What will it take to make Aberdeen a City of Culture?

NEVER has a Scottish city impressed the judges enough to clinch the highly coveted City of Culture accolade. Paisley, with its rich history, vibrant music scene and stunning architecture is aiming to break that record by becoming the first Scottish location to win the title in 2021.

This week, the BBC’s Cultural Grand Tour visits the Renfrewshire town as well as its rivals Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Swansea ahead of the judges from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, with the winner to be announced in December.

Their bid is part of a wider drive to transform Paisley’s future, leveraging its unique heritage and cultural story as the home of the globally-recognised Paisley pattern to create a positive legacy for the next generation. It will see the town build on a multi-million pound investment package which includes a £22m modernisation of the town hall and upwards of £13m invested into transport, public space, culture and art projects.

Aberdeen too has its own rich history and unique heritage; and as our recent Investment Tracker identified, upwards of £8.9bn of transformative public and private investment is due to be delivered in the region before 2030. We have an economic diversification plan that is gathering pace, our strength in innovation is being further developed through city region deal investment and there is real progress with the city centre masterplan.

Critically however, there is a growing passion to redefine our future. The Vanguard Legacy initiative aims to have a direct positive impact on Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire over the next two to five years, building on the momentum and finding new ways of thinking and acting to ensure we become a renaissance region, not a museum to what was once Europe’s oil and gas capital.

The time for energy, passion and fresh thinking is now.

Since September, around 100 volunteers who signed up to be part of Vanguard Legacy have been working in groups to define business cases for eight topics which we believe are part of the route to renaissance.

What is required to make sure any future capital or city of culture bid is successful is one of the key challenges being addressed by the project teams and the groups will present their game-changing ideas to an audience of senior business leaders, politicians and investors at a conference in Aberdeen on December 5.

It will take a collective effort if we are to achieve our ambition of a prosperous future for our area, we all have a responsibility to play our part in making a difference and helping to achieve the things we need to make this an even better place to live, work, study, visit, invest and do business.

Be part of the solution.