Saturday, November 17, 2012

Widespread support for Dundee to vie for UK City of Culture crown

Courier Country has thrown its weight behind Dundee's bid to become UK City of Culture in 2017.
The V&A museum and (below) DCA and the McManus Galleries would form a major part of Dundee's bid.

The national competition is set to be announced next month and city councillors will be asked to approve an official approach and the formation of a bidding team.

Councillors will consider a detailed report a week on Monday. It will highlight local cultural partnerships and stress the potential benefits that winning the title could have for the city's economy.

The potential knock-on advantages of Dundee winning the title were immediately welcomed by neighbouring local authorities.

Angus Council leader Iain Gaul said he "sincerely hoped" that the city would win UK City of Culture status.
He said: "It would be brilliant for Dundee. There would be a spin-off for Angus from this as well as from the V&A, so it would be wonderful."

Perth and Kinross Council leader Ian Miller said Dundee's bid had the authority's "full support" and that they would be backing it "to the hilt".

He said: "Dundee City Council was a staunch backer of our recent successful bid to restore city status to Perth, and we will be only too happy to return the favour and support the City of Culture bid in any way we can."

Fife Provost Jim Leishman said: "As close neighbours and partners, we wish Dundee all the very best in its bid to become the second ever UK City of Culture in 2017. We too value the positive impact that culture in all its different forms can have on driving social and economic change in our communities."

Mr Leishman added: "Given the impact this award has on visitor numbers, it could also bring significant benefits to tourism both here in Fife and in the rest of Tayside."

Dundee will face competition from a number of cities for the award, including Aberdeen, which has already put together its bidding team. Derby, Plymouth and Stoke-on-Trent are among the other cities set to enter the race.

The Dundee bid is almost certain to get approval at the policy and resources committee meeting, due to cross-party support and a relatively small financial outlay. Consultancy support to coordinate the final bid preparation will cost £15,000 spread over two financial years.

This is in stark contrast to Aberdeen, which has allocated a six-figure sum to recruit its bidding team, a move Dundee City Council leader Ken Guild said was unnecessary.

He said: "I think we have enough talent in-house at the moment to conduct a perfectly valid and effective bid. We also have a great deal to offer, perhaps more than any other city in Scotland, when it comes to a bid of this nature.

"We have described Dundee as Scotland's best-kept secret and it's time we stopped that."

If approved, the Dundee Partnership, which includes the DCA and the city's two universities, will meet before the end of the year to confirm the membership of the bid group.

The competition judges will choose a shortlist of four in the summer, with the winner announced late next year in Londonderry, the 2013 UK City of Culture.

Stewart Murdoch, managing director of Leisure and Culture Dundee, said: "We will need see how to get Dundee's communities, private, cultural and community sectors behind this and get really fired up about it.
"This is something for the whole city, not for just the cultural agencies. Five or 10 years ago, there was a cultural divide. Over the last few years, with engagement at a neighbourhood level, it has left an appetite for cultural activities that I think this bid responds to."

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