Statement from the 5 cities bidding to be European Capital of Culture 2023

The Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes received the below statement relating to the decision to withdraw the UK European Capital of Culture competition:

On Tuesday we met with representatives of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport including John Glen MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism. We met to discuss the letter sent last week to the UK Government by the European Commission stating that the participation of the UK in the European Capital of Culture in 2023 will not be possible.

Firstly we want to acknowledge the huge and passionate support we have all received locally, nationally and internationally since the receipt of this letter. In particular we appreciate the support from previous and future European Capitals of Culture, and from members of the independent judging panel which itself had expected to be interviewing our teams this week as part of the formal shortlisting process.

It is further evidence of the power of arts and culture to bring the peoples of Europe closer together. The five cities were united in their desire to find solutions which will enable them to realise their cultural ambitions and further develop their cultural integration with people across Europe.

The meeting with DCMS was positive and we were encouraged by their commitment to try and resolve this issue with the European Commission and agree a clear way forward for the cities involved.

We urged the Department to continue its negotiations with the European Commission on the legitimacy of its latest decision. In particular we wish to highlight that the announcement by the European Commission counters a very recent decision of the European Parliament in June 2017 and of the Council in September 2017 which includes a calendar confirming the UK as the host country in 2023.  In addition we are seeking clarity given that the United Kingdom has not yet left the EU and the terms of that departure are not yet agreed.

We have collectively therefore requested that DCMS takes further advice on the legal status of the announcement as a matter of urgency.

The meeting also allowed us to consider jointly how we ensure the local energy, enthusiasm and work done by our cities and partners to date can be positively harnessed and recognised even if the Commission maintains its position.   This sudden change of heart has the potential to disrupt well over 100 cultural collaborations across the continent which bidding cities have been developing in good faith.

We all recognise the urgent need to reach a conclusion in a timescale that allows us to harness the momentum in our cities.  Therefore intensive and constructive discussions will continue over the coming weeks.

Councillor Deirdre Hargey, chairperson, Belfast City Council Strategic Policy & Resources Commt.

Councillor, John Alexander Leader of the Administration, Dundee City Council

Stewart Murdoch, Chair of the Dundee bid team

Councillor Judith Blake CBE, Leader of Leeds City Council

Sharon Watson, Chair, Leeds2023 Independent Steering Group

Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council

Paul Russ, Chair Nottingham 2023

 

Discovering MK

MK50 LOGO

Milton Keynes 50th

2017 will mark the 50th year since Milton Keynes was officially designated and to celebrate, MK plans to host city wide events and activities that will be open to the local residents and visitors alike.

This is a special milestone for Milton Keynes, not just because it has been 50 years, but also because some of the major contributions that the city has made over the past half-century.

Milton Keynes is centre to some of the World’s most important discoveries. It is the home of some very influential pioneers, visionaries, artists and it holds significant Heritage that has helped shape our world in ways that you may not know.

From the WWII Code Breakers of Bletchley Park right through to the set location of iconic films such as Superman IV, Milton Keynes is a treasure trove of innovation, historic relevance and celebrity stopping place; the city is bursting with heritage & culture that deserves to be recognised.

Discovering MK, The Digital Landmark Trail

MK Views
Image Source: Milton Keynes Council Website/Homepage slides

 Amongst the many exciting activities set to take place next year, AHA-MK and Partners are in the process of developing an innovative project that will be unlike anything the city has seen yet – A Digital Landmark Trail focusing on 50 of MK’s most iconic landmarks to date.

What is special about Milton Keynes? Some would be inclined to ask such a question; others dismiss it as a city with one to many roundabouts and a shopper’s paradise, but hidden behind the misconceptions lies a City with a remarkable heritage and cultural scene.

Discovering MK aims to showcase this and will take participants on a fascinating tour around the City, stopping at some of MK’s most characteristic landmarks and informing them about its impressive history along the way.

Discovering MK will be a fun filled trail with lots of occasions that the whole family will enjoy, but rest assured individuals of all ages and backgrounds can join in on the fun too.

