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Any questions?

Bidding for European Capital of Culture is exciting and lots of people have lots of questions. Here’s a few that we think you might find useful but if there’s anything that we’ve missed head over to our Hello! Page and let us know.

What is European Capital of Culture?

It’s an international competition that aims to bring cities closer together and share learning as many cities struggle with the same big issues such as a changing demographic, welcoming new migrants, retaining a local identity, dealing with climate change or bridging divided communities and reducing poverty. The competition uses culture to explore big issues like these and create new international partnerships and collaborations.

Each year two or three countries host the title. In 2023 a UK city and a Hungarian city will become hosts.

Is it the same as Hull 2017?

No. Hull 2017 is the host of a similar UK only competition. Leeds is bidding for European Capital of Culture which was last held in the UK by Liverpool in 2008 and Glasgow before that in 1990. The competition rotates countries each year so there are only five chances per century for the UK to host the title.

Who gets to decide who wins?

The panel is made up of around thirteen judges. Two can be nominated from each of the host countries for that year. In 2023 two Hungarian representatives and two UK representatives, who can be nominated by the Department for Culture Media & Sport, may join the panel. The remainder of the panel are policy makers, academics, researchers and cultural professionals from across Europe.

But we aren’t going to be in the European Union anymore so how can we bid?

We were worried about that too, but on the 16th December 2016 the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) announced that the UK would fulfil its obligation to host the competition as it will still be a member of the European Union (EU) until at least 2019 and will therefore participate as a full member.

The competition is administered by the European Union and its associated bodies but it is not exclusively for EU member states. Norway, Iceland and Switzerland have all hosted the title in the past but are not members of the EU.

Who will benefit if Leeds is crowned European Capital of Culture 2023?

Everyone in Leeds, the surrounding region, our partners across the North, Europe and across the world!

Hosting the title will mean increased inward investment, employment opportunities, international profile, and tourism. When Liverpool hosted the competition in 2008 it estimated a return of £750million to the local economy and increased the number of residents who were proud to live in Liverpool by 82%.

The title is an international title delivered at a local level. We won’t be successful if our bid focuses solely on the city centre, it has to focus on the whole city. The benefits will also extend into the surrounding region. Leeds is the only city bidding for the title in the North of England so there’s an opportunity to share this with our friends in the north. We have to make new friends with European and international partners and we have a lot to share with them and their communities so hopefully they will benefit too.

How can I get involved?

We want the whole city involved in creating, making and delivering a successful bid and year as host. You can start really small by using the logo to show your support and following us on social media, or you can play a more active role submitting ideas for the programme, joining roadshows, or hosting your own events and discussion groups. We made a handy section full of ideas for how you can make your mark on the bid over in our Get Involved section.

Isn’t bidding really expensive? Who pays?

We approach the competition as an investment in the future of our city, for its economic benefit and job creation as well as the social and cultural benefits.

The creative and cultural industries has been valued at £71.4bn. It accounts for 5.2% of the UK economy and is its fastest growuing sector. It now accounts for 1 in 18 of all jobs.  The individual life chances of one or two children in every Leeds classroom – from Wetherby to East Ardsley and from Guiseley to Ledsham – are inextricably linked to the strength of the creative sector in Leeds in 2023 and beyond. We not only need to attract creative and cultural businesses but to also retain the very best talented young people.

The cost of bidding is being split between by Leeds City Council (mainly staffing costs), our three Universities, our Further Education establishments, Leeds Business Improvement District and our increasing number of private sector sponsors. Evidence from past host cities suggest it is much harder to attract support for the bidding process than when a city has won – so we are really delighted with this show of support.

What about the year itself?

The estimated cost of hosting is based upon research and advice from other cities, both UK and European. In the current financial climate all competing cities considering a bid for this title will seek to minimise costs and maximise the benefits as much as possible. The current guidance states:

“Budgets for European Capitals of Culture vary considerably; recent programmes…have ranged from 20m to over 80m. At the bidding stage it is unrealistic for exact projections of future funding sources. The bid book must have a realistic budget, with enough information to show the degree of certainty on each budget line.”

If Leeds wins there would therefore be a minimum budget of €20million to host the title, with funding raised from a range of sources.  These would be likely to include Leeds City Council, Arts Council England, Lottery distributors, the education sector, private sector sponsorship (local and national), trusts and foundations, earned income and philanthropy.

The final budget for the Leeds 2023 is still under development and is being actively discussed with partners

When will we know who has won the title?

Leeds will submit a first stage bid by October 27th 2017. If our bid is short-listed we will receive feedback from the judges and be asked to resubmit in Spring 2018 with a final decision expected in Autumn 2018.

What is our competition?

Any city can bid. The ones that we know about for certain so far are Belfast, Derry & Strabane, Milton Keynes, Dundee and Truro/Cornwall but there could be others.