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newsinfo_title31st October 2002

“This is not the end but the beginning…”

This was the upbeat message coming from those involved in the City’s bid to be European Capital of Culture 2008 despite not being shortlisted and officially designated as a UK Centre of Culture.

This is a disappointing result for Norwich in spite of submitting a universally acclaimed bid. However, true to its history, this will not deter Norwich and the Creative and Cultural Community has already made a commitment not to lose the momentum, goodwill and energy generated by entering the competition.

Only 12 cities in the whole of the UK had enough conviction to take part in the competition, all were strong contenders and all deserved to be on the shortlist – but in the end only one city can hold the much coveted title.

The work involved in putting together the bid has not been lost and the bid document will now be used as the basis of the City’s cultural plan for the future with many of the ideas and schemes, including the legacy projects, being realised, and an extra push to secure financial support.

Obviously, the benefits of being officially awarded the title would have helped this process but now they just have to work harder to develop Norwich as a European City of Culture – and they don’t have to wait until 2008.

The links that have been developed between cultural organisations in the city has been one of the most exciting parts of the bidding process. Both organisations and individuals have come together to formulate ideas, this network will live on as a legacy of the bid and will continue to promote work across the diverse cultural sectors in Norwich.

What people are saying

Anne Seex, Chief Executive of the City Council and Chair of the Bid Champions team.

“Participating in this bid has really brought home to us what we already knew, Norwich is buzzing with cultural activity across every walk of life – truly everyone can be part of it. We can build from the terrific experience of bidding and the strong network of artists, creative industries and community groups that have worked together so well. We’ll be grabbing with both hands the prospect of financial help and the DCMS’s encouragement to continue to develop and deliver Norwich’s ideas and initiatives.

Ian Couzens, Leader of the City Council:

“We are obviously disappointed but a lot of good things will come out of this process. Bidding has been very good for the city and over the coming months we must maximise the cultural benefits that the bid has highlighted. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have been involved in the bid for their tremendous hard work, which I am sure will continue.”

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Reverend Stephen Platten:

“This exercise has helped us to sharpen our cultural perception of the city immeasurably, we have begun, through this process, to identify some of the key priorities for the next ten years. Focusing on the bid has helped us to gain a clear perspective of how we should approach our strategy for tourism and attracting people more generally to Norwich.

Andi Gibbs, artist, architect and Director of the King Street Festival:

“This work has been a breath of fresh air to me at Art and Architecture. Aim high, be ambitious, eventually things will happen, it is so good to work with an ambitious city and more importantly a creative and inspiring cultural team”.

Rose Hanna, Director of the FAN (Film Arts Norwich) Animation Festival:

“Just taking part in the bid process has galvanised us all, put us in touch with each other and triggered off loads of exciting collaborative projects. This will have a positive and lasting effect”.

Councillor Steve Morphew, Leader of the City Council’s Labour Group:

“The campaign serves to remind us how good we are, how much we have to offer and the enormous potential we have as a cultural centre. We have built a priceless foundation and we must create opportunities to build on it”.

Richard Osbourne, Brightstar Creative (local design company):

“The bid has begun a fascinating process in Norwich creative and cultural types are coming together to make Norwich a European centre of culture with or without government support. The city will benefit enormously both from the immediate publicity and tourism, and from the long-term ongoing process. There are no losers here.”

24th September 2002
One of the last hurdles before the short-list is announced is a set of presentations in London to the whole panel at the DCMS office. Each city has 15 minutes to make a presentation to update panel members on progress since the bids were submitted and then the panel has a hour to ask questions. Norwich was first on the list – daunting in some ways but they say it is best to be either first or last. Anyway, going first gave Norwich the opportunity to set the bench mark and make a lasting impression. The panel was seeing four cities that day, Norwich, Newcastle, Inverness and Oxford. Six members of the 2008 team went to answer questions accompanied by a large map/model of the city which shows what changes will take place if the bid is successful. At the end of the whole session, the panel were shown the new promotional film ‘The Fine Settee of Culture’, made by Joe Mackintosh and Max Fisher from an idea by Ian Johnson and involving many of the creative people of Norwich. It is two and a half minutes long. is very entertaining and shows off the people of the city. The panel loved it and there was a round of applause. Then it was a quick clear out to give Newcastle their turn. All in all the team were very happy with the presentation. The panel are seeing the other cities on the 1st and 7th October and hope to short-list before Christmas.

