Your city needs you - Leeds bid for Capital of Culture 2023

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The city of Leeds officially launches its bid to be crowned the ‘European Capital of Culture 2023’ today.

It is calling on communities, organisations and individuals from across the city to submit their ideas for how to showcase the very best of Leeds to a panel of international judges.

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A new website will give anyone in the city the opportunity to share their ideas for cultural and creative projects which could help the city claim the crown.

And the city’s network of arts organisations along with businesses, schools, colleges and universities are also being hailed as the key to success.


Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 independent steering group said: “Today marks one of the most exciting milestones so far in our journey towards 2023 as we officially throw the bid open to the people of Leeds and ask them to tell us what they would like to see in a 365 day cultural programme.

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“It has always been our ambition that people living and working in Leeds feel the bid is truly collaborative, that it belongs to them and they’ve been given a chance to shape and influence it each step of the way.

“That’s because we feel passionately that it’s those people at the heart of our communities who are best equipped to articulate the creativity and energy that makes Leeds a place where culture in all its many different forms can grow and flourish.”

Today’s launch also comes as the city officially announces that a trio of Leeds based producers, Collective 23, will be bringing together the proposed programme of events for 2023.

They will pool their skills and connections to bring together a potential artistic programme to submit for the first stage of the bid and it will incorporate the ideas and suggestions from the city’s creative sectors.

The new website also includes a short film featuring different Leeds locations to inspire communities to dream big and imagine what the city could achieve in 2023.

Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The people of Leeds will be the real driving force behind making this bid the success we know it will be. Their ideas and enthusiasm which will make all the difference.

“We know the sheer scope, scale and originality of the work going on in communities in Leeds each and every day and the challenge is to work alongside those communities to bring their efforts to life for the rest of the world.”

For more details about getting involved visit:


The European Capital of Culture bid can only be hosted by the UK five times per century and was last hosted in 2008 when Liverpool won the title.

Prior to this Glasgow is the only other city to have won the competition in 1990.

The bid process takes four years with Leeds starting conversations about bidding in 2014 and expecting a decision in 2018.

The bid is being led by an Independent Steering Group which has cross party support from Leeds City Council.