/ Projects

Leeds 2023

What is it?
Leeds 2023 is an international cultural festival which will harness the energy, creative and momentum of our bid to be European Capital of Culture 2023. It will celebrate the cultural life of Leeds and bring the best global arts to our city.

In 2014 Leeds hosted a city-wide conversation to gather views and opinions about whether or not the city should bid for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023. The conversation took place with residents, school children, arts organisations, businesses small and large, and responded with more than 80% in favour of a bid for the prestigious international title.

Fast forward four years, there had been a major referendum of the UK's membership of the European Union, reassurances that whilst our nation may be leaving the political environment of the EU we remained resolutely European and could continue with plans for the title, and the city had its bid reflecting the hopes and ambitions of its people told through its culture. However, it wasn't meant to be and on the 23rd November 2017, the European Commission withdrew the UK's eligibility to host the title.

On the 31st January 2018, and following cross-party support to continue the work of Leeds 2023, the city announced that it would still have its year of culture in 2023. It might not be European Capital of Culture, but we will continue to forge ahead with plans to create a year of celebration in 2023, one that retains the commitment to ensuring that Leeds 2023 will be for everyone, connecting us, celebrating all our diversity and creating activity in all our communities that brings people together to watch, to listen and - of course - to take part.

Over the next 12 months the team will recast plans for the year as an intensive creative education for the future. Leeds 2023 will have children and young people at its very heart, developing their natural creativity, and preparing them to thrive in a future world of work and play which will be very different from the one we see today.

Leeds Culture Trust, a new independent cultural organisation, will oversee the delivery of the year, and reshape the focus of the artistic programme that will put on a spectacular show in 2023.

Which Leeds Culture Strategy Aims & Objectives will it deliver?

  • Become open to the cultures of the world, internationally connected, and play an active role in shaping global policy and leadership.
  • Embrace and celebrate the differences in our communities, inviting artists and thinkers from all corners of the world to sit alongside us, and find new connections with Leeds.
  • For Leeds to be nationally and internationally recognised as a liveable city, and a thriving, internationally connected cultural hub open to collaboration.

Which Leeds Culture Strategy Area of Focus does it serve?:

  • An International City of Culture

Project Contacts

Further Details

Image: Transform 17's performance of Guerrilla. Image courtesy of Transform