The title of European Capital of Culture is awarded annually to one or more European cities. The title is most commonly shared by two cities per year. This most prestigious honour is accompanied by numerous challenges, not only from a cultural perspective, but also from the perspective of other fields of society in the city and its surroundings which host the ECoC.
Every town selected as the Capital must walk a long road from nomination to official appointment. But the journey is far from finished after a city takes over its reign. Before taking the formal and official throne of European culture, the ECoC title holder is in for a long and difficult task of organization and preparation.
What happens after the year is finished, when the selected city has shown the best it can offer? What grades is the city awarded and how does it compare to other cities?
Evaluation following the reign
Maribor shared the title of European Capital of Culture 2012 with the Portuguese city of Guimarães. After the end of the year, every Capital of Culture undergoes an evaluation process. The European Commission, the body awarding the ECoC title, reviews, analyses and assesses the objectives executed by the cultural capital after the end of its term. Moreover, the EC also designs recommendations to future Capitals of Culture, so that the latter may remedy the deficiencies and mistakes of capitals past in an effective manner.
Equal criteria for all
The evaluation criteria are equal for all European Capitals of Culture, despite the fact that the projects are run in different cultural, financial and social environments. However, the evaluation grind treats everyone equally, regardless of whether we are talking about post-industrial Maribor, which suffered from the downfall of industry giants at the end of the 1980’s and is still looking for a new identity, or the flourishing, metropolitan port city of Marseille.
What the city gains from the final grade and recommendations
After the motley cultural hustle and bustle is only beginning in the new European Capital of Culture, the city which handed over the reins is already deep in the evaluation process.
The most successful capitals do not stop after the evaluation is finished, on the contrary. All success stories share the best practice of continuing the legacy by building on past success and developing the ECoC goals and tasks. By further development, the short-term ECoC effects realized during the year atop European culture may be transformed into long-term effects that will benefit the city and the broader region. The latter is also one of the key aspects of the EC evaluation report. Maribor underwent the same evaluation process, with the final grade of its time atop European culture available in the document beside.