Exploring implicit and explicit cultural policy dimensions through major-event and neoliberal rhetoric

Rafaela Neiva Ganga, Nicholas Wise, Marko Perić

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper is conceptually positions the emergence of the neoliberal city in the context of transitions to late-capitalism. The aim of this study is to understand intersections between explicit and implicit cultural policy dimensions focusing on the Rijeka2020 programme as intended and how it was restructured as a response to COVID-19. Through cultural policy analysis, this ex-ante qualitative case study of the Rijeka2020 programme illuminates overlapping explicit and implicit policy priorities of the ECoC—offering a unique insight into what could potentially be the future of the European cultural policy. Rijeka2020 can be seen as a changing point amidst different rhetoric, analysed around three themes (regeneration, legacy, and participation). Results examine how Rijeka's culture-led urban regeneration agenda was shy on creative industry oriented programming, yet reinforced through capital cultural infrastructural projects. Through attempts to avoid event-led spectacle, officials planned to engage more at the neighbourhood-scale using participatory art practices that concentrated on capacity building. Important take-away points address shifts from culture-oriented regeneration to local participatory art practices is a step towards reconstructing the cultural sector upstream (based on production) and downstream (through reception).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100401
JournalCity, Culture and Society
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Cultural legacy
  • Culture-led regeneration
  • European Capital of Culture
  • European policy
  • Rijeka 2020
  • Urban events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Urban Studies
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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