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Fresh details revealed in bid to put Dundee at heart of first-of-its-kind global culture festival

John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council with the Dundee 2023 bid brochure.
John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council with the Dundee 2023 bid brochure.

Fresh details have been revealed of an ambitious plan to put Dundee at the centre of a first-of-its-kind global culture festival.

City leaders hope to launch the six week Creative Cities World Festival in the run up to the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe in summer 2022.

The event, which has already received the backing of Unesco, would seek to attract visitors from all 180 cities across 72 countries in its Creative Cities network and become a showcase for each location.

Dundee could become centre of “even more ambitious” global festival after Capital of Culture disappointment

Under the plans, a ‘window on the world’ programme would showcase global collaborations, including one-off events and residencies.

A programme of major popular performances would also take place at key venues throughout Dundee with “weekend spectaculars” broadcast live to generate maximum audience attendance and international coverage.

A ‘world village’ would be in residence throughout the duration of the festival to provide a space for visiting cities to showcase aspects of their culture, food and drink.

Organisers hope it will “stimulate initiatives between cities, strengthen global cultural activities, and help develop hubs of creativity”.

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander, who used a meeting of Unesco city leaders in June to pitch the proposal, said the reaction had been extremely positive.

He said: “What we’re offering is a blueprint, we would be the first city to ever host this kind of event. We will then give Unesco that blueprint and it will roll out across all of the other cities in the network.

“But to be the first to host a global cultural event is no insignificant thing, particularly when you consider what’s happening in the city at the moment with the V&A. We need to continue to build that momentum and showcase what Dundee is all about.”

Unesco culture festival could springboard Dundee onto global stage, says council leader

It is expected the first festival in 2022 would be based in Dundee and feature a mix of live performances, film screenings, outdoor events, exhibitions and talks, as well as an international youth culture summit.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop voiced her support for the plans and described the event as “a landmark global moment that will highlight the power and potential of placing creativity at the heart of development plans.”

She said: “As the first UK city to be recognised as a Unesco City of Design, Dundee is already an international success story.

“I welcome that its ambition to host the festival in 2022 seeks to create further opportunities to share, collaborate and to celebrate transformative power of creativity with the rest of the world, while learning from others.”

Matthew Lodge, the UK’s ambassador to Unesco, said the body was “delighted to endorse this exciting proposal and looks forward to working with Dundee and the other UK Creative Cities to bring it to fruition”.

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