AboutLiving Cities, Liveable Spaces: Placemaking & Identity

The fourth in the Valletta 2018 Foundation's series of annual international conferences on cultural relations in Europe and the Mediterranean, this conference 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.


Conference Themes

The central objective of this conference 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. 

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

Organisation & scientific committee

  • Pierluigi  Sacco

    Prof. Pier Luigi Sacco

    Full Professor, IULM University Milan, and Visiting professor, Harvard University

    Pier Luigi Sacco is Professor of Cultural Economics, IULM University Milan, Scientific Director of Fondazione Campus, Lucca, and Visiting professor of Applied Humanities at Harvard University. He has published widely in international journals and edited books on the themes of cultural policy and culture-led development and is a keynote speaker and consultant worldwide on the same topics.

  • Profile Picture Jonas Buechel Malta 2017

    Jonas Būchel

    Urbanist, co-founder Urban Institute Riga

    Jonas Büchel, born in the summer heat of the mid 60's, learning the design patterns of life and joy in the parents' planning office and in an industrial small town of the Ruhr-area in Germany: Industry, mines, the 'never-ending-city', football with a strong emotional bond between humans and their industrial environment.

    Studies of photography and design with continuing studies in social work, social planning and cultural management.

    25 years of design, social & cultural work and creative urbanism practice in nearly all European regions. In the last 15 years concentrating on Germany, Croatia, Finland and the Baltic States, specifically Latvia.

    Creative foci: Emotions, space and time - the individual and its groups.

    Creative tools: Community development, moderation & mediation, urbanism, environmental perceptions, photography.

    To observe and analyze, to foster individual and social freedom are the central elements of Jonas' life and work.

  • Franco Bianchini

    Franco Bianchini

    Professor of Cultural Policy and Planning & Director of the Culture, Place and Policy Institute, University of Hull

    Franco Bianchini is Professor of Cultural Policy and Planning – and Director of the Culture, Place and Policy Institute – at the University of Hull, UK.  From 2007-2016 he was Professor of Cultural Policy and Planning at Leeds Beckett University, UK. In 2003 he acted as adviser to Liverpool Culture Company on the preparation of their successful bid for the 2008 European Capital of Culture. He initiated, and was a member of the artistic team for, ‘Cities on the Edge’, a project of cultural co-operation between Liverpool, Bremen, Gdansk, Istanbul, Marseilles and Naples (2004-2009). The project formed part of the programme of Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008. From 2010-2014 he was a member of the team preparing the successful bid by the city of Matera, in Southern Italy, for the title of European Capital of Culture for 2019. He has published widely on a range of subjects, including the role of culture in urban regeneration, cultural diversity and interculturalism as resources for innovation in urban policy, and the development of urban cultural strategies in the context of the current political, economic and environmental crises.

  • Caldon Mercieca Resized

    Caldon Mercieca

    Valletta Design Cluster

    Caldon Mercieca is project leader of the Valletta Design Cluster and Manager at the Culture Directorate within the Ministry responsible for Culture. He is a co-author of the National Cultural Policy (2011) and of the National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries (2013). Since 2008, he has worked directly on the development and implementation of several public funding initiatives related to culture and the arts, including the Malta Arts Fund, the Malta Film Fund, INVEX Scheme (creative start-ups programme), KREATTIV (Education and Creativity scheme), the Culture Card initiative, the Malta Digital Games Fund, and the President's Creativity Award. On the policy front, Caldon has worked on the review of the Theatre and Film Age Classification Regulations (2012), the review of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (now Arts Council Malta) and of the Cultural Heritage Act. He has conducted stakeholder workshops and seminar presentations, as well as presented in international conferences, on matters related to the creative economy, cultural and creative education, intellectual property, cultural mapping, and cultural heritage. He has been involved in the European Capital of Culture preparations for Malta since 2006, and is currently actively engaged with the Valletta 2018 Foundation’s research programme, with particular interest in the areas of cultural mapping and the urban impact of the ECOC programme. Caldon holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy from the University of Malta, where he contributes to courses on policy and on critical perspectives related to artistic practice and culture under a number of faculties and institutes in the Humanities.

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    Graziella Vella

    Research Coordinator, Valletta 2018 Foundation

    Graziella Vella is the Research Coordinator for the Valletta 2018 Foundation. Her responsibilities within the Foundation include documenting the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) process through evaluation and monitoring of all aspects and promoting research projects and collaborations. Born and raised in Valletta, Graziella is committed to ensure communities are given the best tools to actively participate in the ECoC and beyond. She holds a first degree in Tourism Studies from the University of Malta and has obtained an MSc in Cultural Management with distinction from the University of Ulster. Her research has focused on the impacts the European Capital of Culture title produces on the regeneration of the cultural tourism product, in view of Valletta 2018. Her professional background includes financial management and administration, and customer relations through her experience as Executive within Heritage Malta.

  • Neville  Borg

    Neville Borg

    Research Officer, Valletta 2018 Foundation

    Neville Borg holds a BA (Hons) degree in Sociology from the University of Malta and an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths College. He has carried out research within a variety of fields, ranging from social equality to economics, and has held research posts at the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality and the University of Surrey, among others. He is currently reading for a PhD in Digital Media at the University of Hull’s School of Arts and New Media, with a topic focusing on the intersection between shared memory, cultural identity and digital media.

  • Glen  Farrugia

    Glen Farrugia

    Valletta 2018 University of Malta Secretariat

    Glen Farrugia holds a BA (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Malta. After graduating, he specialised in documentation techniques and Late Roman funerary sites. Glen has held curatorial posts at the Saint Agatha Historical Complex in Rabat, Malta and with Heritage Malta. He is also a registered professional archaeologist with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and has recently been elected as a full member of the Institute for Archaeologists at the University of Reading. Glen has managed EU heritage projects and conducted research in the same field. He has successfully completed his Advanced Post Graduate at the University of Leicester and is reading for a PhD at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

  • Joanne Pic

    Joanne Attard Mallia

    Programme Coordinator, Valletta 2018 Foundation

    Joanne Attard Mallia holds a Bachelors degree in Archaeology from the University of Malta and a Master of Science Degree in Geographic Information Science from Birkbeck College, University of London.  As a professional in the cultural heritage field since 2003, she has worked in project management for EU-funded projects and then as a Curator of a World Heritage Site within Heritage Malta's Prehistoric Sites Department. Her research has included conceptual spatio-temporal data modelling, 3D visualisation, e-learning, data standards and online applications for public dissemination, always in the field of cultural heritage.

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    Raffaella Zammit

    Research Officer, Valletta 2018 Foundation

    Raffaella Zammit graduated in Geography from the University of Malta in 2005. From 2006 to 2009 she worked with the Planning Directorate of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority. Between 2010 to 2016 she worked with the Environment Authority gaining knowledge on Environmental Directives, Protected Areas Management and EU funds and project management. In 2014 she graduated with a Master in Countryside Conservation and Management from the University of the West of England. Since 2014 she has assisted Gabriel Caruana in managing the Mill Art, Culture and Crafts Centre, Birkirkara. In 2016 she was one of the founding members of the Gabriel Caruana Foundation a Voluntary Organization focused on promoting and preserving the artistic legacy of modern and contemporary art and artists in Malta. She holds the position of Executive Director within the Gabriel Caruana Foundation.  On behalf of the GCF she is project managing a number of projects, including Kreaturi (funded by the Creative Communities fund, Arts Council Malta) and Art Links (funded by the Small Initiative Support Scheme, Malta Council for Voluntary Sector). Since 2016 she joined the Research Department of the Valletta 2018 Foundation as a Research Officer. 


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