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08 Sep 2015

Leeds kicks off its bid for the European Capital of Culture 2023 with steering group announcement

Peter Lowes

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First UK city to announce plans to bid for European Capital of Culture

As Leeds firmly throws its hat into the ring for the European Capital of Culture 2023 title, Leeds City Council announces the cultural heavyweights and community voices heading up the steering panel to lead the bid.

Made up of a diverse mix of figures from the local arts, culture, community, business, education and political sectors, the group will be chaired by Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of the city’s renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre, with members including Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse, James Brining and Leader of Leeds City Council and Executive Board Member for Economy and Culture, Councillor Judith Blake amongst others.

The 14-strong panel will drive and shape the eventual bid, deciding how to showcase the very best of Leeds to the judges and ensuring the whole city has the opportunity to share ownership of the bid.

Cities in the two host countries, UK and Hungary, will be in competition for the title in 2023, during which the winning city will host a range of cultural events with a strong European theme.

The last UK cities to hold the title in the UK were Liverpool in 2008 and Glasgow in 1990; campaigns that kick-started extensive regeneration and a boom in the culture and creative sectors within each city.

The launch of the bid steering group at Chapel FM in Seacroft on Tuesday 8th September 2015, will introduce the panel and its members, with an overview of the European Capital of Culture competition, the work involved for the Leeds 2023 Steering Group and an opportunity for media interviews.

Members of the bid steering group:

  • Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre – Independent Chair
  • James Brining, Artistic Director/Chief Executive of West Yorkshire Playhouse – Artistic Chair
  • Anita Morris, Managing Director of Anita Morris Associates – Communications and Marketing Chair
  • Nicola Greenan, Director of East Street Arts – Community Engagement Chair
  • Godfrey Worsdale, Director of the Henry Moore Foundation – Finance Chair
  • Anamaria Wills, CEO, Executive Director and Founder of CidaCo – European Chair
  • Frank Finlay, Professor of German language at the University of Leeds
  • Mohammad Dastbaz, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of the Arts, Environment and Technology at Leeds Beckett University
  • Selina Thompson, Artist and performer based in Leeds
  • Karen Sewell, Partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP
  • Kenneth Tindall, freelance Choreographer and retired Principle Dancer with Northern Ballet
  • Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, Executive Board Member for Economy and Culture and Ward Councillor for Middleton Park
  • Councillor Dan Cohen, Ward Councillor for Alwoodley & Culture lead for Conservative Group
  • Councillor Stewart Golton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Leeds City Council and Ward Councillor for Rothwell

Press Contact

Leanne Buchan

0113 378 7908