28 Jun

Leeds bid for European Capital of culture 2023

The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one calendar year during which it organises a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension.

Preparing a European Capital of Culture can be an opportunity for a city to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and it can help foster urban regeneration change the city’s image and raise its visibility and profile on an international scale.

The initiative started in 1985 and there has been 54 European Capital of Culture Cities from Athens in 1985 to Wrocław & Donostia – San Sebastian in 2016.

With the competition to be named as European Capital of Culture starting at least six years in advance Leeds is embarking on their bid.

Sharon Watson, Chair, Leeds 2023 Steering Group says “It’s our intention to ensure that this is a bid that belongs to the people of Leeds and which properly communicates how vibrant and diverse our different communities and cultural institutions are.”

So what is Leeds proposition and how do we convince the European Commission we are the right choice. Well this is the task of the Leeds 2023 steering group http://www.leeds-2023.co.uk

We see Leeds’ unique and progressive culture stems from a multicultural society which is truly integrating.

The diffusion of cultures from around the world form the rich fabric of the city, making Leeds an archetype for modern Britain.

It’s thriving food scene of restaurants, pop ups, festivals and live events bring people together. Leeds doesn’t just set trends, it makes statements. ‘The Real Junk Food Project’, started in Leeds, lead to global action on food waste – a true example of Leeds’ culture, one which is forward thinking, mindful and all-inclusive.

Creativity and individuality underpin the rich tapestry of Leeds’ culture. From our textile heritage and music, to theatres, contemporary dance and art spaces. From iconic cinemas and fashion collectives, Leeds manages to create a unique balance of the commercial High Street with the independent, do-it-yourself. Printed publications such as ‘The City Talking’, ‘Independent Leeds’ and ‘The Skinny’ are just a few who are harnessing and bringing to life the large influx of creative output in the city.

We have provided the Steering Group with our take on Leeds case as experts in Placemaking, look forward to seeing what the bid looks like.

Angus Armitage