Leeds Beckett Professor joins European Capital of Culture 2023 Steering group
The panel was appointed following a city-wide call to action which saw hundreds of people apply for places. The group will now be responsible for deciding how to showcase the very best of Leeds to the judges.
Professor Dastbaz said: “The decision by the City Council to put forward a bid for Leeds to be the Capital Culture of Europe in 2023 will provide the city with a unique opportunity to develop a new vision for its future, and to generate significant cultural, social and economic benefits.
“Our University has been working closely with Leeds City Council during the past 12 months and as a major educational provider for the Arts and Culture in the city. With over 3000 students on Arts and Culture courses and hundreds of academic and research staff in related areas, we will work very hard with other organisations and institutions across our region to make sure we have a successful outcome.
“I am very pleased and honoured to be selected and to be part of the Steering Group and look forward to contributing to the exciting, and at the same time challenging, task we have ahead of us.”
The Steering Group is made up of a diverse mix of figures from the local arts, culture, business, education and political sectors, and will be chaired by Sharon Watson, artistic director of the city’s renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre.
Sharon is also a trustee of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, The Place, West Yorkshire Playhouse, and an artistic advisor for Central School of Ballet and Leeds Inspired.
She said: “It’s a huge honour to be chairing the steering group and to be surrounded by so many talented and knowledgeable people as we take our first steps on the road to 2023.
“With the experience and love for the city and its culture that we've gathered here, I’m sure together we have the drive and the ambition to create a bid that will be a great representation of Leeds.
“It’s our intention to ensure 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.
“Leeds is a city with so much to be proud of and this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us all to show that to the world.”
The steering group’s inaugural meeting was held at Chapel FM in Seacroft, a radio station and community facility based in the former Seacroft Methodist Chapel, which has stood since 1874.
With the help of a number of subgroups, the main steering group will now work to agree the vision, focus and themes of the bid before it is submitted to the judging panel in December 2017.
Subgroups will focus on separate areas including cultural programming, marketing and communications, finance and fundraising, European partnerships and community engagement and will inform the main steering group.
The council’s executive board formally announced Leeds’s intention to bid for European Capital of Culture 2023 in March.
Following the appointment of the steering group, an expression of interest must now be drawn up and submitted near the end of 2016, with a final bid submitted by December 2017
The decision to bid followed a wide-ranging 14-month public consultation, which gathered the views of local communities, children and young people, cultural organisations and the city's independent arts sector.
Joining Mohammad and Sharon on the steering group are:
James Brining (Artistic Subgroup Chair), Artistic Director/Joint Chief Executive of West Yorkshire Playhouse
Anita Morris (Communications and Marketing Subgroup Chair), Managing Director of Anita Morris Associates and former Marketing Director of Photo98
Nicola Greenan (Engagement Subgroup Chair), Director of East Street Arts
Godfrey Worsdale (Finance Subgroup Chair), Director of the Henry Moore Foundation
Anamaria Wills (European Subgroup Chair), CEO, Executive Director and Founder of CidaCo
Professor Frank Finlay, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Leeds
Selina Thompson, Leeds-based artist and performer
Karen Sewell, Partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP
Kenneth Tindall, Dance Choreographer
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council
Councillor Dan Cohen, Ward Councillor for Alwoodley
Councillor Stewart Golton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Leeds City Council and Ward Councillor for Rothwell