Aberdeen formally submits bid to be UK City of Culture in 2017

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Aberdeen has formally submitted its bid to be UK City of Culture in 2017. The team behind the bid believe they’ve made a compelling case.


Bid Manager Rita Stephen said: “Bidding to be UK City of Culture gives us the chance to start talking loudly and proudly about Aberdeen and its rich mix of cultural activities.

“It can help us get more people in the city taking part in cultural activities and help make the North East a more attractive place to live and work. We’ve been told that the energy industry needs 120,000 additional workers to consolidate the North-east’s position as a truly global energy hub. Increasingly people are looking at a city’s cultural offering before they move. We have to make sure that Aberdeen’s cultural offering is as strong as possible”.

As part of the process a Bid Team was formed to write the city’s bid.

The Bid Team have spent the last few months talking to artists, audiences and young people in Aberdeen to find out what they would want to see in the city’s year of culture in 2017.

The responses have included people asking for more opera, more dance, more music, more theatre, more use of empty spaces, more large-scale events and more opportunities to get involved.

The concept for the city’s bid is ‘Illuminating the North’.

The team have promised to use the UK City of Culture title to show off the incredibly talented people living and working in the city and to bring more productions and opportunities to Aberdeen, and have been supported by all 43 Aberdeen city councillors.

Deputy Council Leader Marie Boulton said: “Aberdeen already is a city of culture. Our art gallery is easily the finest provincial gallery in the country. We’re the city that has given the world Emeli Sande, Annie Lennox, Michael Clark, David Rintoul and many others.

“Being UK City of Culture would mean that Aberdonians would have new, incredible opportunities to get involved in the arts.

“Getting young people to take part in music lessons and amateur dramatics and dance classes doesn’t just help us create the next generations of Emeli Sandes, David Rintouls and Michael Clarks, it helps us create the next generation of audiences. It also helps us create a more vibrant and creative city.”

Lord Provost Councillor George Adam said: “An incredible amount of work has gone into this bid. What’s important is that we don’t waste all that effort and that we don’t waste the enthusiasm this bid has generated.

“Whatever the Department for Culture, Media and Sport decide in this process, Aberdeen City Council has committed to a year-long celebration of culture in Aberdeen in 2017.”

The deadline for the bid was midnight on Wednesday 30 April. A judging panel chaired by Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond will asses all the bids. Part of that assessment may involve a visit to the city by the panel. The shortlist is expected to be announced in early June.

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