Dundee’s  bid to be UK City of Culture 2017


Richard McCready


20 November 2013 


Firstly I want to say how disappointed I am that Dundee did not win the bid to be UK City of Culture in 2017. 


I want to congratulate Hull and wish them every success in their year as UK City of Culture. 


I also want to congratulate everyone associated with Dundee's bid who did so much to bring together an exciting programme of events. 

I hope that many of these will still go ahead.

I have been a
long-standing supporter of this bid and I am glad to have played my part in getting Dundee to apply to be UK City of Culture in 2017.

Whilst it would have been good to win I know that Dundee does not necessarily need a title to proclaim what those of us who live there know that Dundee is a UK City of Culture. 


One of the strengths of Dundee's bid was the strong community aspect of the bid. 


As I said in the video here Dundee's bid was for everyone in the city.


The strong partnerships in Dundee have become stronger as a result of this bid and it is important that we build on this and look for ways to ensure that these benefits are not lost. 


I will be looking for the City Council and the Dundee Partnership to preserve all that was good about the bid. 


The bid team with the support of the people of Dundee developed a series of ideas for 2017 and we must look to develop those ideas and deliver some of the imaginative and exciting proposals which were included in this plan.

It is the policy of the council to consider bidding to be European City of Culture in 2022 (I think that's the date)


I think that we should be thinking about this and working with the UK Government to look at the prospects for such a bid.


These are exciting times for Dundee, the Waterfront re-development is taking shape.



I look forward to the V & A at Dundee opening by 2017 and I am sure that this will be a major development for Dundee, Scotland and the United Kingdom.


It is disappointing not to have won the title of UK City of Culture.


However I am clear that Dundee is a City of Culture and I will be campaigning to build on our bid and make sure that Dundee continues to develop for the good of everyone in the city.




UK City of Culture 2017 outcome : Dundee will continue to succeed culturally

Lesley Brennan


20 November 2013


Despite the disappointing decision, Dundee will continue to succeed culturally because of the many highly-regarded talents in the city who are working together to build its future on imaginative cultural ideas.

This work will benefit the city socially, culturally and economically because the arts have a huge potential for drawing audiences and investment to cities.

A thriving cultural sector attracts businesses seeking a good quality of life for its employees.

Dundee's participation in the UK City of Culture contest will enhance the city's status as a venue for major events.


Good Luck to Hull.



Jim McGovern ‘disappointed but not downhearted’ by UK City of Culture result        

20 November 2013 


Dundee West MP Jim McGovern has expressed his disappointment that Dundee was not selected as the UK City of Culture for 2017.

In the announcement made by Culture Secretary Maria Miller this morning it was revealed that Dundee had been unsuccessful in its bid to become UK City of Culture in 2017.

Jim McGovern said;

“Like everyone in Dundee I am of course greatly disappointed that Dundee has been unsuccessful.

"I know without a shadow of a doubt that Dundee would have been an excellent city of culture.”

“The result is no comment on the bid team, the many who worked hard toward the bid and certainly not on Dundee itself.

"The hard work and great effort put in by everyone involved was beyond reproach.

“Dundee has tremendous prospects for the future.

"The cultural redevelopment of the waterfront, the V&A, the ongoing successes of the DCA, the McManus, the rep theatre, our music scene, the computer games industry and our two universities demonstrates clearly that we are going from strength to strength.

"That will continue despite this result.

"We have a great deal to look forward to in Dundee over the next few years; for that reason I am disappointed but not downhearted by this result.”

Mr McGovern concluded;

“I would also like to congratulate Hull.

"I am sure they will have a very successful year as City of Culture in 2017 and I know everyone in Dundee wishes them every success.”



Dundee City of Culture


Jenny Marra MSP


Speech in the Scottish Parliament


12 November 2013


In Dundee, I would like to see


“Urban meadows like the New York Highline”;


“An old boat parade with lighting and music”;


“sculptures of Broons characters throughout the city”;


“the Tay bridge lit at night”;


“A massive river pageant in the Tay”.


