In the year that impacted all aspects of society, culture was no exception. Yet, this does not necessarily mean that culture has stopped developing. Leuven has done everything in its power to keep the cultural scene alive, despite the circumstances that were thrown at it. In this academic year, even though it was as remote as possible, we have still managed to find the bright side of culture and its development in this cosy, beautiful and diverse little city located in the heart of Flemish Brabant. Most projects involving culture share an orientation towards the future. The future is still something to look forward to and it promises us better times than the ones we are currently living in. For that reason, the project of the candidacy of Leuven for Creative Europe’s European Capital of Culture 2030 (ECOC) is an ideal representation of the aspiration for a better future, filled with diversity and culture.
What is ECOC?
For the past 36 years, Creative Europe has been assigning the title of European Capital of Culture to two cities in Europe every year. The aim is to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe. In addition, they want to celebrate the cultural features the European people share. The goal is also to strengthen European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area. Finally, the aim is to foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities.
What did the Leuven 2030 team do?
The City Hall of Leuven asked our group of cultural policy students to study previous ECOCs and come up with key success factors that could help them present themselves as the best candidate for ECOC in 2030. For this research we selected cities that shared similar parameters with Leuven, such as population, infrastructure, environment and capacity. After thorough research involving multiple cities within Europe, the team has concluded that the results of the research would be best presented through five key factors which have demonstrated to be present in every evaluation that has been part of our research. These five key success factors are Infrastructure, Participation, Cooperation, Sustainability and Identity. On top of that, the key success factors were chosen in consultation with Hannes Vanhaverbeke from City Hall, because he has the best insight into what factors could be interesting for Leuven in practice.
What should Leuven do?
Through the information gathered from evaluations from previous ECOC title owners, we elaborated on five key success factors Leuven can use to achieve success not only in those areas, but in its complete candidacy. We also shed a light on areas Leuven still needs to work most on. We hope the city can now move forward with its bid based on the new insights we have offered. We are rooting for the city of Leuven to be able to call itself European Capital Of Culture in 2030.
Hopefully in 2030…