An ambitious collaboration with the goal of making Leeds a global cultural hub has been recognised with a top international award.
Leeds 2023 last night scooped the prestigious EUROCITIES prize for co-operation after wowing the judges with a pledge to harness culture and creativity to transform the city’s economy.
At last night’s awards, held in Edinburgh, judges in Leeds’s category were looking for cities which had demonstrated “effective partnerships between city departments, stakeholders, private partners and other cities to harness creative talent and assets to generate cultural and creative opportunities for citizens.”
Originally formed as a bid to win the title of European Capital of Culture, the Leeds 2023 project saw organisations across the city forge innovative new partnerships and collaborate on an exciting programme of events, activities and initiatives.
After the European Commission’s decision in November 2017 to cancel the UK ECoC competition, the city came together and vowed to develop a transformational, five year cultural investment programme which will culminate in a high profile international arts festival in 2023.
Awarding Leeds the prize for cooperation, judges said: “Leeds 2023 harnesses both the massive city-wide cooperation and overarching ambition behind the bid – to transform Leeds’s cultural landscape and the city’s economy using culture and creativity.
“The city is continuing to take the inclusive community and partnership approach that characterised its bid as it sets about this task by, among many other activities, co-creating cultural proposals with people in the most deprived areas and deepening European and international connections.”
Then added: “Brilliant things can come from a tenacious spirit and collaboration”
Last night was the second time in recent years that Leeds has scooped a EUROCITIES award, with the city coming top in the participation category in 2016 for its Migrant Access Project.
Accepting the award last night on behalf of the city was leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake and Cluny Macpherson, the council’s Chief Officer for Culture and Sport.
Cllr Blake said: “It’s an incredible honour to see Leeds 2023 rewarded for its work bringing people and organisations across the city together and unifying them behind a truly transformative common purpose.
“This application showed how the spirit of collaboration around a single over-arching ambition, along with a shared enthusiasm for our city’s culture has been at the heart of Leeds 2023 from the outset. To see that recognised with this award is a huge endorsement not only for what we have achieved together so far, but for everything we’re striving to accomplish over the next few years.”
The evolution of Leeds 2023 continued earlier this week with the announcement that media executive and former journalist Ruth Pitt will head up the new Leeds 2023 Trust.
Ruth recently played a key role in the successful bid to bring Channel 4 to Leeds and will now spearhead the creation of an ambitious, £35 million cultural programme of events and activities over the next five years. She will formally take up her new role in April 2019.
Below is the film we created for our award nomination, this was produced by local film companies, Studio 12 and MOJO Film.