Why I'm backing the Plymouth City of Culture bid: Oliver Colvile
PLYMOUTH is the South West peninsula's cultural capital.
After all, we have the Theatre Royal and TR2 - one of the UK's five production companies; Peninsular Arts – which is part of the university; a growing games industry - a spin off from our dynamic university; and an Arts College (one of the UK's few independent art colleges) which is bidding for a free school. By focusing our bid on our reputation as a "can-do" city, Plymouth is well set to win the 2017 UK's City of Culture. But we must show a distinct alternative to our competitors.
We must emphasise how we were able to deliver a highly successful British Arts Festival and, with short notice, the America's Cup.
The focus of the bid should be on our practical experience in using culture and the arts to deliver community regeneration – similar to the way in which the city council and the Heart of Efford regenerated the Efford community and how the university used last autumn's Big Read initiative to promote literacy skills.
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We should avoid focusing on restoring buildings and infrastructure projects as the Government is keen to avoid any demands on the purse – as happened in the two most recent bids – Liverpool and Londonderry.
To achieve success we also need to demonstrate how this bid could play a significant part in the Government's growth agenda, build on our successful City Deal application, help rebalance our city's economy to attract inward private investment with the accompanying much needed jobs and has the potential to create a skilled workforce.
This should be our agenda for a successful bid to become the 2017 City of Culture.