You may have heard that Leeds has made the bold decision to throw its hat into the ring and bid for the title of European Capital of Culture for the year 2023. This will be a competition between us and other UK cities, such as Milton Keynes and Dundee, and others yet to be announced. There won’t just be a UK Capital in 2023, as during the same year a Hungarian town or city will hold the title too.
What this means for cities like Leeds is that we are currently working our way through a set of criteria, established by the European Commission, against which our bids will be judged. We are trying to understand their meaning and how we could best meet them in our bid. One of the most important criteria is the “European dimension”, which asks us to set out how Leeds will deliver a year long artistic programme of European significance, using culture to address key European issues and attracting a wide European audience to events involving partners from across Europe, and beyond.
As I begin to immerse myself in the European dimension as part of the Leeds2023 bid team, I find myself working alongside a group of incredible people from Leeds’ rich cultural sector, who already do amazing work in Europe. Work which forms the foundations for a strong European dimension for the Leeds2023 bid.
Karen Watson is the co-founder and Director of East Street Arts and is currently working on a Creative Europe funded project with partners in Lille and Ghent which combines art and sport.
And Wieke Eringa is from Yorkshire Dance and has just come back from an exhilarating meeting of Aerowaves Spring Forward – a conference and showcase of contemporary dance.
I invite you to read their Leeds2023 blogs and to get a feel for the European dimension.