Stavanger: from Capital of oil to Capital of Culture

A Follow up study:
, the title of a later research project at IRIS, funded by the Research Council of Norway. Project period 2011-2014.

Project manager: Nils Asle Bergsgard

Stavanger2008: Yes, it was the right thing to do

The results from a large research project shows that the general attitudes towards culture have not changed throughout the period Stavanger was a European Capital of Culture in 2008. That however, does not prevent the general public from believing that the cultural capital was a correct priority.

In connection with the Stavanger region being a European Capital of Culture in 2008, IRIS has conducted a large research project togehter with the University of Stavanger. The project consists of a main report with two subsidiary studies.

The research results were presented on September 23rd, at a cultural dialogue meeting hosted by the Stavanger city council. 
Please note that English-language presentations of the porject and research results are available for downloading in the right column.

The main report is based on several large-scale surveys carried out in 2007 and 2009, asking citizens through telephone interviews and postal questionnaires about their attitudes towards culture in general, and their perception of Stavanger's year as Capital of Culture.

An overwhelming majority of the respondants both before and after the year of the Cultural Capital believes it was a correct priority of the Stavangar region to apply for and take on the challenge of being a European Capital of Culture. Nearly 4 out of 5 in North-Jæren area, and more than 50% of the respondants in the other Rogaland communes believe Stavanger2008 generated a good atmosphere both in the city and in the region.

Open Port
The vision for Stavanger as Capital of Culture is expressed through the concept ‘Open Port'. This can be understood both in the English sense as ‘an open harbour’ and in the Norwegian meaning of ‘an open gate’, or as stated on the website of Stavanger2008: ‘Open Port – openness towards the world – is about challenging the region and its people to be even more open and inclusive towards each other, art, ideas and opportunities’.

The surveys however, show that only minor changes in the attitudes towards these value can be recorded. This must be interpreted in the light of previous surveys, showing that the attitudes in the Stavanger region have been relatively more open compared to other parts of the country, also before Stavanger was a European Capital of Culture.

Active participants in the cultural life of the Stavanger region are slightly more varied in their judgment of Stavanger's year as a Cultural Capital. At times the assessements are contradictory and quite often ambivalent. It seems that Stavanger2008 strengthened the cultural life of the region, but not to the degree that it could and should have done.

Contact Hilmar Rommetvedt (project manager)
More information

Project description

Project manager Dr. Hilmar Rommetvedt

Other project researchers
Christin Berg
Nils Asle Bergsgard
Anders Vassenden
Svein Ingve Nødland
Gunnar Thesen
Rune Dahl Fitjar
Kjersti Melberg
Erik Fossåskaret (UiS)
Knud Knudsen (UiS)
Lennart Rosenlund (UiS)

Publications and presentations

Questionnaires for telephone surveys and follow-up surveys (postal) in 2007 and 2009

Press release: preliminary presentation of research results, June 9th, 2009 (pdf)

Project period

Stavanger2008 IKS

University of Stavanger.

Members of the referance group
Ellen Aslaksen (the Arts Council Norway)
Knut Helland (University of Bergen)
Dorte Skot-Hansen (Royal School of Library and Information Science - Copenhagen)
Torvald Øgaard (UiS)

Observers in ref. group
Marit Boyesen (UiS)
Rolf Norås (Stavanger2008)