We want DUNDEE2023 to bring the city together, to connect people and places through events and amazement. We want to look outward to the rest of Europe, to make connections through our shared creativity that strengthen our ties and make us truly European.
We want our whole city and its region to be animated by this glorious year, and to feel and be a part of it. We want Dundonians to feel brilliant and not be shy about showing it. We want them to meet people they never dreamed of meeting, and to see incredible things they will never forget. We want to party in the parks, and country dance with new countries.
We want to celebrate our identity and challenge it as well – to ask where we belong, and who our neighbours are. We want a young Lithuanian to point to us on a map and say ‘that’s where my friend lives’. We want a gran in Stobswell to learn circus skills from a Hungarian teenager. We want to go beyond the city limits – literally and metaphorically.
The European Capital of Culture competition is an annual designation awarded to a city from an EU member state, allocated as part of a rolling programme. The countries hosting the designation have now been identified for the next 23 years – in 2023 both Hungary and the UK will host a Capital of Culture.
The designation will go ahead despite Brexit. Both the EU and the UK confirmed that any awards or contracts entered into during the 24-month Brexit negotiating period will be honoured even although the contract may take place outwith that period. So, it is likely to be the last time the UK will host the designation.
The designation has been likened to the cultural equivalent of hosting the Olympics or Commonwealth Games because of the effect it can have on the perception of the city and its international profile.
European Capital of Culture has been awarded since the mid 1980s and the successful cities show a distinct pattern of positive economic and social impact – usually through increased visitor numbers both during the year itself and then sustained for many years afterwards. It often results in new or accelerated infrastructure projects taking place in the host city.
Independent analysis of the impact on Dundee indicates that it could create:
There is no set cost for Capitals of Culture – it is up to each city to create a budget that it can deliver and that it believes will produce an exciting and credible programme that is worthy of the designation and representing that country internationally.
Some of the smaller cities hosting the designation have generated budgets of around €20m, some larger ones as much as €100m. Usually, Capitals of Culture generate around 25% of their budget from ticket sales and sponsorship, with the remainder coming from a variety of public sources locally and nationally, often related to strands of programming that have specific objectives that match those of the funding body.
There is no automatic award of money that follows the designation, although successful cities can bid for the EU’s Mercouri prize of €1m.
The DUNDEE2023 Bid team has produced an 80-page document – the Bid Book – which shortly be assessed by a Judging Panel of 12 (10 from EU countries, two from the UK) cultural and creative practitioners, curators and such like – not politicians or civil servants.
In November, the Judging Panel will interview the five UK cities that are competing and announce a short-list – this could be as few as two or as many as five, it all depends on the quality of submission.
The short-listed cities will be given a further period (probably 10 months) to develop the ideas and proposals in the Bid Book. During that time the Panel will visit the city.
At the end of the period the cities will present to the Judging Panel again and be interviewed, then a winner is announced. We think this is likely to be late summer next year.
The other competing cities are:
If chosen, the contents of the final Bid Book become the contract between the city and the EU. Then the hard work begins in earnest…