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We can win City of Culture title for Norwich

PUBLISHED: 12:45 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:43 02 July 2010

Mary Hamilton

Norwich can become the UK's City of Culture - as long as you help us do so. That was the message today from bosses at City Hall, as well as the Evening News, as we launched a campaign to get everyone in Norwich to back the bid to make us the first UK City of Culture in 2013.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

Norwich can become the UK's City of Culture - as long as you help us do so.

That was the message today from bosses at City Hall, as well as the Evening News, as we launched a campaign to get everyone in Norwich to back the bid to make us the first UK City of Culture in 2013.

Although Norwich City Council is leading the bid, it is keen to emphasise that it is a partnership with Norwich's artistic, creative and cultural organisations - and that it is vital for everyone to get involved.

Norwich is the early favourite for the title according to bookmakers William Hill, which puts the city at 6/4. Sheffield is second at 9/4, with Birmingham at 3/1 and Derry/Londonderry at 4/1.

And the city council is convinced that Norwich has what's necessary to pick up the prestigious title - as long as people get behind the bid.

Cultural development officer Marion Catlin said today: “What this campaign can do is get into every home and get every person across the city to help make the bid truly a bid for the whole of Norwich.

“This isn't a council bid. It's a city bid - it's for everyone. A group of people are leading it on behalf of everyone in Norwich.

“This campaign can make sure people really understand why we are bidding, what the bid is about and what advantages winning could bring to the city.”

Norwich was shortlisted for the title on February 24, alongside Birmingham, Sheffield and Derry/Londonderry, and the four cities have until May 21 to finish formulating final bids.

Details of the bid will remain a closely guarded secret until the deadline passes, but council officers said they were already working closely with creative partners around the city - and that they would welcome ideas about how to make 2013 special.

“Norwich has a fantastic grass roots culture with hundreds of groups and organisations doing fascinating things,” said Ms Catlin.

“The idea of this bid is that we will work together with talented people and build on what's already going on in the city - music, textiles, art, theatre, dance, writing, all sorts of projects.

“The other thing people can do is take pride in their city and get excited about what's possible here.

“We want to get everyone in Norwich talking about the bid, discussing ideas, and telling people about what could happen.”

The UK City of Culture competition is inspired by Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture in 2008, which brought massive amounts of public interest and investment nationally and internationally, and is still remembered for innovative art projects such as the giant mechanical spider.

The events attracted 3.5m new visitors to the city, involved every child in every school across the city, and it is estimated that for every pound invested in the year, the city's economy was massively boosted.

Although the 2013 event is limited to UK cities, it is estimated that the title could bring in up to £200m in investment at the same time as using cultural initiatives to kick-start regeneration in deprived areas of the city.

It would also attract huge numbers of visitors flocking to existing and new attractions, bringing in revenue for hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.

A number of big events including the Brit Awards, Turner Prize and Man Booker Prize could be held in the winning city, and the BBC and Channel 4 have committed to ongoing coverage of the celebrations.

Do you have an idea that could help Norwich win the 2013 City of Culture title? Are you involved with a group that wants to be part of the bid? Contact reporter Mary Hamilton on 01603 772418 or mary.hamilton@archant.co.uk.

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Official Norwich 2013 bid website

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