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Bourges 2028, the final selection report is online

Bourges, The cathedral Bourges, The cathedral

The report of the evaluation panel for the choice of the French city to be European Capital of Culture in 2028 is online.

It is a very important document because from this text we understand why the panel chose Bourges out of all the short-listed cities. It is also a very important document for the excluded cities (Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier and Rouen), but also for all cities that want to participate in this competition in future years.

Below is a summary. Attached to this news item is the full report.

Under the title “Territories of the Future'', Bourges’ bid envisions a transformative landscape for small and medium-sized cities in France, Europe and beyond, emphasising a human scale, with people and nature at the centre. It embodies a narrative of overcoming challenges, resolving conflicts, and addressing pressing European issues, from the, sometimes, problematic reception of migrants and LGBTQIA+ communities in smaller towns to the urgent need for ecological sustainability.

Bourges 2028 emerges not as a solitary endeavour but as a part of an innovative matrix of smaller cities across Europe, united to co-create a new reality. With a systemic approach and a responsibility to combat climate change, Bourges 2028 intends to pioneer a paradigm shift, offering a visionary model for small and medium-sized cities, placing artists and citizens at the core of an inclusive, ecological, and innovative societal renaissance. The bid includes the city of Bourges, the Bourges Plus conurbation, the Cher Department and the Centre-Val de Loire Region. All four political entities support the Bourges 2028 bid.

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Bourges 2028 presents a visionary narrative extending beyond local confines to address pressing European and global issues, emphasising inclusivity, ecological sustainability, and a "human scale". The bid innovatively tackles climate change through low-carbon projects, setting a model for smaller cities. While the monitoring and evaluation plan is robust, clarity in KPIs, particularly regarding cultural aspects, is needed.

The artistic programme, well-developed and coherent, features experienced curators, commissioners, and high-level artists. Its diversity showcases a strong blend of cultural heritage and experimental expressions. The bid actively promotes European themes, integration, and intercultural dialogue, with robust audience development involving local initiatives like the "European Citizen Council" and the "New Patrons” initiative.

The governance structure is solid, backed by continuous political and financial support from various entities. Overall, the Bourges 2028 bid displays considerable strengths across the ECoC objectives and criteria with some shortcomings in the monitoring plan, recruitment plan for the artistic programme and areas related to the international aspects of marketing.

The panel recommends that the bid of Bourges is selected. Recommendations for preparing Bourges 2028 for the title year can be found at the end of this report.