Nobody can say that we Dundonians are not romantic, ambitious and jealously proud of our beautiful home, because those are all suggestions for Dundee’s 2017 city of culture celebration.


The suggestions came from the people of Dundee using we Dundee, a new digital interactive community hub that allowed the team to pull together inspiration and ideas from all our citizens.


I believe it to be a first in the United Kingdom.


Everyone had their say on what they want Dundee to celebrate in 2017—a special year for them.


The bid is a community bid, made up of the voices of Dundonians singing proudly for their city.



Feats of engineering, computing, a history of jute—weaving and spinning, hard work


“shifting bobbins coarse and fine”—


and our tough experiences in the mills and the factories make up our stories and our struggles, all of which encouraged Dundee to seize cultural opportunities when they reappeared in our city, when the RRS Discovery sailed home in 1986.


Culture, music, art and drama are nothing without a story and a struggle.


They are about the art of making the everyday beautiful.


That is why our cultural renaissance has been so successful, so inclusive and so pervasive in the city.


Our city is not divided when it comes to embracing culture.


Music rings out from venues throughout the city, and art galleries are successful—especially the newly refurbished McManus galleries, which the culture secretary mentioned.


In Dundee, we are united in the love of our home city and the culture that it boasts.


However, our city is divided in terms of the share of wealth and opportunities.


That is why the greatest challenge of the 2017 bid is to ensure that the year of celebration reaps benefits for all our communities.


Our greatest challenge in Dundee is to create wealth and opportunity in communities that suffer the blights of unemployment, drugs, shorter lives and the desolation that wrecks dreams.


That is at the core of why Dundee is bidding for the important city of culture status.


We know the transformative effects of culture.


We have witnessed Dundee’s transformation over the past 40 years from a post-industrial city to an exciting hub of scientific research, with some of the finest engineering minds in the world staying in the city and creating new companies and opportunities in the life sciences, medicine, technology, computing and gaming.


We witnessed the deluge of Dundonians into the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre when Donald Dewar opened its doors in 1999.


We remember the fun of the Dundee 800 and the community spirit of “Witch’s Blood”.



We know that with a well thought-out bid, as our bid is, and a well-funded plan for 2017, city of culture status for Dundee will make a difference to the lives of many of our citizens.



It will raise our aspirations further and give us shared and individual memories of the beautiful everyday, centred around our prized V&A at Dundee on the waterfront.


That is why I am delighted that there is cross-party support in Parliament for the Scottish Government’s motion, which clearly indicates the unequivocal support of the First Minister and the Scottish Government and its agencies, who stand four-square behind the bid.


That is what we need, if we are to win.


Our competitors are fierce, and rightly have aspirations for their communities that are similar to our aspirations for Dundee.


Our bid needs unequivocal commitment from all levels of government in Scotland if it is to be a success for Dundee and the whole of Scotland.



That is why I am delighted that the culture secretary has given such a commitment tonight.


We will vote for the Government’s motion at decision time, with pride and with hope.



Call for Special Commission to mark UK City of Culture Year


Richard McCready


13 November 2013 



At the City Council's Policy and Resources Committee on Monday evening I proposed that Dundee's year as UK City of Culture in 2017 is marked by the commissioning of a work of art or a heritage commission.   


The council's Policy and Resources Committee was debating the council's collections policy.


At the start of Monday evening's round of meetings the Lord Provost praised Dundee's bid. 


I echo the Lord Provost's call to wish the bid the best of luck as Dundee makes its presentation next week. 


I believe that Dundee has a very strong case and I know that we are in with a very good chance of winning this important accolade.


When I looked at the report which detailed Dundee's artistic, heritage, scientific and technological collections I was very impressed.


This strong base will surely go a long way in making Dundee's case to be UK City of Culture. 


I think that when Dundee wins we should look to develop a permanent reminder of Dundee's year as UK City of Culture in 2017. 



I think that we should look to commission a piece of art or a heritage collection which will reflect Dundee's place as UK City of Culture in 2017. 


