Leeds 2023


Led by the Leeds Culture Trust (LCT) and in collaboration with Leeds City Council, LEEDS 2023 offers a unique and significant opportunity for the city and city region to embrace culture as a major driver in its economic and social recovery following an unprecedented period of challenges.  LEEDS 2023 will celebrate and embrace difference: Inclusivity and relevance, diversity and sustainability.



The LEEDS 2023 vision is for a thriving Leeds where creativity fuels opportunities for everyone. The mission is to deliver a transformational year of creative experiences connecting and benefiting people now and into the future. A key headline of LEEDS 2023 is ‘opportunity’ – with a strong focus on children, young people and communities, the year will unlock opportunities to engage, learn, connect and grow and will pave the way to new experiences and future employment. LEEDS 2023 is underpinned by five strategic aims:

  1. To unlock opportunities for everyone to live their best life by participating in creative activity.
  2. To boost engagement in culture by people who face barriers because of their experience or circumstances.
  3. To lead and showcase cultural transformation.
  4. To play an active role in the city and region’s recovery, building confidence and lasting economic, social, health and educational benefits.
  5. For LCT to be a diverse, inclusive and values-driven organisation that can effectively deliver Leeds 2023 and create a meaningful legacy for the city.

What will be delivered?

  • Strand 1: Untold Stories – projects that reveal/amplify the city’s diversity and oral histories
  • Strand 2: Surprising and original works/commissions – projects bringing together collaborators in new and different ways, enabling original work from world-class artists and building international collaborations
  • Strand 3: Radical acts and change - projects that celebrate innovation or provoke and encourage social change
  • Strand 4: Playful adventures – projects utilising parks and public spaces to bring people together
  • Strand 5: Future Generations – projects that engage and empower children/young people and support the next generation of creatives

Internationalism will run through all of these, bringing together arts, culture, and heritage across genres, disciplines and countries to think ambitiously about our global connections. Though the pandemic slowed progress through 2020/21, on 25 May 2021, LCT launched a new brand for the city’s Year of Culture celebrations. LEEDS 2023 will see us Letting Culture Loose in what promises to be an exciting year.

What are the impacts/next steps?

The creative programme aims to deliver: 1000 freelance opportunities; 2000 trained volunteers; 150 internships/work placements for students and young people; 100 apprenticeships/accredited training opportunities and 50 entry-level opportunities for young people via education programmes and partnerships. 


Indicative impacts of LEEDS 2023 include: 1310 new jobs in the visitor economy rising to 1620 by 2030*; 10% growth in the Leeds visitor economy in 2023 and 4% growth thereafter*; £114m extra direct and indirect revenue to the Leeds visitor economy*; £49m annual boost to the West Yorkshire visitor economy*; 8 to 1 return on investment for West Yorkshire* 6 to 1 return on investment for Leeds* ; £4bn direct and indirect GVA from Leeds creative and tourism industries in 2019* (*BOP Consulting impacts analysis for LEEDS 2023 completed March 2021)