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Next stage of European Capital of Culture bid to be unveiled in May

Leisure and Culture Dundee director Stewart Murdoch.
Leisure and Culture Dundee director Stewart Murdoch.

Dundonians will be asked to help land the European Capital of Culture title in 2023.

Stewart Murdoch, chairman of Dundee’s bid team and director of the city council’s leisure and services department, said plans on how to involve Dundee residents in the bidding process are currently being drawn  up.

Once finalised, the proposals will be unveiled during next month’s Dundee Design Festival.

Dundee must submit its completed bid for the coveted title by October this year.

If the city secured the title, it would deliver a huge economic boost to the city, creating around 1,600 jobs.

Each year the EU nominates two European Cities of Culture. In 2023 the titles will go to one city in the UK and another in Hungary.

Six British cities have already indicated they will submit bids: Dundee, Belfast, Leeds, Truro, Milton Keynes and Nottingham.

Last month the West Park Conference Centre hosted a meeting to update stakeholders on the progress of Dundee’s bid.

In a letter to attendees, Mr Murdoch said more resources are being put into Dundee’s submission.

He wrote: “The City Council management team met to discuss the way forward on April 4 and (chief executive) David Martin agreed a series of measures which would increase the resources available for the bid and which would ensure that those pulling the bid together have the capacity to compete the tasks required between now and the end of October.”

Mr Murdoch welcomed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s support for the Dundee bid but said the backing of Dundonians will play a crucial role.

He said: “We are also in the process of developing the proposed community engagement strategy with Fleet Collective and this is to be launched as part of the Dundee Design Festival a the end of May.”

Speaking at last month’s event, Theresa Blegvad, who helped Aarhus land this year’s European Capital of Culture title, said the Danish city was relying on an army of volunteers to make its programme of events a success.

The Lithuanian city of Kaunas and Esch in Luxembourg have been named as European Capitals of Culture for 2022.

Kaunas mayor Visvaldas Matijosaitis has written to Dundee Lord Provost Bob Duncan thanking him for the city’s support for its bid.

His letter stated: “I want to cordially thank all the cities that supported us in the bidding procedures, which really showed big international potential of Kaunas and contributed a lot to our success.


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