About Us

The Cities of Culture Research Observatory is based at the School of the Arts, University of Liverpool.

The Observatory works with an international network of critical scholars. Our associates work closely with cities in developing their capacity to document and interrogate cultural policy frameworks and their strategic thinking for culture.

Through its social and humanities research the Observatory seeks to articulate the value of evidence-based cultural policy in the development of city-wide initiatives. The wealth of material gathered by the CC:RO showcases the challenges and opportunities emerging out of event-led cultural regeneration programmes worldwide.

Since its launch with the Cities of Culture Project (University of Glasgow, 2001) the Observatory has documented the cultural policy and cultural programming framework of every Olympic and every European Capital of Culture host city, as well as a selection of comparable cultural events and international cultural policy initiatives, from the Commonwealth Games to the World Design Capital, from the UK Cities of Culture programme to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites programme.

The Observatory has benefited from access to data, research collaborations and funding secured on the back of major research programmes and initiatives directed by Dr Beatriz Garcia since 1998. Research started in the context of the Olympic Studies Centre at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (1998-2001). After the Cities of Culture Project (Centre for Cultural Policy Research, 2001-2005), key datasets have been developed through Impacts 08 | European Capital of Culture Research Programme (University of Liverpool, 2006-2010) and the varied range of research programmes and projects conducted by Dr Garcia and her team at the Institute of Cultural Capital (University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University, 2010-2019).