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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 02:26 GMT
Cities aim for culture shortlist
Inverness skyline
Inverness is among those with high hopes for 2008
Twelve cities across the UK are waiting to hear if they have made it onto the shortlist of six candidates to be European Capital of Culture in the year 2008.

The successful bids will be announced on BBC Radio 4's Today programme at 0830 GMT on Wednesday.

The eventual winner will be announced by the prime minister in the spring of next year.

The UK's last City of Culture - Glasgow in 1990 - saw a massive increase in tourism as a result of winning the title.

The 12 bidding cities
Belfast
Birmingham
Bradford
Brighton & Hove
Bristol
Canterbury and East Kent
Cardiff
Inverness and the Highlands
Liverpool
Newcastle and Gateshead
Norwich
Oxford

The European Union (EU) has designed the Capital of Culture programme to replace the City of Culture status which began with Athens in 1985.

The first "Capital" will be Cork in the Republic of Ireland in 2005, followed by Patras in Greece in 2006 and Luxembourg a year later.

Each member country of the EU has been awarded the status on rotation for the years up to 2019, meaning a UK city will definitely be the culture capital in 2008.

Final ratification of Britain's nomination will made by the EU in December next year.

Further campaigning

A 12-person committee has visited the competing cities and has drawn up the shortlist.


A young, prosperous and vibrant city full of character and atmosphere

Cardiff's 2008 website
It is chaired by the former General Director of the Royal Opera House Sir Jeremy Isaacs, with ex-BBC presenter Sue MacGregor and Judith Mayhew from the Corporation of London as the deputy chairs.

The committee will also make recommendation on the eventual winner to the Department of Culture.

Before that happens, the shortlisted cities will be visited again and have a chance to expand on their proposals.

Financial benefits

A recent poll showed that Birmingham had the greatest backing among the public, with Cardiff close behind and the joint Newcastle and Gateshead bid in third.


Full of architectural wonders, stunning vistas, unique cultural icons, attractions and institutions

Liverpool's 2008 website
The rivalry between the cities has been fierce, owing to the benefits previous holders of the title have received.

In 1990, Glasgow reported a 40% increase in attendances to theatres, museums and art galleries.

It was also estimated that over its time as City of Culture, Glasgow netted an additional 14m and created 5,500 jobs.

The shortlisted cities are automatically given the title of 'Centres of Culture' which can help them secure European and lottery funding.

See also:

05 Aug 02 | N Ireland
17 May 02 | UK
10 May 02 | UK
03 May 02 | UK
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