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Leeds hoping Christmas gift will be place on shortlist for Europe’s 2023 Capital of Culture

By Zoha Shah

LEEDS HAS a nervous wait to see if it has made the shortlist of cities bidding to be the next European Capital of Culture – due to be announced by the end of the year.

The bid was closed on Friday (October 27) and an event was held in the Quarry Hill area of the city to mark the climax of weeks of celebrations.

The competing cities for the title are Leeds, Belfast, Dundee, Milton Keynes and Nottingham, but organisers are positive about the winning chances of Leeds.

Kristina Assmann-Gramberg, international relations & European dimension project officer for the Leeds 2023 team said: “European capitals of culture in the past used to be a lot about bringing in investment, but it’s changed a lot towards more of a social change in the city and bring communities together.

“There are four competitors and Leeds is the most diverse of the bidding cities. We can say to Europe, we know diversity, we can show you how it works, we can experiment how it can work better.”

A variety of activities and performances were happening all day and different events were set up to encourage people of all ages to come and celebrate.

Leeds College of Music, Northern Ballet, and Phoenix Dance Theatre held activates for people to take part in.

Kevin Lycett from Leeds country rock band The Hill Bandits, who performed at the event, said: “I’ve been very excited about the bid for 2023 ever since it started and I wanted to come along and be part of it and show support as a musician.”

Lycett believes that even if Leeds does not win the title, just by making the bid it is bringing a higher level of prominence to the city.

Liverpool which was the European Capital of Culture in 2008, claimed £750 million worth of economic impact.

Cluny Macpherson, chief officer of culture and sport at Leeds City Council said: “We have to be excited and positive without being arrogant about it, we’re the biggest bidder and that comes with some strengths some challenges.”

He said in terms of diversity there are 140 different ethnic groups and 170 different languages spoken in Leeds.

Leanne Buchan, principal officer for cultural and sports at Leeds City Council said: “I think we’ve got a really strong chance because the competition is not about how good you are, it’s about how good you want to be.”

The cities which were shortlisted will be asked to submit a second bid and the winner for title will be announced in 2018.


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