Shortlisted – now for the final push

By on 25/02/2010 in Blog

martin mullaneyCllr Martin Mullaney, Chairman of the Birmingham Cultural Partnership and Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, reflects on the news that Birmingham has been shortlisted for the UK City of Culture accolade.

Well I've never been short of confidence in our bid - Birmingham is already a cultural capital in my opinion - but I must admit to a few butterflies as we waited to see if we had made the shortlist.

Of course we all know now that our city will battle it out with Derry, Sheffield and Norwich to be named the UK's first City of Culture in 2013.

This is a key stage in a bidding process that was launched last year. Next we must put flesh on the bones of our outline proposal. The final bid must be submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport by May 28. The winning city will be named in the summer.

So why is making the shortlist a boost for the city of Birmingham?
The benefits of winning this award will be enormous and can be summed-up as follows: 

  1. An estimated boost to the regional economy of £200 million.
  2. The creation of thousands of jobs in our growing creative sector.
  3. The winning city will be placed firmly in the national and international spotlight, meaning we can attract major sponsorship deals for cultural events. It has been estimated we could expect somewhere between £80,000-£100,000 per event.    
  4. The increased media spotlight will boost tourism in the city.
  5. The winning city will have the opportunity to host the Brit Music Award, MTV music Awards, the BAFTAs, the Stirling Prize, the Turner prize…..and so on. All these awards and events will attract people who will own national and international companies. This will be an opportunity to persuade them to invest in Birmingham.
  6. It will increase resident participation in the arts and culture. Birmingham has one of the lowest participation rates in art and culture in any major British city. The experience of Liverpool's Capital of Culture experience was that the 'buzz' made a long lasting step improvement in participation. Particularly focus will on the Hodge Hill, Perry Barr, Ladywood and Erdington constituencies where resident participation is low.
  7. It will give focus in the city to art and culture. Already this bid has made our arts team investigate ways of linking our community art organisations (eg the Drum, Kajans in Aston) to our 'beacon' art organisations (eg the CBSO, Royal Ballet Company, Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham Opera Company). We want to create the conduits so that talented youngsters in our community have links directly to our beacon organisations. For example, Elmhurst Ballet School has bursaries to educate talented youngsters in the inner city of Birmingham.
  8. Finally…..I honestly believe it will make us proud to live in Birmingham. We have diverse communities from across the globe. In preparing this bid, we are discovering arts organisations and individuals in all our communities who promote this city and make it a great place to live. The aim of winning this award is giving our communities a chance to work together for a common goal. That in itself, I believe will have long lasting benefits to our city.

I know we are all passionate ambassadors for our city and I hope the bid can now count on support from people across the city as we look to the next crucial stage.

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