A meeting is set to be held next month that will begin the conversation on whether Leeds should put itself forward to become the 2023 European Capital of Culture.
As part of the event at Leeds Town Hall on 7 January from 2pm-5pm, those in attendance will have the opportunity to join the discussion, and give their thoughts on the city potentially putting together a bid for 2023.
With one of the most diverse populations in the UK representing communities with roots in more than 200 countries, Leeds is already the home to a wide-range of world class talent and cultural attractions as diverse as the Leeds West Indian carnival, Opera North and The Tetley - Leeds' newest arts space.
Next year, Leeds will also be hosting one of the world’s greatest sporting events the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, the British Art Show in October 2015 and in the same year will be a host city for the Rugby Union World Cup.
A bid to become the European Capital of Culture would offer a chance to build on this momentum, and galvanise every person, organisation and stakeholder in the city, representing networks including culture, business, sport, retail, hospitality, the arts and communities to get behind a programme that would showcase to Europe and the world the very best of what Leeds has to offer.
This initial meeting forms part of a wider conversation held in the upcoming months on the idea, with a proposal to bring the results back to an event later in the year where a decision to progress or not a bid will be made. Previous winners in the UK include Glasgow (1990) and Liverpool (2008).
The European Capital of Culture award is separate to the UK City of Culture prize currently held by Derry-Londonderry, and recently awarded to Hull for 2017. This award is administered by the Government’s department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:
"While 2023 may seem a long way away, it is very important, given the work that would be involved, that we begin a conversation as soon as possible to see whether there is a real appetite for Leeds to bid to become the European Capital of Culture.
"The aim of our meeting next month is to formally kick-off this discussion, and we would love to hear from groups and organisations representing a wide range of networks in our city at the event, as to what they think of the idea.
"There is a fantastic vibe about Leeds at the moment, and the opportunity to possibly build on that through a European Capital of Culture bid to supplement high-profile events already in our diary such as the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, is certainly an exciting one.
"We look forward to investigating the proposal in the upcoming months, and plan to hold a further event later in 2014 that having listened to every piece of feedback, will inform our final decision whether to proceed with a bid or not."
Notes to editors:
The ‘Should Leeds bid for European Capital of Culture 2023’ event will be held at Leeds Town Hall on 7 January from 2pm-5pm.
The European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union for a period of one year during which it is given a chance to showcase its cultural life and cultural development.