‘Shine a light’ on Leeds cultural sector

The Leeds skyline. Pic: James Hardisty.
The Leeds skyline. Pic: James Hardisty.
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Communities across Leeds must come to together and help “shine a light” on the city’s vibrant cultural offering.

That was the message from the city’s culture chief as he aimed to kickstart a 14-year master plan to boost Leeds’s ambitious bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023.

At a meeting at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday, Cluny MacPherson, the council’s chief officer for culture, urged people in Leeds to have their say on the city’s new cultural strategy.

Mr MacPherson said: “This is a call for all people to get involved.

“We have a rich cultural sector in Leeds. Our own museums service attracted nearly 1.4m visitors last year and the art gallery was in the top five most visited attractions in Yorkshire.

“And whilst the word ‘culture’ encompasses all of those, we are also looking at how people live their lives and how people spend their time.”

A dedicated website has been created and focus groups and meetings have been held to help kick-start the conversation.

There are also plans to host a European conference in Leeds to get global support and advice.

Mr Macpherson added: “Early conversations have definitely broadened people’s scope of what we describe as ‘culture’.”

Scrutiny board member Dan Cohen added: “We don’t properly shine a light on our city’s culture and I hope this strategy can help.”

However, chair of the City Development Scrutiny Board, councillor Paul Truswell, said: “We must be careful otherwise it will be all things to all people and will have so many priorities that nothing will be a priority, and will end up going down the plug hole.”