The Leicester City of Culture 2017 bid now needs to be as good as it possibly can be with competition hotting up and the approved shortlist being anything but short; it’s now an 11 horse race with all bidders gaining approval.
All of the cities (and areas – even though it is ‘City of Culture 2017′ there’s entire areas bidding for the gong) which registered their interest had until 30 April 2013 to submitt a bid to an independent advisory panel, chaired by Phil Redmond and it looks like they all did enough to ensure that they proposals offered something of true merit to get through to the second round.
Ed Vaizey said: “This is fantastic news and shows the appetite for the prestigious ‘City of Culture’ title is in healthy supply right across the length and breadth of the country. The competition brings together communities and creates economic and social benefits and I am pleased to see so many local authorities and different partners coming together. I wish all eleven the best of luck.”
All 11 places met the deadline and these are (in alphabetical order) Aberdeen, Chester, Dundee, East Kent (covering Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet), Hastings and Bexhill on Sea, Hull, Leicester, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, Southend on Sea, Swansea Bay (covering Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath, and Port Talbot).
From this, quite coastal selection of contestants (only Leicester and Chester are inland in any way and Leicester is still the black sheep out of all of them) the panel will now have to decide on the second round final shortlist in a fight to the death. Will Leicester make the cut? We’ll find out soon enough with the decision being announced in June 2013.
We looked at the Leicester City of Culture 2017 bid chances in a post recently and concluded that Leicester, although perhaps a bit of an underdog, does indeed have what it takes to steal the show and upset some of the favourites. We have the cultural landscape and language that marks us out, we have lots going on in the city and in the wider shire and we, in a wired twist of fate are the only ones not anywhere remotely near the sea. Our land locked and distinctly un-maritime credentials might actually do us a favour and allow the Leicester City of Culture 2017 bid to stand out from the crowd.
The final piece to a successful Leicester City of Culture 2017 bid is celebrity endorsement and up until recently, Leicester’s bid has been lacking high profile backers but it appears that in time with the recent successful application, Leicester’s ‘celebs’ are finally nailing their colours to the mast and we’ve got a world class one on the books!
‘National treasure’ (I’m sure anyone hates being called one of those) Lord Attenborough speaking up for Leicester saying:
“My experience and knowledge of Leicester’s rich vein of cultural and, in particular, theatrical activity goes back over 80 years – from my first stumbling steps on the stage of the Little Theatre, through to the Phoenix, the Haymarket and now Curve.
“It is why I chose to create a Centre for Disability and the Arts in Leicester and more recently decided to loan my Picasso ceramics to the city’s New Walk Museum.” For the record, his bequeathed Picasso ceramic collection is simply stunning – one of the biggest in the world and well worth a visit.
Here’s a man who knows Leicester in a very personal and real way and hasn’t just peddled out a quote about a city he has not connection with and from what many commentators are saying, he is the highest profile name to be associated with any of the bids.
So, the clock is now ticking down to June. A lot of things are going to happen between now and then, 2 of them might include Leicester City Football Club achieving promotion and Leicester Tiger’s Rugby Football Club winning the cup – both are possible. A successful Leicester City of Culture 2017 second round bid would be the icing on the cake and make it a pretty special Summer for the city.
Come on Leicester!
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