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European Capital of Culture 2023 Nottingham reveals theme of bid: Breaking the Frame

Nottingham will draw on its heritage of rebellion, social justice and innovation in its bid to become the next UK European Capital of Culture in 2023 - with the backing of Nottingham Trent University.

Nottingham is bidding to become European Capital of Culture 2023
Nottingham Trent University is backing the bid for Nottingham to become European Capital of Culture 2023

The theme of the bid, Nottingham 2023: Breaking the Frame, sets out how the city - one of the youngest and most diverse in the UK - will use its Robin Hood spirit to empower people to take culture back into their own hands.

The title is inspired by the ‘frame-breakers’ of the Luddite rebellion which originated in Nottingham, then the global centre of the Lace-making industry, in 1811.

The common misconception of the Luddites is that they were anti-progress and anti-technology. However they were an organised labour movement, comprised of skilled craftsmen, supported by Lord Byron and inspired by the social justice of Robin Hood. Wanting fairness, they challenged how technology was being used and for whose advantage.

Spearheading the Nottingham 2023 bid is Nottingham’s Strategic Cultural Partnership, with the support of Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Council, University of Nottingham and Marketing NG. This is along with the backing of leading artists, actors, authors, musicians and theatre makers, including Vicky McClure and Sleaford Mods, as well as cultural and civic organisations, sports clubs, businesses and residents.

Since announcing the bid in August, almost 5,500 people have pledged their support through the Nottingham 2023 website and by signing up at events.

People in Nottingham were asked what they would like to see change if the city becomes European Capital of Culture. Their answers have helped shape a compelling bid, which also builds on a public consultation to define Nottingham’s Strategic Cultural Framework earlier this year.

Nottingham 2023: Breaking the Frame will be the city’s latest experiment in radical cultural democracy. It will challenge how and where culture is made, what it means, who it is made for and who can make it.

In a city which elected to leave the EU by just 2,000 votes, the bid also sets out how working with European partners will give residents the opportunity to reframe their relationship with Europe though creative collaboration. The intention is that everyone will have the opportunity to take part in, to instigate and to benefit from international creative exchange.

Under two flagship programmes, Everyone is an Artist and Art Can Change the World, citizens of Nottingham and Europe will be invited to discover their own creativity and use it to address the challenges of the 21st century together.

A series of Everyone is an Artist Cultural Hubs in housing estates, schools, and community centres will invite people to work with European artists, while Art Can Change the World will be linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through a partnership with the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab.

Paul Russ, chair of Nottingham’s European Capital of Culture bid and of the Strategic Cultural Partnership, said: "We want to share our energy, our activism, our diversity and our commitment to doing things differently through a cultural programme that involves every corner of Nottingham, every citizen and every visitor. We want to unlock the creativity in every school, housing estate, social club and former mining communities and give people the skills to improve the quality of their lives."

The deadline for European Capital of Culture submissions to be made to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport is 27 October 2017. A decision on which bidders have made it through to the next stage is expected in the new year.

For more information visit or search for #Nottingham2023 on social media.

European Capital of Culture 2023 Nottingham reveals theme of bid: Breaking the Frame

Published on 26 October 2017
  • Category: Press office

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