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Leeds 2023

Backing the bid


A press article released today leaked details of a letter from Martine Reicherts, Director-General in the Commission’s Education and Culture Department to Sue Owens within the UK government’s DCMS department stating that the British application for the title of European Capital of Culture should be discontinued in light of BREXIT and the ongoing negotiations. 

Reacting to the news, Tracey Lancaster, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Leeds Beckett University, said:
“As a partner in the Leeds 2023 bid, we have been committed to supporting the city’s efforts to be the next European Capital of Culture.  This is an incredibly disappointing announcement from the European Commission.
Leeds Beckett University has a strong track record of developing the creative talent of the future and our staff and students have been long-standing contributors to the cultural life of the city.  Despite yesterday’s decision, we remain committed to helping to shape Leeds as the best cultural city in Europe and beyond.”

Leeds Beckett University is working collaboratively to ensure Leeds becomes the next European Capital of Culture, as official partners for the Leeds 2023 bid.

The European Capitals of Culture initiative is designed to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe and raise the international profile of cities. If Leeds wins the title, it will follow the likes of Barcelona, Lille, Amsterdam and Istanbul in being recognised as a major centre of culture.

Helping to shape Leeds as the best cultural city in Europe and beyond, we will provide ongoing expertise for the bid from our artistic, marketing and community engagement professionals as well as supplying vital research to help steer the bid.

Along with our partners, we will bring the bid to life with a diverse cultural programme of events showing off the incredible creative talent in Leeds and promoting it as a vibrant place to live, study and work. With a population of 28,000 students and 3,200 staff, Leeds Beckett plays a vital role in the health of the city and region, injecting life into Leeds through our people, jobs and prosperity.

We will broaden access to cultural and artistic activities for Leeds residents and visitors, which in turn will boost economic and social development of the city. We’ll also pursue new opportunities for our staff and students who are already such an integral part of the city’s cultural DNA, bringing ideas and enthusiasm that will make a real difference to the bid.

During this process, we will set a global vision for the future of Leeds, which will bring more people, business, skills and energy to the city. Liverpool saw a £750m boost to its economy when it was named Capital of Culture in 2008, and Leeds’s ambitions go beyond this.

Leeds Beckett University and our staff and students have been long-standing contributors to the cultural life of the city, and we are proud to be an academic partner in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The successful city will be announced in October 2018. For more information on the bid, head to leeds2023.co.uk or join in the conversation on Twitter: @leeds_2023. #MakeLeeds2023

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Leeds Beckett University’s Culture Credentials – just some of the reasons why we’re partners to this bid:
  • Our flagship buildings and spaces, like the Rose Bowl and eye-catching Broadcasting Place, bring people together and encourage the development and implementation of new ideas.
  • Our campuses are vibrant urban neighbourhoods, rich with a unique identity.
  • We have history in supporting the creative talent of the future. Our School of Art, Architecture & Design has origins dating back to 1848, and our internationally renowned Northern Film School was established in 1970.
  • We offer a large selection of courses relating to arts and culture, including: Film, Music & Performing Arts, Architecture & Landscape, Art & Design, Creative Technologies, English, History & Media and Events & Entertainment Management.
  • We are a university that breeds world-class creatives, counting Rudimental, Kaiser chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, Marc Almond and the Rich Brothers from BBC One’s Garden Rescue as alumni.
  • We are planning a new state-of-the-art building to create a home for our School of Film, Music & Performing Arts. There will be dedicated studios for fashion, performing arts and music performance, a theatre, a 220 seat cinema, and various film, TV and recording studios, green rooms and labs. It will provide a resource that will contribute to the creative economy in Leeds and to its bid as the capital of culture 2023, and will act as a hub for our cultural and industry partnerships across the city.
  • Our Centre for Culture & the Arts hosted a three-day conference to celebrate Caribbean carnival cultures at Leeds Beckett University. Conference organiser Dr Emily Zobel Marshall worked in partnership with Leeds City Council and the Leeds Carnival Committee who are this year celebrating their 50th Anniversary.
  • We are currently exploring a concept called The Leeds Innovation District, which would include new research facilities, work spaces, development opportunities and high-density housing to drive productive, sustainable and inclusive economic development for the city. The district would incorporate the main city centre campuses of the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, the Leeds General Infirmary, and the Leeds City Council buildings in the Civic Quarter. A masterplan is being developed to explore the impact of such an innovation district in the future vision for Leeds.
  • Tom Williams, formerly helmsman of Tom Williams and The Boat, used students from the School of Film, Music & Performing Arts in his band, on his new album – which has since been hailed ‘the album of his career’ by The Guardian.

Capital of Culture – key facts
  • Liverpool was the last UK city to hold the title. The Liverpool 2008 year as European Capital of Culture created a £750 million boost for the local economy and attracted 9.7 million visitors to the city. Opinion surveys showed an 85% increase in satisfaction from local residents when asked if they liked living in the city.
  • The competition can only be hosted by the UK five times per century.  Liverpool and Glasgow (1990) are the only other UK cities to hold the title.
  • The Leeds bid is being led by an Independent Steering Group which has cross party support from Leeds City Council. Leeds City Council is already a minority funder of the bid with commercial partners and sponsorship contributing to the cost of bidding.
  • The bid process takes four years with Leeds starting conversations about bidding in 2014 and expecting a decision in 2018.
  • The competition is delivered by the European Commission but not specifically for EU Countries. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are all outside of the EU and have all hosted successful European Capitals of Culture. The competition is administered in the UK by the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS).
  • Two cities host the competition each year. In 2023 one UK city and one Hungarian city will host the title. Current European Capitals of Culture are San Sebastian in Spain and Wroclaw in Poland.

Find out more by visiting leeds2023.co.uk.

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