First Citizens Wish Good Fortune to European Capital of Culture Bid

Belfast and Derry’s First Citizens bade a fond farewell and good luck this morning to the #WeAre2023 bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023 which has now been submitted in time for today’s deadline

Ahead of a presentation to a 12 strong expert judging panel at the end of November, the team completed a whistle stop tour of both cities to document the bid’s journey and send off.

They’ll know by mid-December if the bid has been shortlisted, and if so, they’ll carry out further public engagement and develop a second bid submission by summer 2018. The winner will be announced later in 2018 and the preparation for a year-long programme of cultural events in 2023 will start in earnest.

Over the past four months, the #WeAre2023 team have engaged with 301 artists, had 16,000 face-to-face conversations, held 120 stakeholder engagement meetings, they’ve received 4,853 survey responses, distributed 72,500 pieces of information material, had 17 encounters with other European Capitals of Culture, engaged 75 high profile supporters, had 59 positive articles in local media and had 1.143 million impressions on their online platforms.

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Nuala McAllister said: “We’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contribute to and support our bid – across our cultural, community and business sectors, as well as a string of our best known stars.

'We’ve been really bowled over by the levels of support, enthusiasm and passion for the bid both in person and online.  There’s a huge appetite for cultural celebration here, and for welcoming the rest of Europe and the world here to explore what makes us tick – in the fields of the arts, music, sport, food, fashion and more.'

Pledges of support currently stand at over 3,000 and messages from high profile champions continue to stream in, with the latest contributors being Paul McLoone of the Undertones, Adrian Dunbar and Roma Downey.

The team is keen that support continues to grow over the next month, and is asking as many people as possible to do their bit for the bid by adding their names to the ever growing list of supporters at www.weare2023.eu/back-our-bid. It takes just a minute to click and add your e-mail address to be kept up to date with news on the bid and special events.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Councillor Maolíosa McHugh said: 'We’re very proud indeed of our bid content, especially because it conveys our personality, the richness of our identities and the creativity of our people so well. Now that it’s submitted, we need even more people to get behind the bid and show their support online before the judges grill the team on the content and our plans for making the title year a resounding success.'

Watch a short film charting the bid’s journey so far below.

You can join in the #WeAre2023 conversation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.