A series of evaluation studies are taking place to determine the social impact of Eurovision 2023 – which is being hosted by Liverpool and broadcast by the BBC on behalf of Ukraine – on wellbeing, cultural legacy and the economy.
Eurovision isn’t just about douze points, amazing outfits and catchy tunes – but gives researchers the perfect opportunity to evaluate the legacy of hosting.
Four separate studies will look at the impact the contest has on the Liverpool City region and across the whole of the UK, including on residents. This will help researchers to understand the scale and extent of these impacts, which in turn helps in the bidding for, planning of, and delivery of future large-scale events and cultural activity.
Exploring the Cultural Relations and Soft Power
This research explores two questions: Eurovision’s role in developing shared values and mutual relationships during a time of conflict; and the role and impact of Eurovision within city/nation branding and soft power.
The research has been commissioned by the British Council in partnership with Liverpool City Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The project is led by the University of Hull with a team of consultants from the University of Brighton, the University of Southampton and Royal Holloway (University of London).
Dr Catherine Baker is leading the research with Professor David Atkinson, Professor Glenn Burgess, Dr Aoife Curran and Dr Anna Daupare from the University of Hull.
Dr Catherine Baker said: “This research will bring together our combined expertise on Eurovision and large-scale cultural events to understand the impact that organising Eurovision can have on perceptions of the host city and country.
"Our research will look into the cultural context of Eurovision in terms of how it highlights and represents shared values.
“We’ll also be helping the British Council and its partners understand how far the event shapes the international appeal of the host city and country.
“The project has already begun and will span the full length of the lead-up to the event, the International contest and the aftermath.”
The University of Hull researchers are uniquely positioned in conducting this project as the University was the exclusive academic research partner to Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Many of the team were directly involved in researching and evaluating Hull 2017, which was a large-scale cultural event within the city, or in planning contributions to it.
The extensive work and research into the UK City of Culture position the team to make a valuable contribution to the analysis of Eurovision Song Contest 2023.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, working in partnership with Liverpool City Council, DCMS and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have commissioned AMION Consulting Ltd to undertake an Economic Impact Assessment of the event.
Looking at both the immediate and short-term legacy (one year on) on the local economy, the commission will seek to understand the impact on increased investment, tourism and upskilling within the creative industries across Liverpool, the Liverpool City Region, and the North West.
Understanding and addressing risk related night-life behaviour
Liverpool John Moores University is undertaking research to look into the health risk of behaviours associated with nightlife during the Eurovision period.
A survey will examine individuals’ past, present and future use of alcohol and drugs – as well as looking at sexual behaviours, exposure to anti-social behaviour and violence and feelings of safety during Eurovision week.
Wellbeing and Sense of Community
The University of Liverpool, working in partnership with Liverpool City Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Spirit of 2012 are delivering an evaluation programme looking at whether hosting the song contest will impact the wellbeing and sense of community of local residents.
Beginning with baseline and follow-up surveys, around 1,300 residents will be asked about their engagement with Eurovision and its associated community events. The survey will investigate whether this has contributed to improved wellbeing, sense of civic pride and citizenship.
This will be followed by focus groups of people contributing or attending Eurovision events. These will explore people’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes towards Eurovision 2023 and what it has achieved for them, the City Region and for the people of Ukraine.
The overall evaluation steering group is made up of key partners, both nationally and from across Liverpool City Region – each overseeing different work programmes.
Each work stream will result in a final report – with all findings collated and summarised at a later date, as a way of demonstrating the value of cultural events and activities like Eurovision to the City.