The city of Big Ideas

Martin Melarkey, senior programmer Community and Education, from the Culture Company pictured at the opening of the, 'Your 2013: What's The Big Idea? in the White Horse Hotel. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 26.10.11
Martin Melarkey, senior programmer Community and Education, from the Culture Company pictured at the opening of the, 'Your 2013: What's The Big Idea? in the White Horse Hotel. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 26.10.11

Over 200 people gathered together to share ideas and inspiration at the ‘Your 2013’ City of Culture Conference, held at the White Horse Hotel in Campsie on Wednesday past.

The event was full to capacity, with demand for places far outstripped the number of seats available. The aim of the day-long event was to begin pooling ideas of how to celebrate our year-long City of Culture celebrations.

The meeting attracted representatives from all walks of life, including artists, writers, sculptors, musicians and visionaries. As well as the multitude from artistic and creative fields, youth leaders, community organisations and church groups also attended in huge numbers, determined to voice their opinion.

Some of those behind the new City of Culture Company addressed the Willsboro Ballroom, including Shona McCarthy, Martin Melarkey and Graeme Farrow. In coming years, these few will no doubt become familiar faces in the city. As they spoke, their passion for 2013 was clearly evident throughout.

The delegation was then broken into smaller sections for workshops and it was in these smaller workshops that the real ideas began to present themselves. Delegates addressed their own groups, introducing themselves and briefly outlining their own big ideas for the City of Culture year, 2013. The topics were: Big ideas on monuments, public spaces, architecture, landscape, bridges and river; on The Walled City; on capturing stories through creative art; on City of Culture in neighbourhoods, on dealing with the legacy of the recent history/Troubles; and finally, on dealing with the legacy pre-1969 and Derry’s older history.

Inspiration flowed freely, with literally hundreds of ideas floated during workshops and the need for a coherent online database of ideas was mentioned time and time again. In all, the day was a huge success and if this is anything to go by, Derry’s 2013 looks set to become a remarkable year.