HUNDREDS of supporters of Dundee’s campaign to secure the coveted UK City of Culture title gathered in the City Square today as the official bid document was given a gala send off.
Dundee is the only Scottish city shortlisted for the prestigious title in 2017 - an accolade which it is claimed could be worth up to £80 million and create up to 1000 new jobs for the city.
And at lunchtime today the bid document was electronically sent to the UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport by Bob Duncan, the city’s Lord Provost, during a celebration of words, art and music in the heart of the city.
The winner will be chosen from a four strong shortlist which also includes Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay.
A spokeswoman for the Dundee bid team said: “The bid has the full support of the Dundee Partnership and all political parties in the City Council, as well as the Scottish Government and its agencies, and is being hailed as a potential ‘tipping point’ - a chance for the city to use culture to power the momentum of regeneration that has been growing steadily over recent years.
“Dundee’s bid is constructed around themes developed from the public’s submissions and features signature events to attract an international audience; opening and closing events aimed at local people; and a series of major events throughout the year aimed at locals and the four million people who live within a two hour drive of the city.”
Lord Provost Duncan said: “This is a colourful and imaginative way to celebrate Dundee’s bid for City of Culture status. The event in the City Square really captures the spirit and enthusiasm surrounding our efforts. I would like to thank all our partners for their dedication. We want to build on our strengths to take forward real benefits for the people of the city.”
Stewart Murdoch, Director of Leisure and Communities for Dundee City Council said: “It’s been an incredible journey to get to where we are today, and a lot people need to be thanked for bringing together a bid that does the city proud, and the country too. More than ever I’ve been astonished at the level of ingenuity, imagination and genuine love of the city that thousands of people have brought us through their contributions online, their offers of support, and in conversations in shopping malls and community centres over the last 12 months.”
He continued: “This is a city that wants to UK City of Culture and can be a brilliant one. Our strengths in digital, design, music and visual art are world class - but it’s the quality and ability of our people that will bring this bid to Dundee.”
Lorraine Kelly, the television presenter who is one of the city of culture ambassadors backing Dundee’s bid, said: “The renaissance of Dundee had been remarkable. The city has such a rich culture with so much to offer.
“The V&A and waterfront development will attract visitors from all over the world and make us all even more proud to live in such a vibrant, exciting city. This is our time and Dundee deserves to be city of culture.”
The four competing cities will make final presentation to the judges in Londonderry - the current holder of the title - on 14 November. And the winner is expected to be announced the following day.
Today’s celebrations included a performance from Baldragon Academy Soul Band and a commemorative City of Culture poem recited by Dundee’s newly appointed Makar, W.N Herbert. The celebrations ended with traditional bell ringing from the Steeple Tower, Dundee’s oldest surviving building.