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Final call for project ideas for European Capital of Culture 2023 bid

05 September 2017

The deadline for submission of big ideas for Belfast and Derry’s bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 is just over 24 hours away.

Belfast City Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council are together bidding to become the UK’s designated host for the European Capital of Culture in 2023. The councils want to activate the civic energy of the region to create extraordinary ordinary cultural encounters.

The bid team has today made a final call for artists, musicians, cultural organisations and members of the public to submit ideas to be considered for inclusion in the cultural programme that will be presented as part of the bid.

Between June and August this year the councils have engaged with more than 5,500 citizens across both cities and they are keen to give people who live in the council areas a chance to get involved in shaping the initial joint bid document.

The deadline for making a Big Ideas submission is midnight on Wednesday, 6 September, 2017.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister said: “Being a European Capital of Culture celebrates not only the arts and cultural events, but it has the power to build on a range of positives in our cities and help address those issues we’d like to make better.

“We want to give the people who live in our council areas the chance to shape the bid. In order to do this, we need to know what matters to you so that we can build authentic, meaningful themes for our submission. We would love you to share your ideas, even if it is just in two sentences.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh said: “We are inviting citizens to talk with us, tell us what makes you happy and what keeps you awake at night. Your responses will shape the themes and the cultural programme of the bid. We understand that no single question can get beneath the skin of what it means to live here, but one thing we have in common is our love of talking, telling stories and listening to what each other has to say.   

“The challenge for the bid is not to look at what we can achieve today, but to imagine what is possible in 2023. Your ideas can be big in scale or in ambition, but they can also be half formed - so long as they respond to the emerging themes and have a clear European dimension.”

A series of projects will be presented within the ECoC bid book at stage one to show what our Capital of Culture bid could signify for Europe. It will aim to promote the creative potential and artistic ambition of Belfast, Derry and the region.

The bid team advises that project and programming ideas should:
­ interpret a sense of place;
­ activate civic energy;
­ pursue artistic excellence;
­ promote collaboration;
­ integrate communication;
­ identify as European; and
­ support legacy through investing in people.

The stage one bid will be submitted on 27 October 2017. In order for your idea to be considered for this stage, you can complete the form provided and return by email to [email protected]no later than midnight on Wednesday 6 September 2017.

You can continue to submit ideas after this date and we’ll keep them in mind should we get shortlisted to stage 2 or for other relevant programmes. Anyone who submits an idea will be invited to a follow up event early in 2018.