CULTURE runs through the veins of a city like Canterbury so it feels absolutely right to be part of the east Kent bid to be City of Culture in 2017.
The great thing about this bid is that it is 100 per cent collaborative. It is unique, exciting and driven by the belief that by working together, east Kent can deliver everything the competition wants. At the same time, winning would help deliver what the area needs – continued regeneration and transformation.
In 2002, Canterbury led an east Kent bid to be European Capital of Culture. We didn't win, but through the process we set out our stall, made friends, knocked on doors and began to believe that we could achieve our ambitions whatever the outcome of the competition.
Now we have a cultural infrastructure to be proud of – buildings that have transformed their towns like Margate's Turner Contemporary, Canterbury's new Marlowe Theatre and Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, Folkestone's Creative Quarter, and more.
We also have flourishing creative communities, thriving arts organisations, new creative businesses and a range of fantastic festivals with national and even international reputations, such as the Whitstable Biennale.
East Kent isn't just 'on the cultural map' – it has redrawn the map and is now one of the most exciting corners of the United Kingdom.