A citywide network of volunteers has come together for the first time as they prepare to lead the city’s bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2023.
The group of around 70 people met to get to know each other in a gathering at Leeds College of Art to discuss the next steps in the bidding process for the prestigious title.
Led by Sharon Watson, chairwoman of the 14-strong 2023 steering group and artistic director of the city’s renowned Phoenix Dance Theatre, the event included the many who answered the call to be involved earlier this year.
It also included members of the advisory groups, as well as some of the newly-appointed 2023 champions, who will play a key role as ambassadors for the bid in communities across the city. Speaking at the event, Sharon said: “There’s a hugely diverse and eclectic mix of people here today but one thing we all have in common is a passion for Leeds and a firm belief that we have what it takes to be European Capital of Culture 2023.
“There is so much happening in communities all around Leeds and we have a rich and varied cultural offering.
“Events like this give us the opportunity to discover and share what we are all proud of and make sure that the bid lets everyone showcase the very best of where they live.
“By gathering all these people together and giving them a chance to be part of this journey we can give the whole city a voice and ensure that our bid encapsulates the energy, enthusiasm and character that makes Leeds great.”
Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and a member of the main steering group, added: “It’s inspiring to see people from so many different organisations, communities and backgrounds who have been brought together purely through a shared sense of civic pride and desire to tell the story of their city.”
An expression of interest must be submitted near the end of 2016, with a final bid submitted by December 2017.