I would want the people of Dundee to be included in such a commission.


This should not be a piece of art chosen by solely by council officers or politicians instead it should be a piece of art or heritage which reflects the lives of the people of Dundee. 


The City of Culture bid is about the people of Dundee and we should be looking to find ways to allow the people of Dundee to remember what would be an exciting year. 


I think that there should be a commission to mark the year and I think it is important that decisions on such a commission are made by the people of Dundee. 


Such a commission need not cost a lot of money but should reflect the views of the people of Dundee.


I was pleased that my idea about this was received warmly in the council chamber and in due course I expect to bring it forward and ensure that Dundee's year as UK City of Culture is remembered long after 2017.





What Would You Love To See in Dundee in 2017 ?


Richard McCready


8 August 2013


As people will know Dundee is in the final four for the title of UK City of Culture in 2017. 


This is something that I have been campaigning for since the concept of UK City of Culture was launched in 2009 (Link ) 


I think that Dundee has a very strong case and I hope that we will be named UK City of Culture 2017.

The people at the
We Dundee website, which did so much to promote the bid have relaunched their website and they are now asking the question 'What would you love to see in Dundee in 2017?' 


Please visit the website to give your own example.


I'm going to outline a few ideas of my own.

In 2017 I want to see
Dundee put on a cultural festival that attracts people from all over the world to Dundee, but more importantly I want Dundee to have a festival that has something for everybody in the city. 


I want the V&A Dundee to be open and hosting exhibitions which bring people to the city and are also for the people of the city.


I want to see many of the headline events of the City of Culture year taking place in Community Centres and other facilities across the city. 


The City of Culture must break out of the cultural quarter and city centre (important though they are and be for everyone).


The current UK City of Culture is the city of Derry.


I think that Dundee should take the baton from Derry and celebrate the strong links between Dundee and Ulster. 


My PhD research was on this topic and there is the remarkable statistic that in 1851 one in five of the population of Dundee had been born in Ireland, mostly in Ulster. 


Dundee flourished at this time on the basis of people leaving rural Ulster to work in the textile industry in Dundee, in Derry there was a very similar phenomenon. 


We should look at the links of these two textile producing cities. 


We should look at the influence of the many students who come to Dundee today from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.   


We should look at the work of someone like Seamus Heaney who is a honorary graduate of the University of Dundee and comes from just outside Derry.

I want to see an international football match played in Dundee in 2017 at either Dens or Tannadice, or I am being greedy one at Tannadice and one at Dens.  


I want to see major events happening on the Tay, I recall seeing speed boat racing on the Tay before or perhaps a Tall Ships event, the City of Culture must make good use of our fabulous setting on the banks of the Tay.

Whatever your views please visit the
We Dundee website and tell them what you would love to see in Dundee in 2017 during Dundee's year as UK City of Culture.


click on the image below to visit the website







Absolutely Delighted that Dundee through to next round of UK City of Culture Bid - Now for the Hard Work - Councillor Richard McCready





I am delighted that Dundee has made it through to the final 4 cities in the running to be UK City of Culture in 2017. 

This is great news. 

Well done to everyone involved in bringing the bid together. 

This is, however, not the time to rest on our laurels we must now work hard to ensure that Dundee is successful in winning the bid.

I have been a strong supporter of this bid and first suggested that Dundee bid for this accolade back in 2009.

Dundee has an exceptionally strong case to be UK City of Culture as it stands right now, with the Rep, the DCA, McManus Galleries, Discovery Point, Verdant Works, the Caird Hall, the Mills Observatory, two universities and a college as well as schools which promote culture along with much much more. 

This is even before the jewel in the crown which V & A Dundee will be.

Last week in the West End there was WestFest a great community festival, and similar events happen right across the city. 

It is important that the bid is not just for the West End or the Ferry it must be a bid for all the city. 

We must also look to define culture as broadly as possible, for example I am determined that at the very least we should have an international football match in Dundee in 2017, only 81 years since the last one.

There is still a lot to do and the Labour Group on the council will work with anyone to promote our city.

