Mega-Events - Threats and Opportunities for Heritage-Rich Cities
Updated: Oct 10
In the second of our series of webinars of European Heritage Award/Europa Nostra Award winners, we invited the Heritage Opportunities/threats within Mega-Events in Europe (HOMEE) to talk to us about the research that won them an award in 2022. This is an ongoing series, if you are interested in attending future events do visit our Eventbrite page where our schedule of webinars is published.
We had hoped to share a recording of the event with you, but alas, due to technical issues we are not able to do it this time. Lessons have been learnt and we are hopeful that this won’t happen again.
We were joined on the evening of 21 September 2023 by Zachary Mark Jones, Postdoc Researcher and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies at the Politecnico di Milano, and Dr David Atkinson, Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography at the University of Hull, the UK-based lead partner of the project.
The session was opened by Zachary Mark Jones who spoke to us about the core research project and the cross-sector network of partners and stakeholders that were involved in the production of The Charter for Mega-events in Heritage-rich Cities. This document, which is now being implemented in many settings across Europe, highlights the key principles and themes that organisations should consider when planning mega-events and how best to incorporate cultural heritage into the programme whilst also conserving and promoting it.
We then heard from David Atkinson about his experience supporting the planning and evaluation of Hull’s 2017 UK City of Culture programme. Revealing to us some of the techniques they used to ensure the event showcased the city and responded to practical needs and community interests, he also highlighted the main differences between this mega-event and others that have taken place in the UK.
One particularly interesting reflection was that, whilst Hull 2017 certainly contributed to the regeneration of the city, it did not succeed in attracting the same volume of wider national and international visitors that other mega-events did, e.g., the 2012 London Olympics and Liverpool’s 2008 European City of Culture. Regarding evaluation, Dr Atkinson pointed to the tensions that arise between the interests of different partners and the difficulty that a university team may face if they are involved in a mega event as both a production partner and evaluation lead.
The webinar ended with an open discussion as the speakers responded to questions from the participants. We encourage you to take a look at the HOMEE Charter, review the links below, and send your questions to zachary.jones(at)polimi.it and david.atkinson(at)hull.ac.uk, who will be happy to continue to spread the word about this important and successful project.
Our next webinar in the series is being held on Thursday, November 16th, 18:30 - 19.30 GMT, where we will be joined by Professor Richard Hodges OBE, who will be telling us about Confronting Climate Change at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint in Albania.
Open to EN members and non-members. More information here.