Agenda item

Leeds 2023 Progress Update

To consider a report from the Chief Officer Economy and Culture setting out progress on Leeds 2023 as it delivers cultural events throughout the city.


The report of the Chief Officer, Culture and Economy provided the Board with an update on the LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture.


The update focussed on the following:


·  Programme structure

·  Signature projects

·  Partner projects

·  Research and Evaluation

·  Impact

·  Beyond 2023

·  Fundraising and sponsorship

·  Consultation and engagement with Elected Members.


The following were in attendance for this item:


-  Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer, Culture & Economy

-  Karen Murgatroyd, Executive Manager – Leeds 2023

-  Cllr Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Economy, Culture & Education

-  Kully Thiari, Creative Director and CEO Leeds 2023

-  Abigail Scott Paul, Director of External Relations Leeds 2023



The Board was given an overview of events and opportunities for involvement that had happened to date which included the Awakening Event at the outset of the year and signature events that had been held. Detail of upcoming and current events was also highlighted.


A presentation was delivered on Leeds 2023 Year of Culture. The following was highlighted:


·  Data relating to impact and engagement – this was available on the Leeds 2023 website.

·  Events and projects during ‘My Leeds Summer.’

·  Engagement with schools and young people. Over 40% of schools had been involved so far and it was hoped to reach 75%.

·  Volunteer involvement – volunteers had been recruited from across all wards and had worked with other organisations across the city.

·  Media coverage – national and international.

·  Digital reach and engagement – there had been a large number of online interactions.

·  Evaluation so far and economic impact.


Thanks were expressed to all Members who had been involved and to the Leeds 2023 team for the success to date.


In response to comments and questions from the Board, discussion included the following:


·  Updates to Community Committees – Members were asked to share details of events through their wider networks where possible.

·  Members congratulated the Leeds 2023 team and in particular the Neighbourhood Hosts for their work in staging events and involvement at a local level,

·  Leeds 2023 had been designed to help people, develop skills and drive ambition with young people playing a particularly big part as a result the full impact of this may not be seen for a number of years.

·  Age profile data was being collected and members were interested in participation of over 60s in the year so far.

·  The experience in Leeds would help to support other local authorities in West Yorkshire with culture related events, notably Bradford and Kirklees.

·  There would be an economic legacy with increased spending this year but also future benefits of attracting business to the city with employment opportunities in the cultural sector.

·  Information on a ward basis with regards to engagement, events and financial benefits was requested.

·  The Inclusive Growth Strategy was currently being updated and culture would be included as an area that was prioritised for investment.

·  There were cultural organisations coming to Leeds including a northern hub for the British Library, a national poetry centre and other arts organisations.

·  Examples of partnership work with local organisations, neighbouring cities and partners in Europe.

·  There would be increased work and targeting of schools that have not been involved yet and Members were ask for support where there may be gaps.

·  There had been support from WYCA through financial investment of £1.5m to support a specific project. The West Yorkshire Mayor had also been supportive of the program.

·  There had been significantly less funding than cities who had done a year of culture under the European or UK program, Leeds has been delivering the programme without the support of a wider European or UK city of culture banner. Given this context and the wider challenges posed by the pandemic and now increased cost of living pressures, the funding envelope secured by Leeds 2023 has been a significant achievement.

·  KPIs – It was on track to meet the target to double the Council’s investment in Leeds 2023. It was difficult to predict performance in relation to the KPIs at this stage as the year was only half way through but there were positive signs.

·  Fundraising for the Hibiscus Rising statue – fundraising was still in progress and could continue after the installation of the statue.

·  Each signature event had a creative skills programme and there would be a Creative Skills Fair later in the year. There were also several young people involved in work placements. Members requested Details on the Creative Skills Fair.

·  Full details on grants and employment creation would not be known until a full evaluation at the end of the year.

·  Ensuring children had access to music, performance and the arts.


REOLVED – That the report and progress made be noted. Along with plans for Leeds 2023 to return to the Scrutiny Board later in the 2023/24 municipal year with a focus on legacy and evaluation.



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