13th September 2002
This Friday Norwich was visited by Tessa Blackstone, Minister for the Arts. She was only here for a very short time, about an hour, but it was long enough for her to be impressed by the attractiveness of Norwich, its proximity and links with Europe and the amount of activity going on in the city centre. The panel visits were on quieter Monday mornings and it was good to see the city on a Friday with its customary ‘buzz’. The minister arrived at the station, walked along Riverside, across the Novi Sad bridge, back along King Street where she opened the Heritage Open Day weekend at Dragon Hall. A quick lunch in King Street at Andi Gibbs’ studio and then a walk into the city ending up at the Forum to watch the film in Origins.

24th July 2002
The last visit by the judging panel was missed by vice chair Sue MacGregor and journalist/presenter Miranda Sawyer so they came to see us today. They didn’t have a lot of time so again it was a bit of a whistle-stop tour. In the morning they did many of the same things as the first visitors except that they went to the Maddermarket Theatre instead of the Howes Project and the Playhouse instead of Cinema City. Lunch was in the Music Room at the King of Hearts and took the form of a literary lunch with readings by Trezza Azzopardi and George Szirtes which Sue and Miranda enjoyed very much. After lunch they were given a conducted tour of the Cathedral and Close by the Dean of Norwich Stephen Platten. The afternoon was kept flexible and they really wanted to see the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts so it was hastily arranged to take them there where Amanda Geitner whisked them around, offering a lot of interesting information in a very short time.There was only half an hour before they had to catch their train so it was a quick tour of the Castle and a rapid question and answer session before rushing to the station. It was obvious, though, that had enjoyed their day and were keen to come and experience more of what Norwich has to offer.

8th July 2002
Today, the judging panel led by Sir Jeremy Isaacs visited Norwich accompanied by Judith Mayhew, one of the vice chairs, as well as Stewart McGill, Hilary Lade, Peter Stead, Marc Jordan.

The visitors arrived by train on Monday morning and were met at Ipswich by Jonathan Denby, one of the Norwich Bid Champions and Chairman of Anglia Railways. There was a brief reception at City Hall, where they were given a disposable camera each before they were whisked off to the Forum. This was followed by a visit to the Garage Project (past St Peter Mancroft, the Assembly House and Theatre Royal, then back through the City centre via the Arcade, the market, Gentleman’s Walk, London Street, Swan Lane, Bridewell Alley and then to Cinema City.

From there the intrepid team, went on to visit the art school and East exhibition, a glimpse of the Playhouse and then back to St Andrew’s Hall. All of this was on foot so they were on their last legs as they went down through Elm Hill for a peek at the King of Hearts and finally into the Close for a look at the Cathedral. At last it was time for lunch at the Deanery, those excellent sandwiches from Expresso – thanks to the very Reverend Stephen Platten and his wife Rosalie for their generous hospitality. Somewhat re-energised, they set off again, this time in two groups in people-carriers. Group one went to The Inspire Hands-on Science Centre, The Norwich Arts Centre, The Puppet Theatre, King Street, Novi Sad Bridge and then back to the Castle. In the meantime, group two went to Waterloo Park, UEA, Sportspark, The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts and then met up with group one at the Castle before returning home on the train. All in all it was a very arduous but the judges were surprised and impressed by the variety of activities and venues and the spirit and enthusiasm they encountered in those they met along the way. They specifically said that > they would not make up their minds until they had seen all bidding cities (Norwich was third on the list) and so they were not prepared to give any clues. They were off to Bristol and Cardiff later in the week.

NEXT VISIT > The next visit is by two more judges, Radio 4’s ex-presenter Sue MacGregor and journalist/presenter Miranda Sawyer, on the 24th July. The itinerary hasn’t been decided yet as it would be good to show them places that the last visitors didn’t get to see.

FLAGS AND BANNERS > Firstly, grateful thanks to Signs Express who generously sponsored a huge banner for the City Hall balcony and several signs to be posted up around the city. They will help greatly to bring the bid to the attention of the public of Norwich and the region, backed up by the leaflets they have that explain what the bid is all about. This is just the kind of help that is needed as it shows that companies and citizens of Norwich are behind the bid. They also had some vinyl flags produced which have a small bracket which screws to a wall or door-frame. The flags can then be put out during the day and taken in at night to prevent them being taken away for a bit of fun.

