Minister launches City of Culture events programme

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The north’s Culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín today launched the Derry City of Culture Cultural Programme for 2013.

The launch, also attended by Junior Minister Martina Anderson, was held in St Columb’s Hall in Derry was hosted by the BBC’s Gerry Anderson and previewed some of the major events planned for the run up to and during 2013.

Minister Ní Chuilín said: “This is an exciting time for Derry and the north and my Department is proud to be part of the cultural renaissance in Derry, showcasing the creativity and vibrancy this city has to offer.

“My Department is contributing over £12million to City of Culture 2013 as part of my continued commitment to Derry and the North West. This will help deliver activities and events designed to cement Derry’s place as a world class cultural hub.

“The Cultural Programme developed by the Culture Company is also focussed on maximising benefits for the local community, boosting skills and jobs, building communities and providing a lasting legacy, with particular efforts at the most excluded sectors of the city.

“As this programme of exciting events is revealed today people can start marking dates in their diary to visit the city. There will be events to celebrate the city’s history alongside events to bring new ideas and art-forms. Music, dance, theatre, photography and literature will feature to name but a few.

“The All Ireland Fleadh will bring Irish traditional music, language and culture to the city for 10 days in August 2013.

“October 2013 will see the Turner Prize leave London for the first time and come to Ebrington.

“Community events throughout the year will see partnerships with schools and the realisation of community cultural strategies, culminating in exhibitions and festivals of local art and culture.

“The next 18 months provide an opportunity for us all to be part of something which will reach an international stage and resonate for years to come. I urge everyone to make a date with Derry.”

Junior Minister Martina Anderson also attended the launch of the Cultural Programme 2013. She said: “The Executive’s commitment to City of Culture is recognised in the Programme for Government with a promise to provide financial and other support across government to ensure the success of the Derry City of Culture 2013. Milestones have been set to deliver a cultural hub at Ebrington in 2013 and to double visitor numbers to the city and visitor spend.

“I am especially pleased that the significant investment by the department in Ebrington has provided for a tremendous venue for many of the exciting events in the 2013 calendar. The ongoing development of Ebrington in partnership with Ilex will provide a lasting legacy for Derry by providing vibrant new spaces for everyone to benefit from.

“The involvement and support of the local community is the key to making 2013 a success and I know that this city and its people will host a City of Culture to remember.”

The Culture Minister also unveiled the new City of Culture mascot.

Carál Ní Chuilín said: “In March we launched a competition during DCAL Creativity month and today it gives me great pleasure to introduce the new City of Culture mascot – Oakey Dokes.

“Oakey Dokes name derives from Derry’s title of the Oak Leaf county and also represents the city’s red squirrel population. This fun character will help promote events and become a recognisable face of City of Culture 2013.”

While in the city, Minister Ní Chuilín also visited Destined an organisation in Great James Street which helps people with a learning disability and St Joseph’s Amateur Boxing Club in Galliagh who have had recent successes at the Irish Boxing Championships.