We will offer whatever support and assistance is needed to deliver on this for our city. 




Richard McCready  : BBC Radio Scotland interview


1 March 2013



I am continuing to campaign for Dundee to be named as UK City of Culture in 2017. 

Dundee has a strong case and I will be making that case strongly. 

Dundee has a great cultural offer and we need to ensure that our bid to become UK City of Culture is a bid that includes something for everyone in the city.

This morning I was interviewed on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland about
Dundee's bid along with my Labour colleague George Adam, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen. 

We had a very good natured debate about the merits of our city's bid. 

You can hear our discussion by clicking above.




Richard McCready local radio interview





Dundee Labour back Dundee’s bid for UK City of Culture status

29 November 2012

Dundee West End Councillor Richard McCready, North East Scotland MSP Jenny Marra and Dundee West MP Jim McGovern have today put their full backing behind Dundee’s bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2017.

Jenny Marra and Jim McGovern have tabled motions before the Scottish and UK parliaments asking parliamentarians to lend their support to Dundee’s bid.

Councillor Richard McCready said,

“I am pleased that support for the bid to be UK City of Culture is now being shown in the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament. 

“Now that the council has agreed to take forward the bid it is important that everyone with Dundee's best interests at heart takes the opportunity to promote the bid. 

“The hard work of winning the title of UK City of Culture 2017 starts now.'

 Jenny Marra MSP said,

“Dundee City of Culture 2017 would be fantastic timing for our city.

“We need to seize the momentum of the V&A and launch more opportunities for everyone in Dundee.

“We need to fire all the bullets in the air at the same time.

“Only by bringing more opportunities to the City before 2020, like the National Football Academy and El Sistema will we make the UK City of Culture work for all our communities and give all our children new chances to find their talents.

“Everyone in Dundee should get behind the UK City of Culture bid and make sure that the changing face of Dundee means change for everyone.”

Jim McGovern MP said,

 “I am delighted to support the bid to see Dundee become the UK City of Culture in 2017.

“The cultural life of Dundee is thriving and will only get better over the next few years.

“This is a perfect opportunity to highlight the unique virtues of Dundee, and to showcase both to Scotland and the rest of the UK how much there is to do, see and experience in the city.

“I am confident that this bid will put Dundee even more firmly on the map and will have a hugely positive impact on the city.”

Jenny Marra’s motion before the Scottish Parliament

Dundee Bids to Become UK City of Culture 2017—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of Dundee City Council to bid to become UK City of Culture in 2017; recognises what it considers the vibrancy of Dundee Rep, Dundee Contemporary Arts, the McManus Galleries and Dundee’s popular music scene, including the recent visit of the Scottish Ensemble; notes the contribution to the culture of the city by the University of Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee and Dundee College; looks forward to the V&A at Dundee opening, and wishes the city of Dundee every success in its bid to become UK City of Culture in 2017.

Jim McGovern’s Early Day Motion before the House of Commons

That this House welcomes the decision of Dundee City Council to bid to become UK City of Culture in 2017; recognises the vibrant cultural scene in Dundee including Dundee Rep, Dundee Contemporary Arts, the McManus Galleries and many other venues; notes the vibrant musical and artistic scene across the city; notes the contribution to the culture of city from the University of Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee and Dundee College; looks forward to V & A at Dundee opening and wish the city of Dundee every success in its bid to become UK City of Culture in 2017.



Council agrees to UK City of Culture Bid

27 November 2012

Councillor Richard McCready writes :

I am delighted to say that Dundee City Council has agreed to take forward a bid to be UK City of Culture in 2017 and to look at the possibilities of bidding to be a  European Capital of Culture in 2022. 

I was disappointed that Dundee missed out on bidding to be UK City of Culture in 2013, but I am pleased that we are now working hard to achieve UK City of Culture status.

I warmly welcomed this report.   

It would have been easy for me to make a cheap political point about the UK still being in existence in 2017 but this is much much more important than that. 

This is about saying that we collectively support Dundee.   

