Leicester shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2017 title

Posted by pt91 at Jun 19, 2013 01:28 PM |
University of Leicester is partner in bid

Issued by Leicester City Council on 19 June 2013

LEICESTER'S dream of becoming the UK City of Culture 2017 has come a step closer today.

Judges from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have confirmed that Leicester is among the four cities to make it through to the next stage of the selection process for the prestigious title.

The city will now have to submit a final bid – and wait until November to find out if it will be named as only the second ever UK City of Culture, following in the footsteps of current title holder Derry-Londonderry.

Leicester's bid team – a consortium of business, arts, university and media representatives chaired by City Mayor Peter Soulsby – put together a compelling case highlighting the city’s cultural diversity, heritage and history, food and fashion.

The bid for Leicester to become the UK City of Culture has involved over 400 people and organisations, and was endorsed by Lord Attenborough CBE – the actor and director who grew up in Leicester and who loaned his unique collection of Picasso ceramics to New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: "This is really good news for the city. The bid process has already involved an enormous amount of goodwill and hard work from all the people and organisations involved, and this exciting news means we can now build on that in the next stage.

"We will now be doing a lot of public engagement work to ensure that anyone with an interest in arts and culture has the chance to suggest ideas that could feature in our final bid."

Fiona Allan, CEO of Curve Theatre and City of Culture board member, added: "It is fantastic news that Leicester has been shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2017.

"The decision is not only a real endorsement of the quality and diverse nature of our city’s cultural offer, but also a powerful vote of confidence in our ability to develop this and deliver a truly awe-inspiring programme in 2017.

"As a city we must now come together and work hard to drive the next stage of the process to ensure Leicester is selected as UK City of Culture 2017, a title and experience which will attract vast numbers of visitors, inward investment and without doubt take Leicester’s profile to another level both nationally and internationally."

Leicester's bid so far has highlighted the city's cultural diversity, heritage and history – as well as themes around food and fashion – to help enlighten the rest of the UK about all that Leicester has to offer.

The bid has explained the development of existing partnerships with national organisations and artists, including Sadler’s Wells, British Museum, Akram Khan, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Tate Artist Rooms and The British Library.

Work is already under way on compiling a list of national and international artists who would be invited to Leicester to perform in 2017, if the final bid is successful.

Geoff Rowe, chief executive of the Big Difference Company and organiser of Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival, said: "One of the really exciting things about getting to this next stage is that we can now actively talk to international and national artists who we want to invite to work in Leicester, alongside local creatives and communities.

"We want to ensure that the programme in 2017 is not 'business as usual' and people will be able to see a real step change in terms of the amount of culture presented throughout the year, together with an improved aspiration and ambition.

"This is an incredible exciting time for Leicester and I'm looking forward to working on this next stage of the bidding process."

The other shortlisted areas for the UK City of Culture 2017 include Hull, Dundee and Swansea Bay.

To pledge support for Leicester’s bid, use Twitter (@Leicester2017) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/leicester2017) – and find out more at Leicester's new UK City of Culture 2017 website: www.leicestercityofculture2017.co.uk

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For further information please contact Christian Dezelu, Press Officer, on 0116 252 6081.

For more news visit www.leicester.gov.uk/news or follow us at www.twitter.com/leicester_news

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