High standards needed for Norwich to become City of Culture

Mary HamiltonAs the deadline looms for Norwich's entry to become City of Culture to be submitted, MARY HAMILTON reports on the high standards the bid team must reach.Support Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid websiteMary Hamilton

As the deadline looms for Norwich's entry to become City of Culture to be submitted, MARY HAMILTON reports on the high standards the bid team must reach.

With just over six weeks left to finalise and submit Norwich's bid to be the first UK City of Culture in 2013, the bid team has a high standard to reach.

The team is keeping the details of their documents a closely guarded secret, gathering ideas from members of the public, but working in private to create the best bid possible.

The people involved have until May 21 to submit their final bid, which must deliver a high quality cultural programme that can be a worthy successor to Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 and the Cultural Olympiad in 2012.

According to the bidding guidelines, the programme must build on the city's already vibrant cultural life, involving local organisations and individuals to create a campaign unique to Norwich.

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Phil Redmond, chair of the working group, who advised the government on the City of Culture competition, said: 'One of the overriding principles of the City of Culture programme must be to celebrate not just the shared lifestyles, but the diverse interpretations of arts and literature which make up the mosaic that is the UK.

'That is how the UK City of Culture programme should inspire: instilling a sense of ambition and ownership, while sending out a clear, but simple message that wherever the 'badge of authority' is awarded, the people there are part of the UK cultural mosaic, but that they also have their own distinct culture to promote.'

Norwich must also prove that its programme will lead to a 'step change' - lasting social regeneration through wider participation in cultural events and projects, supporting diversity and helping under-represented groups to access and become involved with the city's culture.

There may be clues as to what the judging panel wants in the feedback published by the cities of Durham and Carlisle, whose bids failed to make the final cut.

Both bids were deemed strong in their use of existing culture and their ability to build on their heritage, but Carlisle's bid was criticised for failing to take full advantage of the region surrounding the city, as well as for its modest ambitions and lack of involvement of national and international artists.

Feedback given to Durham's cultural partnership said its bid was constrained by the number and size of venues and the presence of other visitor infrastructure that could restrict its ability to host large scale events - problems that Norwich may also need to solve in order to be successful.

Durham's partnership has been undeterred by their bid's failure, committing to a programme of events to enhance the city's culture in 2013 and beyond.

And with Norwich through to the final four, the bidding process itself is already celebrating the city's cultural life, raising awareness of what it has to offer, and building lasting improvements for the city by building links and improving relationships between the cultural organisations involved.

How to Back the Bid

The people behind Norwich's bid to be City of Culture in 2013 say it's vital for everyone in the city to get involved - whether it's by showing your support online, volunteering your time or talents, bringing attention to groups you already work with, or simply by spreading the word about our fine city and all it has to offer.

Here are some ways to get started:

Send your ideas or volunteer to contribute by emailing cityofculture@norwich.gov.uk.

Tell us about events, projects or groups you're involved with by calling 01603 772418 or emailing mary.hamilton@archant.co.uk.

Tell us why you're backing the bid by emailing mary.hamilton@archant.co.uk or calling 01603 772418.

Show your support and let us know about events happening where you are by joining the Norwich 2013 Facebook group at www.tinyurl.com/Norwich-2013.

Follow the Evening News Back the Bid campaign on Twitter at www.twitter.com/norwichculture.

Read more about the City of Culture bid at www.en24.co.uk/culture.

Support Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid website