Leeds must stop being “timid” if it is to truly shine on the global stage

March 2017. Joe Taylor and Dreda Blow preview Northern Ballets new production of Casanova, at a launch event to Leeds business leaders to back the Leeds 2023 City of Culture Bid. Picture: Tony Johnson.
March 2017. Joe Taylor and Dreda Blow preview Northern Ballets new production of Casanova, at a launch event to Leeds business leaders to back the Leeds 2023 City of Culture Bid. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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Leeds council has launched a major consultation on its new cultural masterplan - which it is hoped will become “an agent of change” in stimulating a decade of economic growth and making the city a truly global economic player.

The brand new Cultural Strategy 2017-2030 is considered vital to the city’s European Capital of Culture bid for 2023, but it is hoped it will also to galvanise more imaginative efforts to address issues of poverty, housing, transport and regeneration.

And its writers believe it is time to start shouting loud and proud about what Leeds can offer to the world at large.

The draft document emphasises the need for the city to champion its cultural offer as its “greatest export”, admitting that “our international reach is undersold, our national profile is low, and our voice has often been timid”.

“Our relationship with our northern counterparts has been often more of competition than companionship,” the draft document adds.

“It is time for Leeds to look beyond its borders and be generous with the opportunities at its disposal. We must open our city up and invite the world to join us in Leeds.”

After an initial 18 month research and drafting period, the council has now launched a six week consultation asking people across the city to have their say on the expansive document, ahead of its final adoption in July.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said the ultimate aim was to present “something new, unique and truly representative”.

She said efforts had already been made to include voices and ideas of people from all different backgrounds, adding: “We now want to know if this draft strategy will be the spark that ignites a whole new exciting conversation about what culture means to Leeds.”

Have your say at http://leedsculturestrategy.co.uk/.

Sarah Champion MP

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