4th July 2002
Next week, Norwich receives a visit from some of the judging panel. They will be in Norwich for several hours and will be taken on a tour around the city. Look out for further news.

15 June 2002
The King Street festival, BBC Music Live and the plasma screens were all a great success. The next events to look forward to is the Lord Mayor’s Celebrations on the weekend of the 12th-14th July. For full details pick up a Summer Events Programme at City Hall or the Forum or check on the Norwich City Council website

29 May 2002

Events over the Jubilee weekend 31st May – 7th June
KING STREET FESTIVAL The King Street Festival has quickly become a regular fixture in the Norwich calendar and this year is the focus of the jubilee celebrations and BBC Music Live. There is lots going on there on Monday 3rd June from 12noon-6pm so please try and give it a look. Also, there is a stall at the King Street festival run by the City Council Events team which will publicise the City’s summer events as well as handing out leaflets and stickers to promote the Capital of Culture campaign.

For more info on Music Live events at King Street visit or phone 08700 100 125. For King Street Festival info call 01603 768558.

City College’s Performing Arts course have offered to help publicise the Norwich 2008 bid at the King Street Festival and the Lord Mayor’s Street Procession (July 13th) and other events in the summer. So look out for them at the King Street Festival.

FRENCH PUPPETS Also in support of Capital of Culture 2008 we have had a offer from a French puppetry company ‘Cie Acces L’Air’, who are touring Britain with their shadow puppet and marionette shows. On Monday 3rd June, Franck Bourget will perform his outdoor show in King Street and Colette Garrigan is in the process of organising a free showing of her shadow puppet show ‘Apres la Pluie’ probably at the Waterfront, time to be confirmed. (Telephone 01603 765353).

PLASMA SCREENS Norwich is one of the selected locations for the BBC’s giant plasma screens on Millennium Plain outside the Forum from 31st May – 7th June, showing World Cup football matches, films, jubilee celebrations and the Queen’s concerts amongst other things. For a full programme listings and up-to-date info go to or call 01603 212626.

26 May 2002

The remaining members of the independent panel to assess the 12 cities bidding to be the UK’s European Capital of Culture in 2008, were announced by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. The nine members will join Chairman Sir Jeremy Isaacs and Deputy Chairs Sue MacGregor and Judith Mayhew.

They are:

    • the concert pianist Barry Douglas,
    • the art historian and businessman Marc Jordan,
    • Royal Parks Advisory Board Chair, and British Tourist Authority Board Member Hilary Lade,
    • the columnist and former Scottish Arts Council Chair Magnus Linklater,
    • the Artistic Director of The Playbox Theatre, Warwick Stewart McGill,
    • the Olympic medallist and Sport England Vice Chair Tessa Sanderson,
    • the journalist and author Miranda Sawyer,
    • the external Professor at the University of Glamorgan, writer and broadcaster Peter Stead,
  • the journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart.

The Advisory Panel will consider the bids from all 12 cities in detail. They will make recommendations for a shortlist, to be announced in the autumn. One city will be chosen from this shortlist in the spring of 2003 to go forward as the UK’s nomination for European Capital of Culture 2008.

Tessa Jowell said: “Becoming the UK’s European Capital of Culture for 2008 will be a fantastic honour for the city chosen. The stakes are high. The bidding cities understand the real economic benefits that are likely to follow. They know that culture, in all its forms, can be an incredible catalyst for regeneration and civic pride. “We want to ensure that each city’s bid gets treated equally. That is why they have appointed this most distinguished panel to assess the bids, and make recommendations for a shortlist to me. May the best city win!”

9 May 2002
Capital of Culture panel announced
The former chief of Channel 4 has been revealed as the head of the judging panel that will decide whether Norwich makes the shortlist of cities bidding to become 2008 European Capital of Culture. Sir Jeremy Isaacs will chair the panel that will examine the bids before presenting Prime Minister Tony Blair with a shortlist in the autumn. Sue MacGregor, former presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, will also sit on the panel along with Judith Mayhew, a senior figure at the Corporation of London. Norwich will face tough competition from the 11 other UK cities, each of which must persuade the judges of their existing ‘cultural excellence’ and how culture is central to the life of the city.

tessa2The other 11 cities in the running are Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Canterbury and East Kent, Cardiff, Inverness and the Highlands, Liverpool, Newcastle/Gateshead, and Oxford.

Sir Jeremy spoke briefly of the prospects of each city yesterday after his appointment was announced by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell. “There’s a lot to be said for Norwich Ð it’s got a vision of the future,” he said. “It’s very close to Europe. It’s beckoning out to visitors.”

21st April 2002
Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, visited Norwich to open the recently refurbished Waterloo Park Pavilion. On a beautiful Sunday morning, Tessa Jowell was greeted by the Angel Road Steel Band as she walked up the blossoming cherry grove. She applauded and stopped to speak to several of the children and their teacher. She proceeded up the walkway covered with wisteria about to bloom to the sounds of the Norwich Samba band, resplendent in their red shirts and playing in the bandstand. On to the spectacular pavilion itself, which is now home to Norwich Community Arts having been recently renovated, Tessa was shown around by the Lord Mayor and leader of the council, Nick Williams. After opening the curtain on the plaque, Tessa left for the football ground at Carrow Road to witness a Norwich City win over Stockport which qualifies them for the play-offs. All-in-all a good day out in Norwich and a good impression for the Capital of Culture.

2nd April 2002
Bid document submitted to the DCMS

27th March 2002
Stephen Fry has sent a message of support for the Norwich bid. To read it in full click here

22nd March 2002
Letters of support for Norwich’s bid are flooding in, amongst them letters from Virgin’s Richard Branson, Lotus cars, Norwich City Football Club, Delia Smith and many more.

18th March 2002
Simon Says
The actor Simon Callow has lent his strength to the bid saying that he wishes Norwich well with this message. “Today’s citizens of Norwich have celebrated their city by taking their heritage and converting it into active use. To spend time in this thriving, pluralistic, proud, vital place, that lives simultaneously in its many-layered past and its present – is a tonic experience, its values at the core of their identity, it seems to me: vigorously productive, sceptical of external authority, assertive of its achievements, democratic in its structures, rooted in its origins, its eye on the ball of the immediate future, but its heavenly vision one of the freedom of the greater citizenship. I was moved; I still am.”

15th March 2002
Support to Norwich from Novi Sad
My name is Slavko Matic. By occupation I am a teacher in the pre-school education and first four-year primary education.I work at the Provincial Department of Culture,Education and Science on the international cultural cooperation.I am also the executive secretary of the Novi Sad – Norwich Association Dedicated to Friendship. At the end of 1998 I spent five beautiful weeks in Norwich and its surroundings.Thanks to my hosts Peter and Diana Beckley and all others, I got a splendid opportunity to prepare my degree essay by monitoring the pre-school and school system in the region of Norfolk and especially in Norwich.This town made a significant impression on me with its ancient atmosphere, many diverse churches and lively pubs.I immediately fell in love with Norwich and the area of Norfolk because of a number of similarities it had with Novi Sad and Vojvodina. I also remember Norwich people as culturally educated and dedicated hosts.

10th March 2002
Norwich-born theatre producer Richard Jordan agrees to be a patron
Richard Jordan grew up in Norwich, and stimulated and excited by his weekly visits to the Theatre Royal, he developed a passion for theatre. Now a successful theatre producer in London, one of the country’s youngest up-and-coming, he remembers Norwich which gratitude and affection. “As soon as I heard about the Norwich bid I wanted to offer my support.” he said.

The bid process hots up
Last weekend, the 23/24 February 2008, a crack team of advisors got together with the project team to pull together the bid document in its final form. An intense weekend of discussion culminated in a draft document which is being refined right now and will soon be turned into a magnificent presentation to be delivered to the DCMS at the end of March. The project team continues to need the support of the people of Norwich to make the bid successful.

Culture Expert visits Norwich
Trevor Davies, who was director of the highly successful Copenhagen City of Culture in 1996 came to Norwich this week to lend his expertise to the Norwich bid. Trevor, who is currently the director of the Salisbury Festival spent the day working with the team of people who will be helping to put the bid together in late March.

Norwich’s plans to make the bid include county and regional events as part of the programme for 2008 mean that the Copenhagen model is particularly relevant…….more news of this in the New Year.

Norwich Embroiderers’ Guild wants to ‘Be a Part of it ‘
The Norwich branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild wants to support the bid by mounting exhibitions and holding events and workshops.

Branch members use a wide variety of skills and techniques, and support a flourishing group of young embroiderers, under 18 year olds who are encouraged to experiment and develop skills.