City of Culture 2013

Derry makes the shortlist - now for the final

Derry's bid to become UK City of Culture 2013 is moving apace with the announcement that the city on the River Foyle has been shortlisted, and will now compete with Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield for the coveted title.

Welcoming the city's success in making it to the final four, Mayor of Derry, Cllr Paul Fleming, said this achievement was a significant step forward for the city.

'This is a great statement of confidence in the city's cultural wealth and an endorsement of the commitment and effort so far,' enthused Fleming shortly after the announcement. 'We look forward to building partnerships to progress through to the final stage.'

Encouraging the public to continue to get behind the bid by registering their support on or to follow the campaign's progress on Facebook, chief executive and Town Clerk of Derry City Council, Valerie Watts added:

'Everyone has a role to play. They can share the good news with their family and friends, go online to register support, and come up with new ideas. This is a unique opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the city and for Northern Ireland.'

Derry is the regional capital of the north west of Ireland, 'an ambitious and youthful city', according to Derry City Council. 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the Plantation of Ulster and the building of the Walled City of Derry by the Livery Companies of London. Each year the city attracts over 600,000 visitors to cultural venues and generates in excess of £11 million revenue.

The aim of the UK City of Culture bid is to make culture accessible to everyone, reviving local and international cultural connections and unlocking creativity through programmes of celebration and inquiry around people, place, and past to future.

Some of the outline programme ideas include travelling exhibitions, an enhanced festival programme, a Biennale of contemporary visual arts, a series of outdoor concerts, and participation events for performance, public art and creative play.

The chief executive of Ilex Urban Regeneration Company, Aideen McGinley, concluded: 'We're in this to win. The energy and commitment galvanised by the bid process to date will now re-double in the final push to bring together in a compelling way our cultural champions, venues, organisations and artists to showcase the unique talents of the city and region.'

Derry author and journalist Garbhan Downey makes the case for his hometown to win UK City of Culture 2013 here.