assumed – could be a proof that:
- cultural life in the city was “animated”,
- methods and forms pf participation in culture were transformed,
- Wrocław became more competitive.
As researchers, we were particularly interested in the phenomenon of participation in culture, presented in its urban type. This theme is naturally present in the evaluation, as it is directly linked to the narrative about the diverse character of events of the ECoC Wrocław 2016.
The second, broadly defned issue, which appeared in the evaluation, was the so called ECoC e?ect. In the circle of the organizers, but also researchers of the ECoC 2016 (but not necessarily creators of culture), the phrase “ECoC e?ect” was used already when the project was still going on. It can be related to institutional, image, economic, and developmental aspects important for the shape of city policies. One of its more interesting manifestations is undoubtedly the social context of the ECoC effect, related to the reaction of the residents to the ECoC events and the impulse for transformations which occurred in the feeling of the relationship with the city and the development of the urban sphere of the organization of free time, in which in 2016 culture played the key role. And those are the issues we will frst and foremost present to the Reader.
All reports (in English) covering various aspects of ECoC evaluation can be found here: