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Leicester inspired to bid for UK City of Culture 2017
Phoenix Square, artwork,Vanilla Galleries, Curve
Ted Cassidy feels Leicester could have a strong bid for UK City of Culture 2017

City representatives have returned from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where they have learned about its winning bid as the UK's first City of Culture.

Ted Cassidy from De Montfort University said: "It was probably the most inspiring day I've ever had."

He is now leading a campaign for Leicester to compete for the 2017 title and is hoping for local support.

"We've got things happening in Leicester. We need to bring it together," he said.

The title of UK City of Culture is intended to recognise the cultural work of the chosen city, building on the success of Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

City pride

Mr Cassidy said Leicester needed to combine its "world-class" arts buildings with an investment in retail and support from local artists.

"[Derry have] invested a huge amount in culture and their regeneration is actually led by creative industries and culture - so a lot to be learnt from what they've done."

Brendon McMenamin from Derry City Council said he felt it was important to share the story of the city with others through culture.

"It's getting that story together and its building some sort of cohesion, building a sense of pride and a sense of belonging and a sense of identity of your place."

Mr Cassidy said he would be welcoming input from artists and other Leicester residents as the 2017 bid develops.

Views from Leicester artists

Esther Simpson is co-artist director of Metro-Boulot-Dodo, an arts organisation in Leicester.

"It's a really exciting idea. We should definitely aspire to be a City of Culture.

"What we've done is really interesting, that we have created the infrastructure, we've got the buildings, but I think what we really need now is to hand it over to the artists."

Alex Zanafirano is part of Art 4 Change and has organised a number of pop up exhibitions in Leicester.

"I think it's a marvellous idea and concept because it would help unlock creativity within Leicester and hopefully bring the different cultures that coexist in Leicester together.

"Unlocking of creativity will help local businesses in my opinion, especially now with the art cuts that we're having. It would give these businesses a creative flair."

Gino is from Vanilla Galleries, a Loughborough art collective based currently exhibiting at Leicester's Pedestrian Arts.

"Even now there's a misconception that Leicester doesn't really have much art going on or much culture.

"So I think it would be great to have that title and promote a proper image so people can see that there is a lot going on."

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