A nationwide competition to find the UK’s next City of Culture has been launched by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. The contest is set to run concurrently with the start of Derry-Londonderry’s officially kick off year, as the first ever UK City of Culture. The honour is designed to use culture and creativity as a catalyst to transform communities, as well as showcasing artistic talent.
Some of the Visual Art highlights include: Me Myself and I at the Void Gallery which aims to examine self-identity of older LGBT people through the medium of photography. As we grow older, the subject of self-image is one that we all must address and it can be particularly complex for older LGBT people. The theme of self-identity is explored in the exhibition through photography in a series of four assignments: ‘A Self Portrait, Transitions, My World and My Dreams’. The project has been facilitated by professional photographer Emmett McSheffrey.
The city is also home to the Museum of Free Derry, the Tower Museum, The Apprentice Boys of Derry Association and Memorial Hall which all have their unique part of the city’s heritage to tell. The Museum of Free Derry is an archive which focuses on the civil rights era of the 1960s and the early Troubles era of the 1970s. The award winning Tower Museum.
Parallel Visions is an exhibition of work by past pupils of St Columb’s College, Derry who are recognised as practising artists using a variety of media in both two and three dimensions. This work will be displayed alongside A-level artwork produced by sixth form students attending the college in 2012/2013. Exhibitors will include Willie Doherty (twice nominated for the Turner Prize); Maurice Harron, John Sherlock, Felim Egan, Brian Ferran, Padraig Timoney, the late Eamon O’Doherty, Locky Morris, John McCandless, Pat Cowley, Patrick Bradley and the late Joe Boyle.
“The UK City of Culture is a prestigious title that is a vehicle for encouraging economic growth along with highlighting the very best of the country’s cultural talent. “Derry-Londonderry are already making the most of the opportunities being UK City of Culture brings and I would urge other local authorities and partnerships across the length and breadth of the UK to consider putting themselves forward.” Those interested in submitting bids to be UK City of Culture 2017 are invited to register with DCMS by the end of February. Bids for the 2017 competition must be received by the end of April after which they will be assessed by an Independent Advisory Panel with the aim of announcing a shortlist in June. – Ed Vaizey
Phil Redmond, Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel said: “The success of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture and the excitement of Derry-Londonderry’s year as the first UK City of Culture show that this programme really can act as a catalyst for change. We want to see bids that are distinctive, ambitious, and represent their local area. As well as demonstrating cultural excellence, the panel and I want to see partnerships with innovation that will engage a huge range of audiences. And above all we need to see plans that are realistic and deliverable.”
It’s hoped the announcement of who has won will be made in Derry-Londonderry in November this year. Derry-Londonderry was named the first UK City of Culture on 15 July 2010. More information about their programme is available on their website. In their year as European City of Culture, Liverpool received 9.7 million additional visitors to the city which resulted in over £735 million in additional visitor spend. Derry-Londonderry hope to have 2800 tourism jobs by 2020 as a legacy from their year as the first UK City of Culture.
The Turner Prize exhibition and award will also be coming to Derry in the autumn rounding off a great year for culture in this thriving community.