Get creative - and help us bring the #Leeds2023 bid to life

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What do you get when you put the words ‘Leeds’ and ‘culture’ together?

The answer is an explosion of creativity and ideas to help bring the city’s bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 to life.

At least that’s what the people behind the #Leeds2023 bid are hoping.

The city is already well on its way to building its case to be handed the illustrious tag in seven years’ time, with initial ideas already flowing about how to build the bid and forge links with our European partners.
And now YEP readers are invited to channel their creative energies, and help create a new brand to showcase the very best of Leeds.

Leeds City Council and the 2023 independent steering group are issuing an open call to designers and creative people from all walks of life who think they can capture and communicate exactly what culture means to the city.

So whether it’s the city’s many cultural jewels and talent exports – like Northern Ballet, the City Varieties or Kaiser Chiefs – that inspire you, or if it’s the many grassroots innovations like community theatre and festival projects that get you buzzing, it’s time to harvest all that positive artistic energy for #Leeds2023.

Applicants are being asked to come up with a “visual identity” that gets across the values and ambitions of the Leeds bid and which will help raise the city’s national and international profile.

Drawing up the new branding will be a key factor in building support for Leeds locally, regionally and nationally.

Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 independent steering group, said: “This is a hugely exciting moment in the bidding process and one which we hope is going to spark the creation of something genuinely unique and exciting.

“Right from the start, our main goal has been to ensure our bid is truly inclusive and that the people of Leeds have a chance to feel part of it each and every step of the way.

“That’s why it’s so important to us that creative people from all walks of life take this chance to get involved if they think they might have an idea which could add something special to the bid.

“We feel that the right brand could make all the difference and be the catalyst that brings the bid to life for both for the people of Leeds and the 2023 judges.”

Applicants should submit a 500 word maximum 
expression of interest that explains what they know 
about culture in Leeds and their experience of working with cities to promote arts and culture.

Entrants can also submit a separate credentials document showing examples of previous work.

All entries will then be judged by members of the Leeds 2023 marketing and communications advisory group, who will draw up a shortlist of five applicants to pitch for the brief.

Everyone is eligible to apply, including freelancers, established agencies, consortiums and students.

Expressions of interest must be sent to by no later than 5pm on May 31.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This branding will play a crucial role in building momentum for our bid and will give the people of Leeds something visual and exciting to rally behind as well as helping to promote the city as a centre for culture, diversity and the arts.

“What we really want to see is something memorable and instantly recognisable which will speak loudly and clearly to people all over the world about what culture means to Leeds and its communities.

“We know that Leeds is a city full of inspiration and creativity and we’re confident that we will see some outstanding designs and ideas.”

The city’s expression of interest for European Capital of Culture 2023 is now being drawn up and will be submitted near the end of 2016, with a final bid submitted by December 2017.

The decision to bid followed a wide-ranging 14-month public consultation, which gathered the views of local communities, children and young people, cultural organisations and the city’s independent arts sector.

For more information on the European Capital of Culture 2023 bid, visit