Leeds 2023 global culture hub bid wins top international award

Coun Judith Blake (left) at the awards ceremony
Coun Judith Blake (left) at the awards ceremony
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AN AMBITIOUS bid to make Leeds a global cultural hub has been recognised with a top international award.

The Leeds 2023 bid scooped the prestigious Eurocities prize for co-operation after wowing judges at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh.

Judges were impressed with the pledge from Leeds to harness culture and creativity to transform the city’s economy.

The bid was originally drawn up in an effort to win the title of European Capital of Culture,

It saw organisations across the city forge new partnerships and collaborate on a programme of events, activities and initiatives.

But The European Commission ruled last November that no British city would be able to hold the title of European Capital of Culture after Brexit.

Despite that setback, the city came together and vowed to develop a transformational, five year cultural investment programme.

The programmed will culminate in a high profile international arts festival in 2023.

Awarding Leeds the prize for cooperation, judges said: “Leeds 2023 harnesses both the massive city-wide cooperation and overarching ambition behind the bid – to transform Leeds’s cultural landscape and the city’s economy using culture and creativity.

“The city is continuing to take the inclusive community and partnership approach that characterised its bid as it sets about this task by, among many other activities, co-creating cultural proposals with people in the most deprived areas and deepening European and international connections.

“Brilliant things can come from a tenacious spirit and collaboration.”

Leeds City Council leader, Coun Judith Blake said: “It’s an incredible honour to see Leeds 2023 rewarded for its work bringing people and organisations across the city together and unifying them behind a truly transformative common purpose.

“This application showed how the spirit of collaboration around a single over-arching ambition, along with a shared enthusiasm for our city’s culture has been at the heart of Leeds 2023 from the outset.

“To see that recognised with this award is a huge endorsement not only for what we have achieved together so far, but for everything we’re striving to accomplish over the next few years.”

The evolution of Leeds 2023 continued earlier this week with the announcement that media executive and former journalist Ruth Pitt will head up the new Leeds 2023 Trust.

She recently played a key role in the successful bid to bring Channel 4 to Leeds,

Ms Pitt will now spearhead the creation of an ambitious £35m cultural programme of events and activities over the next five years.

She will formally take up her new role in April 2019.