Losing City of Culture bidders to continue regeneration

As Derry prepares to start its tenure as UK City of Culture in 2013 following a successful bid (pictured), the unsuccessful cities of Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich have vowed to continue with large parts of their cultural and social regeneration programmes, set out in their submission bids.

Sheffield has overhauled its brand following its failed bid. Iris, which designed the bidding documents, has worked on a new identity for the city, originally used in the bid. This identity is now being used for various cultural events, including Sheffield Food Festival and the Tramlines Music Festival which launches in September.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Birmingham Cultural Partnership, Councillor Martin Mullaney, says, ’We may not have the title, but rest assured
we will continue to be a city of culture.’ Mullaney promises ’a very tangible outcome’ from the cultural strategy developed for Birmingham’s bid.

He says the city will benefit from the new Library of Birmingham which has been designed by Dutch architect Mecanoo and is being branded by Birmingham group KLM, and a new wing of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with interiors by Redman Design. Norwich is promising that it will continue with its cultural programme.

Arts organisations The Garage, Future Projects and Norfolk & Norwich Community Arts will establish a consortium to develop the arts by bidding for funding. Norwich Council says it will invest in promoting tourism and use its bid experience to develop cultural activity over the next ten years.

Derry Council refused to comment on the potential design briefs and tenders which may arise from its bid. The city was selected by a Government-backed advisory panel which recognises Derry’s strong digital economy. Phil Redmond, chairman of the selection panel, says, ’The programme suggested was impressive, as were the plans for community engagement, economic investment and the development of digital technology.’

Martin McLoughlin, director of consultancy Studio McLoughlin, grew up in Derry. He says, ’It is great news for the city and will certainly bring unity and much-needed employment.’ The city is known as Derry to nationalists and Londonderry to Unionists. McLoughlin says, ’For a city which can’t choose its own name, it will help bring it together.’

Consultancy Corporate Edge has carried out branding work for Northern Ireland Tourist Board to promote Derry. Client director Marcus Mitchell says, ’As a result of the brand looking at its key tourism offers in the past five years, it has shown that as a location brand it can deliver real benefits.’ Culture, heritage and tourism have been key selling points, according to Mitchell, who says his consultancy also did early-stage branding and positioning work for the city council.

City of Culture

  • The UK City of Culture competition was initiated by the last Government in the wake of Liverpool’s successful European Capital of Culture tenure in 2008
  • Derry beat Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich to win the bid. The cities made their final bids in May and presented to an independent advisorypanel in June

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