Nottingham has thrown its hat in the ring for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023.
The city will launch its bid today (Wednesday, August 16) by calling for people from the city and wider region to get behind the campaign and become “cultural lions”.
Its rivals for the honour – last awarded to a UK city when Liverpool held the title in 2008 – include Belfast, Dundee, Leeds and Milton Keynes, with the winner expected to benefit from an economic boost worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
The Nottingham campaign will be spearheaded by the city’s Cultural Strategic Partnership (CSP) – a network of creative and cultural organisations – with support by Nottingham City Council, the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and Marketing NG.
Paul Russ, chairman of both the CSP and Nottingham 2023 board, said: “The lions outside the Council House have been a local meeting, gathering and rallying point for decades.
“We are a proud and inclusive city and urge people of all backgrounds to ‘join our pride’ and help us get to the next stage of the bid by becoming ‘cultural lions’.
“Nottingham is an ambitious, young and diverse city with a culture of grassroots collaboration and a history of rebellious innovation.
“As part of the bid, we want to give everyone in Nottingham the opportunity to take part in a project, production or experience and nurture the next generation of creative producers and cultural leaders.
“We’re proposing a ‘cultural change’ programme that will transform the lives of people in the Midlands; harnessing the power of creativity, stimulating innovation, attracting investment and creating new international networks that will redefine our relationship to Europe and the world.”
The European Capital of Culture scheme was launched in 1985 and is managed by the European Union. Britain’s involvement in 2023 will not be affected by Brexit but its future inclusion is unclear.
It is not to be confused with the UK City of Culture scheme, currently hosted by Hull.
Title holders will organise a series of cultural events with a continental theme and aims to help foster urban regeneration, change the city’s image and raise its profile on an international scale.
When Liverpool hosted the contest in 2008, it estimated a return of £750m to the local economy from a £170m outlay and studies found that the number of residents who said they were “proud” to live in Liverpool increased by 82 percent.
The city also welcomed 9.7 million visitors during the year, an increase of 34 per cent.
Glasgow held the title in 1990, while other previous winners include Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Prague.
There are currently two capitals of culture for 2017 – Aarhus, in Denmark, and Paphos, in Cyprus.
The UK winner in 2023 will share the honour with a Hungarian city.
Nottingham’s bid will highlight how it has one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the UK, with an average age of 34.
Once the global industrial centre of lace-making, nine out of 10 jobs in Nottingham are now in the service industry, and the city is in the process of reimagining itself as a creative economy for the 21st century.
Professor Sir David Greenaway, vice-chancellor of the University of Nottingham, said: “Creativity and cultural vibrancy is an engine for growth, business and graduate retention and poses huge opportunities for our city, students and public.”
Professor Edward Peck, vice-chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “Nottingham Trent has a proud 175-year history of contributing to the cultural and economic development of the region, so we are delighted to be backing the bid and the enormous opportunities that being capital of culture will bring to the city and county.”
“This provides us with a great opportunity to set a vision for the Nottingham we aspire to be by the year 2023, and has huge potential for attracting investment and growth to the city.”
The campaign team said the city and surrounding county has a history of pioneering new ways of thinking and working together.
Key people it will point to include Robin Hood; computing pioneer Ada Lovelace; writers DH Lawrence, Alan Sillitoe and Jon McGregor; fashion designer Sir Paul Smith; singer-songwriter Jake Bugg; and nationally-celebrated theatre makers Adam Penford, Emma Rice and Jenny Sealey.
Reacting to the announcement, Sir John Peace, the Experian founder who is also chairman of the Midlands Engine initiative to promote growth and job creation in the region, said: “It’s fantastic that Nottingham is bidding to become European Capital of Culture in 2023, not just for Nottingham, but for the whole of the Midlands.
“Being European Capital of Culture is a huge, year-long opportunity for a city to promote itself and its creative community to the world and to attract significant numbers of visitor from across the UK and overseas – giving a long-term boost to the local and regional economies.
“Art, culture and the creative industries make a surprisingly large contribution to the Midlands economy already and have significant potential to grow, to become more productive and to create more jobs.
“I urge the whole region to get behind bringing the European Capital of Culture to the Midlands.”
David Ralph, chief executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Nottingham has a long-standing reputation for culture and the arts already – including its designation as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2015 and the presence of leading arts venues such as Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange, Theatre Royal, and of cultural icons past and present.
“Culture and economic development are closely linked and D2N2 will be strongly backing the bid for the city to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 – to benefit all communities and provide the extra boost that ‘capital’ status would give to our key economic sector, of the visitor economy and tourism.”
Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber pointed to the impact of the UK City of Culture title – which carries a lesser profile to the European Capital of Culture – in helping Hull receive a £1 billion boost to investment and the creation of 7,500 new jobs.
He said: “Over the course of this year, the events planned for Hull and the increased tourism they will generate are expected to raise an extra £60m for the city’s economy – that’s close to the yearly value of the student contribution to Nottingham’s economy.
“You don’t visit Hull on your way to somewhere else, it’s at the end of the motorway north of the Humber, while Liverpool has a similar position on the opposite coast.
“Nottingham, on the other hand, enjoys a very central location with good access in all four directions by road, rail and air and will attract visitors from all over the UK and Europe if it succeeds in its bid for European Capital of Culture 2023.
“It already has plenty of good hotels, a thriving night life and strong cultural offering. How successful it would be as the European Capital of Culture 2023 depends on how strongly its bid is supported and how much more it offers to attract investment before the event and cultural tourists during the year and beyond.
“Nottingham would be a worthy of the status so it has to be worth putting in a bid.”
Alongside a launch event within a luminarium – a structure of luminescent colour and light created by internationally-renowned Nottingham artistic group Architects of Air – in an unnamed city location, a dedicated website and social media channels for Nottingham 2023 have been unveiled.
The city has until October 27 to produce its bid and judges will announce the shortlist in November.
Final bids will be required next summer, with the winner announced later in 2018.
How other cities are promoting their bids for European Capital of Culture 2023
With public discussions about whether the city should bid for the crown stretching as far back as January 2014, it will hold a grand launch event across various cultural venues in Leeds in October.
The social media hashtag #MakeLeeds2023 is being used to drum up public interest in the campaign.
Working alongside Derry City and Strabane District Council in a joint bid, Belfast City Council is gathering information for a bid document by engaging with communities that will assist in developing a cultural programme.
The three areas hope the campaign will extend collaborative working, and aim to broaden cultural access and participation. But the bid material has yet to be released.
Members of the public have been asked to get involved in the bid by submitting their ideas for the proposed year-long events programme.
Cultural leaders and politicians have highlighted Dundee being the first UNESCO City of Design in the UK and home to the “world-class” V&A Museum of art and design.
The city estimates that the title would bring a £128m boost to the local economy and create 1,600 new jobs.
The Festive Road community arts organisation is helping the bid team engage with the public with a series of cultural initiatives.
It has created a cycle-powered bus, known as the MK Culture Coach, and a Travel Lounge, which will “pop-up” at events and locations across the city.
Thanks to the Nottingham Post for this story – read the original here
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