Thousands pledge to back Nottingham’s European Capital of Culture bid



Robyn Holde

More than three-thousand people have pledged online to support Nottingham 2023, just four weeks after the city announced its plan to bid for the coveted title.

Led by a pride of ‘Cultural Lions’ including Game of Thrones star Joe Dempsie, Sleaford Mods frontman Jason Williamson and Vicky McClure, public support for the bid has grown at an incredible rate since the announcement on 16 August.

Members of the public have been asked to pledge via the Nottingham 2023 website, and the bid team are delighted by the positive reaction so far.

Paul Russ, chairman of Nottingham’s Cultural Strategic Partnership and chair of the Nottingham 2023 board said: “When we announced our intention to bid we were overwhelmed by how much support we received in a small amount of time.

“We initially set ourselves the target of getting 2023 pledges of support from the public before 27 October – we achieved it in just two days!

“Now we have well over three-thousand pledgers alongside some famous faces, and the number is growing at a really impressive rate.”

A key contribution to the initial success was the backing of This is England and Line of Duty star Vicky McClure who tweeted her support on the day of the announcement, encouraging her followers to spread the word – her tweet received more than 500 retweets and 489 likes.

Joe Dempsie, who most recently featured as Gendry on HBO’s Game of Thrones, is one of the bid’s first ‘Cultural Lions’, and fully backs the bid. The former Skins actor said: “The creative drive coursing through my home town in recent years has been remarkable to witness.

“It’s always been the birthplace of historical legends and rebel writers; a theatre of sporting miracles; and a training ground for un-Hollywood, Hollywood stars.

“However, the past decade has seen such a renewed artistic confidence in Nottingham, with the Broadway, Antenna and LeftLion magazine all now established focal points for the city’s many creative talents, and beacons for it’s diverse, kinetic culture.

“Nottingham Contemporary provides a world class space for a burgeoning local, national and international art scene. The Television Workshop has, for 30 years, given myself and countless other actors a career in film that would have otherwise seemed completely unattainable. It goes without saying that I fully back Nottingham’s bid to be Capital of Culture for 2023.”

London-born Robyn Holder was the 2023rd person to pledge their support online for the bid, and she is delighted to be supporting Nottingham 2023, the 33-year-old dance artist said: “I pledged for Nottingham to become the European Capital of Culture in 2023 because it is a diverse and inclusive city with a strong cultural hub.  As a dance artist, I am lucky enough to have an affiliation with this wonderful city.

“As a co-founder of Feet off the Ground Dance, a collective comprising of four women, we have been supported by Dance4 – an organisation that plays an important role for dance development across the East Midlands and creates exciting opportunities to bring artists and communities together.

“Their programmes include residencies, research and performances. With Feet off the Ground Dance, I have facilitated workshops and created work for their Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme.

“The programme nurtures aspiring and talented young dancers. Earlier this year, we were awarded an Arts Council England grant from Nottingham which enabled us to be in residence at Dance4, create a new piece of work and facilitate workshops that were open to the public.”

Sleaford Mods’ frontman Jason Williamson is also proud to be one of the city’s ‘Cultural Lions’, he said: “Nottingham became a heavy source of influence from as long ago as I can remember, the clubs, the streets, the people and their willingness, a lot of time, to create their own thing in the face of a dominating London, or Manchester or any other of the great cities.

“People here succeeded too, by making things their own. It’s still partly one of this country’s undiscovered gems in the sense of what it contains in a creative capacity. But also, its history, the buildings, the fields. It consumed me.”

There is still plenty of time for the public to back bid and pledge their support, Paul Russ explained: “Getting behind the bid is simple; you can use the hashtag #Nottingham2023, provide us with your email signature to pledge support via the website or become a Cultural Lion by providing us with your ideas and opinions for the 2023 bid.”

In 2023 both the UK and Hungary will host a European Capital of Culture. Nottingham has until 27 October 2017 to produce its bid.

For more information and to show your support visit