Made in MK 2013 Highlights

Black Feathers MK Arts Centre

  • Made in MK took place between 28th June and 15th September 2013.
  • Through this project the Arts and Heritage Alliance – Milton Keynes (AHA-MK) provided the collective marketing umbrella for 150 events across the Borough of Milton Keynes – these included workshops and courses, exhibitions, dance, heritage activities, performance and fringe activity in the public realm.
  • Activities were delivered by over 40 organisations from AHA-MK and Milton Keynes Heritage Association (MKHA) membership and beyond.
  • Over this three-month period Made in MK attracted nearly 50,000 attendees.
  • MK Festival Fringe, Proms in the Park and the Arts and Culture Festival (in Campbell Park) all recorded increased audiences in comparison to last year
  • AHA-MK commissioned five new artworks, designed to celebrate Milton Keynes, which were displayed in and around the city centre during the summer
  • Through working with media partners MKFM and MK Citizen we ensured that Made in MK received significant press coverage and Destination Milton Keynes hosted all our listings online.

The level of collaboration and co-operation shown by our members and partners continues to impress us – we are working hard to make this process as easy as possible.  SoC 2012 was a pioneering year, which proved to the sectors the value of working together on a large-scale joint venture and Made in MK has allowed these relationships to develop even further.  By pulling together in this way, MK arts and heritage organisations are able to achieve a critical mass, and promote a cultural offer that spans the Borough.

Drawing Machine

Funding for this project came from four sources:

  • Arts Council England with match funding from the MK Collection
  • We secured £5,000 from MK Community Foundation to allow us to offer 5 commissions to artists (and further commissions were offered by MK Festival Fringe), with a brief to celebrate Milton Keynes and engage members of the public.
  • MK Council also provided funding for the production and distribution of marketing materials, in recognition that we were continuing the legacy of SoC on a significantly smaller budget.

Organisations involved in AHA-MK have told us that they were very pleased to be involved in this project:

Made in MK’ provided a strong legacy for the 2012 Summer of Culture programme, contributing to Milton Keynes’ aspiration to be distinctive and World Class.  (David Hill, MK Council) 

The Gallery was delighted to support the ‘Made in MK’ campaign.  Thematically, it linked perfectly with our summer exhibition and events programme ‘MK Calling’ (Katharine Sorensen, MK Gallery)

‘Made in MK’ played an important role in helping to bring many of the disparate creative programmes across MK together into one cohesive audience offer. (Jessica Rost, MK Festival Fringe)

Annual Report 2012 -13

Godiva Awakes

AHA-MK exists to promote, develop and represent the arts and heritage of Milton Keynes.

How do we do it?

We promote, lobby and represent… We support, develop and train… We network, share and inform… Above all we collaborate.

This year our members have contributed to:

  • Over 5,000 inspiring events in Milton Keynes
  • 1,241,370 visits made to them
  • £18,250,000 of turnover
  • 1,600 workshops for participants of all ages
  • 1,700 volunteering opportunities

With a mission to bring together organisations that create exciting experiences in art and heritage, AHA-MK promotes Milton Keynes’  unique identity to local,regional and national audiences.

Achievements 2012 – 13
  • Contributed to a successful Summer of Culture, which drew in 161,000 attendees and produced a total economic impact of £6.4m gross.
  • Supported MK Festival Fringe in delivering their biggest festival yet, including street performance, theatre, dance, music, workshops and the first ever MK Walking with Giants Parade.
  • Advocated on behalf of members, e.g. by contributing to MK Council’s consultations on assessing the community’s health and well-being, business rate relief, and the development of a Local Infrastructure Plan.
  • Celebrated members’ work and their venues through Heritage Open Days and Arts and Heritage Open Places.
  • Secured Arts Council England funding to develop a Summer of Culture legacy project to encourage cross-programming and cross-marketing.
  • Delivered CPD sessions addressing the interface between museums and the arts, digital engagement, audience segmentation, how arts and heritage organisations can best work with schools, the Summer of Culture legacy, and the joys and sorrows of governance.

 

AHA-MK Annual Report 2012 – 2013
http://www.aha-mk.org / chair@aha-mk.org
All information relates to the accounting year April 2012 – March 2013