Norwich is among the potential candidates to become UK City of Culture - an ambition that leading representatives say will bring far-reaching benefits.
Any bid will come from a partnership of the city’s cultural organisations, Norwich City Council and the City of Norwich Partnership.
Liverpool’s reign as European Capital of Culture 2008 was a great success and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport wants to extend its legacy by enabling other UK cities to experience a similar transformation.
As a result of bidding for that honour, Norwich became a founder member of the UK Cultural Cities Network in 2003 and the Arts Council made significant investment in the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Writers’ Centre Norwich, Contemporary Art Norwich (CAN), and other cultural projects.
The enhanced profile enjoyed by the city as a result of that bid in turn brought valuable funding from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), Heritage Lottery Fund and other bodies.
Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, says: “This could be a ‘win-win’ for Norwich. When we bid to become European Capital of Culture the city got so much out of it and to be in the running to become UK City of Culture would undoubtedly help to generate bring jobs and prosperity for Norwich.”
Graham Creelman, chairman of the City of Norwich Partnership, says: “Culture is what defines a place like Norwich and we have more than most. Becoming UK City of Culture would be good for business, good for health and good for how the city feels about itself. We know from last time that just the act of bidding can bring huge benefits and we want to make sure those benefits are shared by all.”
Last year, talented youngsters from Norwich explored their city's cultural identity at a national event in Liverpool and took part in an exciting multi-media forum at St Andrews Hall as part of Portrait of a Nation. This initiative was run in conjunction with the UK Cultural Cities Network, Liverpool, Culture Company and Heritage Lottery Fund.
Now the UK City of Culture gives us the ideal opportunity to take those achievements a stage further and to further spread the message about the creativity and cultural heritage that Norwich has to offer.
Cities are being asked to submit an expression of interest and representatives were attending a meeting in Liverpool today (Thursday 10 September).
Bids will need to be submitted by 11 December, following which a small number of cities will be asked to develop full bids for the middle of May 2010.