The Audience Agency begins work on the evaluation and monitoring of Galway 2020, European City of Culture.

November 13, 2019
Photo of the author - Jonathan Goodacre

Jonathan Goodacre

Work has started on the evaluation of Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture as it approaches its launch in February 2020. The Audience Agency has been appointed as evaluator for this prestigious project, in collaboration with National University Ireland Galway and partners Nordicity, Golant Innovation and an advisory panel.

The core team of Penny Mills (Chief Consulting Officer), Richard Turpin (Chief Research Officer), Jonathan Goodacre (Senior Consultant, International) and Monique Ricketts (Consultancy Projects Manager) are developing an innovative mixed evaluation approach that will provide an understanding of public engagement and the impact on Galway as well as looking at its legacy and policy implications.

The European Capital of Culture (ECOC) initiative is one of the central cultural programmes of the EU. It focuses on both the culture of a place itself and its shared European dimensions. Each has its own particular focus, with Galway emphasising Landscape, Language and Migration and ensuring the wider county (not just the city) and region benefits from and contributes to the year.

From an evaluation point of view, 2020 is especially notable. Although there have been many excellent evaluation studies of ECOCs, 2020 is the first year in which the EU has laid down special procedures for evaluation. It introduces a new obligation for all ECOCs 2020-2033 to carry out evaluations that follow particular protocols, including a process that begins before the start, an objective transparent approach and the widespread dissemination of results. The EU is also keen to see how it can learn in a more comprehensive way from the ongoing ECOC evaluations so that it can develop and advise on its strategy over the coming years.

This presents an exciting challenge for The Audience Agency as we will be using what is learnt about methodology and approaches to feed back into other work.

Incidentally, if you are interested in travelling there during the year, you can find the programme HERE. In Ireland, Galway is known as the ‘cultural heart’ so you can go and take its pulse for yourself.


The International Agent is a quarterly newsletter focused on international arts, culture and heritage projects, as well as The Audience Agency projects. To receive updates on our latest work overseas, visit the sign up page.