‘Once-in-a-generation’: Plans for culture in Leeds laid out

Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre, a ballet by Cathy Marston. Photo Emma Kauldhar
Northern Ballet's Jane Eyre, a ballet by Cathy Marston. Photo Emma Kauldhar
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Ambitions to make Leeds a cultural focal point for the whole of Europe will be discussed during a meeting of the city’s decision-makers.

Leeds City Council’s executive board gets together on Monday, July 17 to consider three reports which are hoped to shape the city’s cultural scene until 2030 – including an update on the bid to be named European Capital of Culture in 2023.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said: “There’s no doubt that this is the most exciting time for culture in Leeds in living memory and it’s vital that, as a city, we do all that we can to put culture and the arts at the heart of everything we do both now and in the future.

“By setting out a clear strategy, we can give our incredible network of communities and cultural organisations an environment in which to grow, connect with each other and stimulate creative change all across Leeds.”

Members will also review a report for the Leeds Culture Strategy 2017-2030, which sets out the principles of how culture can be put at the heart of the city’s future.

It was built following hundreds of city-wide conversations, which the council said took in a diverse cross section of communities, businesses, cultural organisations and individuals.

Finally, the executive board will be asked to approve a revised, four-year arts@leeds programme aimed giving arts organisations the chance to apply for more flexible funding and giving them greater scope to support both the culture strategy and the 2023 bid.

Coun Blake added: “This is Leeds’s moment – when we are coming together with a unified purpose to take this once-in-a-generation chance to become a national and international cultural leader. By having the vision, courage and commitment to take these important steps now, we will not only give our 2023 bid the best possible chance of success but also set tone for the way we think and talk about culture in Leeds for many years to come.”

City leaders say that holding the 2023 title would not only raise its international profile, but also attract increased tourism, investment and job opportunities – Liverpool brought more than £750m into the economy and 34 per cent more visitors from hosting in 2008.