Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tyneside in Bid for a World Arts Summit

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Tyneside in Bid for a World Arts Summit

Article excerpt

Byline: By Amy Cartmell

Newcastle-Gateshead is bidding to host a prestigious world summit.

The event would bring senior cultural leaders, royalty and visitors from all over the globe to Tyneside.

Arts Council England, North East is behind the high-profile bid to bring the World Summit on Arts & Culture to the region in 2006.

Newcastle-Gateshead is the frontrunner after its successful selection as the UK's choice to hold this major event.

The summit was held in Singapore last year and Jordan, China and Ireland are also keen to play host in 2006.

Officials from Australia and Finland will arrive later this month to tour Tyneside before reaching their final decision.

Andrew Dixon, executive director of Arts Council England, North East, said: "I'm confident that Newcastle Gateshead will make an excellent base for the event.

"Securing the World Culture Summit would enable us to share the story of 20 years of cultural regeneration in the North East and to learn from other projects around the world."

If the bid is successful, it will shine the international spotlight on Tyneside, particularly as the host nation will be invited to hold a whole series of festivals and cultural events around the summit.

The summit would be the Arts Council's third big cultural event for the region in the space of two years. The Sage is to host the International Society for Performing Arts (IPSA) event in June 2005, and it was announced yesterday that Womex, or World Music Expo - one of the world's leading musical events - will be held in the region later next year.

The two officials from the International Federation of Arts Councils & Culture Agencies, the group behind the summit, will visit Tyneside from May 23-25. They are the chairman, Risto Ruohonen from Finland, and executive director Sarah Gardner from Australia.

Ms Gardner said: "Our board is excited by the Newcastle-Gateshead proposals and have asked that we seriously explore the potential for a major summit in England in 2006.

"We'll want to be sure the region has the infrastructure in place to host the event and to build on the success of previous summits in Singapore and Canada."

They will visit cultural venues including the Baltic, The Sage Gateshead, The Biscuit Factory, Live Theatre and Newcastle Playhouse as well as the Angel of the North, Fashion at Belsay and Durham Cathedral.

Neil Rami, chief executive of Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative, is confident Tyneside has what it takes to win the bid: "Attracting the summit would be a major boost for the culture10 programme and our international ambitions as a region.

"Newcastle-Gateshead is recognised as a world-class destination and with the addition of a new inspirational cultural programme running right through to the end of the decade it's the obvious choice to host such a prestigious event. …

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