City chiefs are lining up a bid to put Milton Keynes on the world map by aiming for the title European Capital Of Culture 2023.
The bid would be the culmination of a ten-year programme of art and culture across the city, concluding with a series of cultural events with a strong European dimension.
And if successful it would make Milton Keynes only the third British home to the title.
Steven Gordon- Wilson, chief executive of Destination Milton Keynes, said: “Why shouldn’t Milton Keynes be European Capital of Culture?
“What stands out for me is the sheer volume of arts and culture here. At present that’s not particularly well shouted about, but you could easily come to Milton Keynes for a long weekend filled with cultural places and events.”
He added: “This is a chance to transform how people perceive Milton Keynes.
“Right now we’ve got the IF international festival, the Fringe, and many other events. And if you look at the impact it had in Liverpool, raising the international profile and attracting new visitors and investment as soon as the bid was announced, I hope it will be a huge positive.”
The European Capital of Culture programme was originally called the European City of Culture, with the title first being handed to Athens in 1985. The Milton Keynes bid is being led by Destination Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes Council, the Arts & Heritage Alliance, the Heritage Association and MK Gallery.
Since then the title has gone to cities across the European Union, with Glasgow the first British capital in 1990 followed by Liverpool in 2008.
Originally only one country had the title for 12 months, but today three cities are named capital each year, with the UK due to hold one slot in 2023.
> What do you think Milton Keynes should be shouting about in our bid to become European City Of Culture?
*The concrete cows - iconic and witty;
*Our music scene - big bands at The Bowl, smaller acts across the city;
*The green spaces that are spread across MK;
*We’ve got more public works of art than Barcelona - let’s go cultural;
Email editorial@ mkcitizen.co.uk
Read more about plans to make MK more attractive to visitors in this week’s Business Citizen from page 41.