Measuring the Impact of the Arts: the Glasgow 1990 Experience

John Myerscough


This paper describes the tracking study we carried out to monitor Glasgow’s year as European City of Culture. It also summarises some of the findings. Glasgow’s nomination as European City of Culture was announced by the Minister for the Arts in October 1986. At that time, previous holders of the EC awarded title had been Athens (1985) and Florence (1986), and other cities which would bear the title, Amsterdam (1987), Berlin (1988) and Paris (1989), had already been nominated.

Glasgow won the UK nomination in competition with eight short-listed rivals. They had been able to show that it possessed an exceptional array of cultural institutions with a strong international outlook; was experienced in arranging collaboration amoung institutions; could fund the project through its established public and private arrangements and was capable of marketing the concept of the City of Culture, as it had done with the Miles Better Campaign (1982) and the Glasgow Garden Festival (1988).