Birmingham City of Culture bid

By on 08/12/2009 in Culture, News

Birmingham's bid to be the UK's first City of Culture is launched tomorrow (Dec 9) with organisers predicting success could be worth a staggering £200 million to the city economy.

The bid, to be managed through the Birmingham Cultural Partnership, must be formally submitted by December 11, with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to draw up a shortlist in January 2010.

Leading cultural organisations across the city are backing the 'Big City Culture' bid and a recently launched interactive website ( is canvassing residents for their views and ideas.

Shortlisted cities will have until May 28 to submit a final bid and the DCMS will award City of Culture status to the city that can best demonstrate:

• A high quality cultural programme reaching a wide variety of audiences and a fitting legacy from Liverpool's Capital of Culture and the Cultural Olympiad in 2012
• A programme using culture to lead lasting social regeneration (including widening participation and supporting diversity)
• Significant economic impact
• Credibility, support from partners and a track record of delivery
• Clear approach to legacy and evaluation of impact
• How holding the title will be a catalyst for a step change in the local area

Chairman of the Birmingham Cultural Partnership, Cllr Martin Mullaney is confident Birmingham can produce a successful bid and believes that would significantly boost the city and the wider region.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to not only promote Birmingham but also make a real difference to people across this great city.

“So why do we want to be UK City of Culture? Well externally the title will raise our profile, promoting Birmingham to a national and international audience. Internally we would hope to increase participation in cultural activities, using culture as a catalyst for lasting social regeneration.

“The potential economic benefits are massive. Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture was worth a massive £800 million to the city region and estimates suggest UK City of Culture status could be worth up to £200 million.”

Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome, home of Birmingham Royal Ballet, added: “Birmingham has one of the strongest cultural sectors outside London, but the City of Culture title would be a huge boost in terms of profile both inside and outside the city and give us  great impetus to pull out all the stops.”


Notes to editors

City of Culture bid summary

Birmingham's bid will be managed through the Birmingham Cultural Partnership.  The BCP is part of the Be Birmingham framework and includes the likely major public sector funders of the programme, AWM, ACE, MLA, Business Link.

Support from the wider community, including local businesses will be essential, as will private sector funding for elements of the programme.

The following arts organisations are backing Big City Culture:
• Royal Ballet
• City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
• Birmingham Rep
• Town Hall Symphony Hall
• Midlands Arts Centre
• Birmingham Opera Company
• The Drum
• Sampad
• Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
• Ex Cathedra
• DanceXchange
• The Hippodrome
• Stan’s Café
• ACE Dance
• Rhubarb Rhubarb
• Capsule.

The economic benefits of a successful Birmingham bid will be dependent on the scale of the programme offered and the successful marketing of the year.  Some of the reported impacts of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture were:
• 1 million hotel beds sold
• 3.5m new visitors
• 15 million cultural visits
• 63% of population visiting a museum or gallery (this is a national indicator, the UK average is 54%, the Birmingham figure is 44%)
• 67,000 children involved
• 160,000 community participants
• £200m global media value
• £800m economic benefit to the City Region
• Culture in the wider sense is included, although major sports events will not be part of the programme.

For further information, please contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501/ 07920 750004.

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Lee says:

    In 2007 Birmingham City Council withdrew a long standing subsidy to “Birmingham Artists” an artist led organisation in the city. The subsidy allowed Birmingham Artists to rent affordable studio space, enabling them to deliver numerous projects, educational and art activities for the city. These were the only studios supported by the council, at affordable rents, and were purpose fitted by the council in order to support artists. Other cities do the same, but Birmingham now stands out as the city not support artists in this way!
    The artists themselves contribute enormously to the creative fabric and industries in this city. They and a huge network of supporters fought for a long time to keep the council’s subsidy, but despite this support they met complete disinterest from the council. The studios they rented, paid rates on and had to move out of remain empty to this day!

    I think Birmingham City Council has a nerve to apply for “City of Culture” after treating grass roots artists in this way.

    I ask all Artists; watch the City of Culture bid, raise your concerns, ask “does Birmingham really deserve this after the way they have treated artists in Birmingham”? In my opinion, NO WAY!

  2. Tom Pointon says:

    Agreed with Lee. City should not be bidding for City of Culture until it gives some proper support to the grassroots organisations such as one I m involved with, Birmingham International Film Society. We ve been putting on foreign language and independent films at library theatre on a weekly basis since MAC closed. My e mails about this to various individuals at the council go unanswered. Theres a history in this city of failed attempts to establish an art house cinema in an easily accessed city centre location. When the council supports a decent independent cinema as happens in Nottingham, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh to name just four then it should bid.

  3. mick says:

    something birmingham seriously needs to address is artsfest.
    here we have an arts festival where none or the majority of artists , dancers and musicians are not paid.
    this undermines the notion that birmingham cares about culture.
    funding should be found to pay the artists, musicians and dancers perhaps then we will know that birmingham city council does care about culture.