The central objective of this conference, happening between the 22nd and 24th of November 2017, is to bring together researchers, academics, policy makers, urban planners and cultural practitioners to share knowledge about the complex relationship between city branding, bottom-up community processes and  large-scale events such as the European Capital of Culture title.

This year’s conference brings together researchers, cultural practitioners and policy makers to share knowledge about the social dynamics through which space (public, private and virtual) serves as a site of discourse, contestation and critical reflection within and between communities.

Living Cities, Liveable Spaces: Placemaking & Identity explores the interplay between cultural diplomacy, place branding and liveability, particularly in light of large public events such as the European Capital of Culture. These issues will be debated within the context of citizen engagement and sustainable city development.

During the three days of plenary and parallel sessions, conference participants will explore four themes:

  • – Creative Diplomacy
  • – Branding a liveable city
  • – Challenging times
  • – Future Cities

The conference’s main venue will be the Gran Salon at the National Museum of Archaeology, with conference lunches being held at the La Vallette Band Club.

Conference speakers include leading academics, authors and city planners from around Europe, namely Prof. Dr Sebastian Olma,  hosted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, author, critic and policy advisor with a critical view on the creative industries; Dr Marie Briguglio, economist, academic and lecturer in Behavioural Economics, Research Methods, Social Marketing, Environmental Economics (University of Malta); Dr Tricia Austin, Design Consultant and Academic at Central Saint Martins; Jaakko Blomberg, urban activist hailing from Helsinki, Finland and Dr Michael Gerace, lawyer and co-founder Bar Europa, hosted by the British Council, amongst others.

Living Cities, Liveable Spaces: Placemaking & Identity analyses the relationship between cultural districts and destinations and the city where they are located; how different cultural districts and destinations around the world are building, managing and promoting their brands and offering and how they manage to involve stakeholders and engage and retain existing local residents, artists and creatives in their home district and city and the use of public spaces for cultural and community engagement.

The conference will be including a presentation on Ġewwa Barra, a community arts project aiming at empowering the residents of Valletta by encouraging them to relate responsibly and creatively with the city and its ongoing changes, which will be presented by Dr Victor Jacono. Mikael Mohamed, Head of International Relations at Mucem (National Museum of European & Mediterranean Civilizations) in Marseille, will be presenting the challenges faced from the genesis of Mucem, sharing narratives on the Mediterranean and the challenges cultural hubs have to face today. Juan Carlos Belloso, CEO and Founder of Future Places will be focusing on the role of cultural districts and destinations in shaping the city’s cultural identity and image.

The conference will also be focusing on making Sports accessible for all, with Bjorn Vassallo, Director for European Member Associations at FIFA, highlighting the fact that sports remains a very powerful tool and has the ability to take down physical and psychological barriers, and the growing need to offer good enough places for interaction and community-building to establish strong communities which can interact actively and foster mutual understanding.

In a drive towards collaboratively examining people’s perception of cultural places, a participatory mapping walkabout is to be held as part of the conference programme. The Mapping for Change workshop, in collaboration with the Valletta 2018 Foundation, is an opportunity to map experiences, thoughts and ideas.


Registration is currently open. To book, kindly follow this link.