Cities of Literature: Initiatives, Impacts and Legacies

This report has been commissioned by the British Council to examine the contribution literature can make in large scale cultural interventions and urban policy more broadly. It looks at national programmes in the UK, the EU and internationally, specifically high-profile programmes such as EU Capitals of Culture, UNESCO Cities of Literature and World Book Capitals. It analyses the partnerships, policy and practices needed to make such schemes a success.

This is the first piece of research that looks across different types of major cultural city project and is unique in taking a global perspective with case studies from four continents. One of the first findings of the research was how patchy the evaluation of these cultural projects are. However, the case studies demonstrate there are numerous informal, lively activities on the ground, which this report explores. By taking a wide view it has been possible to see similarities and patterns that point to ways in which the benefits of the huge investment made in cultural interventions – social and economic – can be increased.

Authors: Antonia Byatt Consulting With James Doeser and Lucy Hannah and support from people make it work