THE leader of Dundee City Council today claimed there has been an “absolutely fantastic” response from citizens backing Dundee’s drive to win the coveted City of Culture title in 2017.
Councillor Ken Guild spoke of his delight at the response from the Dundee public as the Dundee Partnership prepared to submit its official bid document in time to meet the 30 April deadline.
Dundee is one of eleven British cities and communities competing for the title. Also chosen for the long list of contenders are Aberdeen; Chester; East Kent, Hastings and Bexhill on Sea; Hull; Leicester; Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton; Southend-on-Sea, and Swansea Bay.
It was announced earlier this month that Hollywood star Brian Cox, television presenter Lorraine Kelly and traditional singer Sheena Wellington have been appointed Dundee’s City of Culture Champions to spearhead the city’s culture campaign.
Councillor Guild, chair of the Dundee Partnership, confirmed today that the views of the public about the city, generated through the “WeDundee” website, were being included in the bid document.
He said: “The reaction to our bid has been absolutely fantastic. There has been a huge level of enthusiasm expressed for Dundee to become City of Culture.”
Councillor Guild continued: “From the outset, we were keen that this should be a people’s bid, based on the strong partnerships that already exist and to build a cultural legacy for the city.
“Everyone involved in the development of the bid is impressed by the energy and commitment that has contributed to what I believe is an excellent case for Dundee.
“Culture in Dundee is about participation by communities, about people taking part in activities, about creativity and diversity across the city.”
He added: “We are also grateful to Sheena Wellington, Brian Cox and Lorraine Kelly for agreeing to be our bid champions. Their efforts have given our bid an extra dimension.”
A city council spokesman explained: “A bid development group has been putting together the city’s case. This builds on the strengths of Dundee’s cultural sector including the upcoming V&A at Dundee, Dundee Rep Theatre with its national awards and pioneering community programme, the popularity of Dundee Contemporary Arts with its cutting edge exhibits and programme of international cinema, along with the award-winning McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and museum, which has been working closely with the V&A hosting exhibitions in the lead up to the new building.
“The universities of Dundee and Abertay, Dundee College, Dundee Heritage Trust and a range of local organisations and groups are also in the culture city spotlight.!
The bid documents from the eleven cities and communities competing for the title will be considered by an independent advisory panel, chaired by Phil Redmond, creator of Grange Hill, Brookside and Hollyoaks, before the shortlist is announced in June.