Here’s how York’s cultural revolution will put city on the international stage

editorial image
Have your say

Ambitious Plans to raise a historic city’s profile as a European tourist destination will be set out at a meeting of hundreds of business leaders today as plans are to be announced to promote its burgeoning cultural sector alongside centuries-old heritage.

Make it York, a company launched to drive economic growth and cultural activities in the city, will bring together experts from the tourism, creative and technology sectors at the event.

Those at the annual stakeholder meeting will hear from Sean Bullick, who was appointment as the organisation’s managing director in January after he helped make landmark city centre improvements in the North-East as the head of Newcastle NE1 Ltd.

Martin Boisen, who has worked in marketing projects in Amsterdam, Oslo and Utrect, will also be at the event after his firm Love of Place was hired to boost York’s image. Make it York is working with York Council on a seven-year development plan which aims to make sure York is internationally recognised for its arts and cultural attractions.

The Cultural Strategy, which was agreed in February, has identified opportunities to bring in £3.4m of external funding to the city by 2025.

Make it York’s managing director Mr Bullick said: “By 2025 York’s ambition is to be internationally recognised for its unique interface between exceptional heritage and contemporary art.

“We need to build on York’s strengths but also dial up the city’s vibrancy and creativity to help ensure there is a wow factor here 365 days of the year. Our role is to increase the city’s economic prosperity and contribute to its wider well-being.

“By putting culture at the heart of what we do, we’ll encourage collaboration, inward investment and crucially encourage creative minds.”

Today’s event follows an increase in the number of visits to York’s attractions to 3.4m during 2018, up by almost 300,000 on the previous year.

The launch of Visit York’s new tourism website saw a 30 per cent increase in online traffic.

York was named Best Place to Live by The Sunday Times and was praised by national food critics including Giles Coren. Successful events in the city include the Great Yorkshire Fringe, a festival of comedy, music and theatre held in July.

York’s status as a UNESCO City of Media Arts Status was also celebrated at the inaugural York Mediale, which became the UK’s largest ever media arts festival.

Make it York took over responsibilty for drawing visitors to the city in April 2015.

Its chairwoman Jane Gibson said: “With Sean at the helm, and with his wealth of experience in developing cities, helping them punch above their weight, what better time for York to mobilise those skills and connections.”