About our bid
Nestled between capital and coast, we are at the forefront of our island’s connection with the outside world. Ours is a frontier land, a spiritual home for pioneers and pilgrims the world over, for whom our ‘unreal city’ – our buildings, our landscape and our people – has opened up new avenues for creative expression.
All have left their stake in the ground – their journeys punctuated by cultural milestones of enduring power and international significance.
Our coast has inspired artists as diverse as JMW Turner and Derek Jarman, Marcel Duchamp and Tracey Emin. Our towns have breathed life into the prose, poetry and drama of Geoffrey Chaucer and Christopher Marlowe, Charles Dickens and Ian Fleming, TS Eliot and HG Wells, Anthony Browne and Marcus Sedgwick. And our white cliffs remain central to the image and identity of the UK as a whole.
And yet, like many frontier lands, we are still yet to be fully explored. For hundreds of years there has been movement through East Kent. But now there is a movement in East Kent.
Together we hold the key to a new city – a city imagined.
And that key is culture. Through culture we aim to build on our pioneering heritage of innovation, uniting our diverse communities in a process of collaboration, consolidating and co-creating our shared identity. Culture is the common language with which we are weaving a new and modern tale of renewal and growth.
Our characters? The pilgrims of Chaucer’s tales – the knights, millers, merchants, shipmen, wives and cooks – find their present-day equivalents in the cultural pioneers that together make up our dreamland. In our dancers and artists, directors and curators, entrepreneurs and inventors. In our teachers and students, mothers and fathers, grandmas, grandpas and grandkids.
This is their story, and this is their bid. They are the freemen of our city and they alone have the power to unlock the UK’s historic gateway. To unlock its potential, unlock its creativity – unlock its growth.
So ours is a growth story. A story of:
Cultural Growth: in which we harness the artistic and creative power of our people and throw open our cultural institutions for collective ownership
Economic Growth: in which our creative industries are leading the charge of recovery in an area of deprivation and social need, hit hard by recession.
Personal Growth: in which individuals are given the confidence, inspiration and support they need to unleash their full potential.
Social Growth: in which culture joins diverse communities, young and old, rich and poor, and creates new and meaningful identities.
2017 will be a crucial milestone in our cultural journey – empowering our citizens, consolidating our identity and building our confidence. We want to open our door and invite the world to see what we have to offer – our history and our modernity, our contrasts and our creativity.
From the white cliffs and expansive coast that form our city walls, we will tell our story, lifting the lid on our unexplored, often surprising and always inspiring conceptual city: a city of the mind; a city of ideas; a city of ambition – a city imagined.