That we will do everything in our power to promote our city.   

I think that Dundee is very well placed to win the competition to be UK City of Culture in 2017.   

We have the DCA, Dundee Rep, the McManus, Discovery Point, the Verdant Works, Sensation, the Mills Observatory, the Caird Hall, Broughty Castle, two universities and a college as well as schools across the city.   

There is also a very active amateur dramatic scene.   

There is also a lot of cultural activity right across the city.   

I’m sorry to the organisations which I have left out.   

But I would point out that this is even before that great British institution, the V & A at Dundee comes to town.   

I’m glad that we are going to bring forward plans to bid for the UK City of Culture title.

I am also pleased that we are not just stopping there the city should look to apply to become a European Capital of Culture.

Any bid has to be about everyone in Dundee not just the cultural quarter. 

We need to ensure that any bid includes bringing the very best in culture to everyone in the city. 

It must also be about encouraging people to invest in the city and bring jobs to the city.

The City of Derry becomes the UK City of Culture on January 1st and they have an excellent programme which celebrates the best in international culture as well as the best in local, Ulster, Irish and British culture. 

If the elected representatives of the City of Derry can come together to agree on this then so should we.

I welcome this report and hope that it will be successful for the good of our city.


Sign the petition




The bid  must be about culture but it must also be about bringing regeneration and investment to Dundee.

says Councillor Richard McCready

“Labour are happy to support the proposal.

“We’re really keen for it to go ahead and if we apply then we need to pull out all the stops.

“The city has to go that extra mile.

“It’s important that everyone in Dundee gets behind this important campaign and puts petty party political issues to one side to deliver what is best for the people of Dundee.

“While Dundee has a wide range of cultural venues and a vibrant local arts and culture scene, it is important that this bid is about the whole city and that it enhances the great work done in all of Dundee’s communities by the many cultural agencies working there. 

“ People who work and live in Dundee know that it is a great place to live in and work in .

“ We have got to do all we can to convince the rest of the country to have a look at what is happening in Dundee.

“ The bid  must be about culture but it must also be about bringing regeneration and investment to Dundee.

“ And you can look at how Glasgow used the European City of Culture title to change people’s views of the city, and Liverpool has done the same. "


-as reported in the Evening Telegraph 21/11/2012


Let's make Dundee the UK City of Culture in 2017

says Councillor Richard McCready

In the New Year the City of Derry will become the UK City of Culture for 2013. 

The City of Derry has put together a very exciting programme of events which promote the best in local arts and culture in the City of Derry as well as bringing the best of international arts and culture to the City of Derry. 

I was very disappointed that Dundee did not apply to be UK City of Culture in 2013 and therefore I am committed to doing all that I can to ensure that Dundee bids to become UK City of Culture in 2017 and that Dundee wins that bid.

Dundee already has a vibrant arts and cultural scene with Dundee Rep, the DCA, the McManus, the Caird Hall, the Whitehall Theatre, the Gardyne Theatre, the Little Theatre, Discovery Point, the Verdant Works, Sensation, a vibrant amateur dramatic sector, a vibrant music sector, our educational establishments promoting culture and all of this before the V & A at Dundee opens. 

The V & A at Dundee will surely be the icing on the cake for the city of Dundee and having this great British institution in our city must enhance Dundee’s claim to be the UK City of Culture. 

In the longer term I think that we should have the ambition to apply to be one of the European Cities of Culture. 

Bidding to be the UK City of Culture would be good for the entire city. 

I hope that it would encourage tourism and encourage people to visit our city which will create jobs in our city. 

We must also ensure that cultural activity is not just to be found in the city centre, we must ensure that the wide range of cultural activity that goes on in communities across Dundee is maintained and enhanced.

Being UK City of Culture would be good for our city and would tell people outside Dundee about something which we already know that Dundee is a great place to live and work. 

If the City of Derry can put all the complex political issues which exist in that city to one side and politicians can come to together to promote their city it would be a very sad day if Dundee could not follow suit.

Sign the petition


Back to previous page