Danish city Aarhus, the country’s second largest, will launch its year of cultural events on January 21.
And as Leeds forges ahead with its own bid for the 2023 title, a delegation from the city will join the celebrations in Denmark.
Among the party will be Matt Burman, who is heading up the programme team for Leeds 2023. He is part of a three-person collective who will put together Leeds’ proposed programme of events for 2023, and will be working alongside producers Emma Beverley and Jenny Harris. The city must submit details of 50 per cent of its proposed events schedule alongside its bid.
Matt and the Leeds delegation will attend the opening ceremonies of the Aarhus Capital of Culture 2017. They will also meet the team from Hull’s UK Capital of Culture, who have already partnered with Aarhus for a number of projects.
“We will see what a winning city is delivering and what the judges are expecting, but also what they are not expecting,” Matt said. “It will help us think about what will make us different and unique.
“We really want to think about what the ‘frame’ is - and for us it’s Leeds and its people.”
He said he and the team will work towards “putting together the most fantastic programme we can for the people of Leeds”.
“The people of Leeds will be our inspiration for this,” he said.
“We want to go round the city talking to people to find what they are imagining 2023 to look like, and what culture means to them.”
The Government confirmed last month that the UK would go ahead with launching a competition to find a UK host of the 2023 title, scotching earlier fears that the role could be scrapped by the Brexit effect.
Leeds has been working for the last three years on its bid for the title. Other places expected to be in the running include Dundee and Milton Keynes.
The city’s bid for the 2023 European Capital of Culture title will officially launch on February 23.
The deadline for a bid to be submitted is December 2017.