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City of Culture finalists enter closing bids

  • Date: 9 June 2010
  • Area: South East
Audiences brave the rain to watch dance performance 'Electric Hotel' at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2010

Audiences brave the rain to watch dance performance 'Electric Hotel' at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2010. Credit: Photo: Raphael Helle

Norwich has joined three other cities in submitting its final bid to become UK City of Culture 2013. The city was shortlisted along with Londonderry, Sheffield and Birmingham in December, with the results to be announced next month.

It was Liverpool’s phenomenal success in its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 that provided inspiration for creating a UK-specific competition. Organised on behalf of the Government by DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport), the competition will be repeated in four-yearly cycles, the second event being held in 2017.

Norwich's bid has been led by Norwich City Council in collaboration with the City of Norwich Partnership and representatives from major cultural organisations in the city. Its potential for success is boosted by its rich cultural offering which makes it a thriving hub for arts across the board. 

Broadcaster Stephen Fry said: 'The growth in the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, the establishment of the Writers’ Centre Norwich, Norwich as a City of Refuge [for refugee writers], the bid for UNESCO City of Literature and many other initiatives are all signals of the effects of the City of Culture bid which has started to change perceptions of the city.'

Stephen joins a number of local public figures who are backing the bid, including renowned author Amit Chaudhuri, and Spooks star Miranda Raison.

The winning city could attract funding from organisations such as Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition it will be designated as host to a series of major cultural events including the Booker Prize, the Mercury Prize, and the Stirling Prize.

According to a report by Liverpool Cultural Company, the European Capital of Culture title brought an estimated 3.5 million first-time visitors to Liverpool, with the local economy bolstered by £800 million as a result.

'We’re very excited by the chance to put Norwich at the centre of the UK cultural world,' say the city's bid organisers.

'We will use this process to make new connections across the city, inspire new work and develop Norwich as a true City of Culture for the 21st century.'

In the words of a recent Tweet by Stephen Fry, 'Norwich is on its way up'.

The judging panel meets in June, makes a recommendation to the Secretary of State and will announce the winner in mid July.