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Why are we bidding?

By becoming European Capital of Culture for 2023, Leeds will be recognised as a global leader in culture, creativity, community and innovation.

It will secure millions of pounds worth of extra income for the economy, which we can invest in our people and the city’s future. It will give us the opportunity to use creativity and culture to transform our city.

We want Leeds to be a city where we all have a voice. A community where we can share what excites us while also talking openly about our concerns. A city that’s aware of its place in the world.

We are a multicultural city of 767,000 people. That’s three quarters of a million people with differing ideas, priorities and points of view. Creating a shared culture that we can all get behind and feel part of is challenging!

Cultural activities allow us to laugh together, cry together, sing together, dance together. They unite us. Our personal tastes may differ, but art and culture has the ability to make us question ourselves, open up to new experiences and learn from others, creating bonds we never knew possible.

The Leeds 2023 bid is being run in tandem with the creation of a new Culture Strategy for Leeds 2017-2030. This joined-up approach will ensure that everyone can feel empowered to have their say, and whether we win or lose the bid, the learning and outcomes will form a cultural legacy for the city for years to come.

Our wish to become European Capital of Culture is not a whim, it is our commitment to a programme that has a proven, demonstrable precedent for improving the cultural, social and economic fortunes of its chosen host cities. The benefits are not just felt in the year of holding the title, but provide a legacy, empowering cities to improve and grow continuously for years to come.