What the impact of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008 project means in social terms is a bit more difficult to summarize, but there are two or three very interesting factors. The European Capital of Culture project helped to advance some agendas for social inclusion within the city. Very importantly, the City of Liverpool committed from the start to having a cultural programme that was not only about high art but also about grassroot art expressions. The Creative Community programme started early, in 2004. It featured a very important volunteering programme which enabled various different communities to get involved and to demonstrate their sense of pride in and commitment to Liverpool. It also enabled the communities to discover or rediscover cultural activities as something that could be enjoyable, etc. The programme further provided opportunities for young people to feel more closely connected to their communities, to reflect on what Liverpool was and what it meant to them, and how artistic expression could help them deal with violence and its effects. Another programme focused on public art initiatives in very deprived neighbourhoods. It was implemented through established community centres. On the one hand they sought to generate a whole range of new discusions within the neighbourhoods, making the comunities feel empowered and proud to be Liverpoodlians, and on the other to help people discover the value and the benefit of interacting with art.
Liverpool had suffered from a very negative image as a violent and economically deprived place and the projects sought to restore a sense of pride and a sense of what was possible to do. The strategy was to generate positive reactions nationally and internationally, e.g. in the media, and internally within the city to help people rediscover their city as a beautiful place with a lot of potential. This had a very interesting effect on people’s self-perception and sense of pride, which was even linked in many ways to a sense of well-being.