Over the years, the European Capital of Culture has become one of the most prestigious cultural events, successfully contributing to the development of cities and having a positive impact on the cultural, social and economic aspects of their development. It is considered a key platform for strategic investment in culture at the local and regional levels, though there is still a need for a coherent database that will enable a better understanding of the advantages of the ECoC project, as well as its short-term, mid-term and long-term legacies in the host city.

From 2007 to 2019, the European Commission has provided an external and independent evaluation of all ECoC cities. Furthermore, many cities have initiated and conducted their own evaluations of the title-year by employing various models and approaches. However, the evaluations to date have highlighted the importance of changing the approach and devising joint guidelines and criteria for the evaluation of different ECoC projects, so that they can be mutually compared.

For the same reason, the EU made a crucial change in 2014 regarding the evaluation of ECoC projects in cities that will carry this title between 2020 and 2033, when they will be required to conduct their own evaluations of the results in the title-year. Rijeka and Galway, which have been chosen as the 2020 European Capitals of Culture, will be the first cities required to conduct their own evaluations of the results in the title-year.

The monitoring and evaluation of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project encompass the monitoring and evaluation of the economic, ecological, social and cultural influences of the project by setting up a starting framework for monitoring data by key effects (prior to the title-year) and analysing data over a period of several years. The implementation of this pioneering evaluation endeavour will lay the groundwork for future evaluations of ECoC cities, while significantly contributing to the development of the evaluation and monitoring of various changes within the cultural system in the Republic of Croatia.

The City of Rijeka, as the title-holder, will profit the most, as will other cities across Europe that are willing to learn from the experience of ECoC cities about the possible effects of cultural investment. At the same time, this approach will help the European Union improve the evaluation of the overall influence of the ECoC initiative.

The monitoring and evaluation of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project is conducted by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, IPSOS, WYG Consulting, the Institute for Development and International Relations and MAP Consulting. The Head of Monitoring and Evaluation, Dragan Bagić, PhD, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, will introduce the monitoring and evaluation process of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project on Monday, 27 May 2019 at 3:30 pm at RiHub (Ivana Grohovca 1/a, Rijeka)