York 800's Legacy
6:01am 3rd March 2013
York 800 has been under review by the city council.
Creating a sense of belonging - is just one of the legacies that's come from the year long festival.
Councillor Sonya Crisp tells Minster FM about the sporting legacy its left behind.
Here's the councils report into York 800:
This report reviews the programme of activities that were
undertaken in York as part of our York800 celebrations: including
the two royal visits and the Olympic torch and Paralympic lantern
relays, and sets out the aspirations and plans for continuing the
cultural and community legacy in 2013 and beyond.
2. 2012 marked a significant year in York’s history, being 800 years
since the city was granted a royal charter by King John in 1212.
This charter enabled York’s citizens to take charge of their own
affairs with the right to elect a council, hold courts, appoint a mayor,
and collect taxes. To celebrate this historic anniversary a
programme of activities was undertaken, designed to engage York
residents, communities and businesses in the civic life of the city.
3. York 800 was supported by a sub group of York @ Large, the city’s
strategic cultural partnership, and an internal York 800 officer group
which met monthly both prior to and during the year. They agreed
that the outcomes we were looking to address were:
• building an understanding of the past
• celebrating a sense of belonging in the present to all our
• contributing towards a shared vision of the future of York.
4. As momentum around the York 800 theme grew many community
and business organisations adopted these aspirations and put their
organisation, time and resources behind successful activities in the
York 800 programme.
The challenge that remains now is to ensure that York does not lose
this momentum and motivation that was inspired by York 800 and
that we build on the goodwill, networks and activities undertaken in
the year as we move forward.
5. In preparation for, and throughout the York 800 programme, we
worked closely with the York 800 advisory group whose members
included representatives from higher education, faith, business,
media, voluntary sector and cultural organisations to ensure a
coordinated approach. These members not only advised on
potential programmes and activities but brought their own resources
to the table to support events and activities. They also used their
networks to promote York 800 which brought in additional activities
for the programme throughout the year.
The York800 programme review
6. When plans for the year were initially submitted to the Cabinet
Member for approval in November 2011 we had a programme of 30
events, activities and festivals. One of the early decisions by the
Advisory Group was that as long as activities met the criterion of the
three outcomes listed (Para 3.) and were of sufficient quality to
promote York positively then they would be allowed to use the
York800 logo and brand themselves a York 800 activity. While
there was some small element of rebranding of already planned
activity this meant that activities were added throughout the year as
more people understood what we were trying to achieve and wished
to be involved in the success. This approach was in contrast to the
LOCOGs approach with Olympic and Paralympic branding and we
undoubtedly benefited from this decision with over 100 events
making it into the final printed brochures and nearly 200 separate
events listed on the website throughout the year.
7. In addition to specific events the initial budget supported a
substantial level of marketing and promotion activity. As a result of
this and with active support from the press partners on the York 800
advisory group we had at least one York800 press article per week,
from July we had one 15 minute weekly radio programme on BBC
Radio York, we produced 8000 bi annual events brochures, a rolling
events website and the York 800 logo appeared on every council
letterhead, every piece of events publicity and over 25,000 badges.
It was picked up in worldwide publicity generating articles in the
Times and the Huffington Post.
8. Some of the bigger one off events of the year, Charter Weekend,
Queen’s Maundy Thursday visit, Mystery Plays, Olympic and
Paralympic Relays have generated attendance figures and
economic impact data. However, such was the range of activities
that we are currently still collating the attendance and evaluation
information from the other events. The review below has allotted
each of the major events under consideration into the outcome with
the greatest relevance to the activity. However, it is recognised that
many events had impacts in all three of the outcome areas. Given
the amount of activity undertaken in this year there approach within
the review has been to pick out highlights to illustrate the outcomes
9. Understanding the past – King George the Fifth said “York’s history
was the history of England”, and this outcome was to encourage a
greater appreciation of the city’s unique contribution to the
development of civic society in the UK. The part that businesses,
guilds and commerce has played in the development of local
democracy in the city including the emergence of the role of the
Lord Mayor were explored fully in a series of exhibitions, public
lectures and celebratory events.
10. Both the Minster and Fairfax House ran exhibitions. The Minster
had a year round programme entitled the Eight Mysteries of York
Minster exploring building of the Minster and their treasures. In
October they opened their Orb, educational centre dealing with the
construction of the Minster for the 13th century to the present day.
Fairfax House hosted an exhibition of artistic views of York. Both
organisations ran a full educational programme.
11. In April the York Museums Trust had HM the Queen open their
“1212 – the makings of the city” exhibition and since then over
70,628 people have attended the exhibition. It is still open and
deals with the social and ecclesiastical changes that were taking
place in society at the time, with particular reference to York and the
North. Education activities for school children have run alongside
the exhibition introducing young people to the regional and national
role that York played in the 13th century.
12. York is host to the National Quilt Museum and we worked with them
and the National Quilters Guild to encourage responses from all
over the country to the theme York 800 – Quilt City. Following a
juried submission process 29 quilts were chosen for exhibition on a
trail around the city centre.
In addition two quilt artists produced special commissions on the
theme of York 800 which are now in the Quilt Museum’s permanent
13. The original idea for ‘a small celebration’ around the city’s 1212
charter came from Richard Taylor, City Archivist. The libraries and
archive service played a major role in the activities this year from
their production of a mounted ‘archives’ exhibition which was shown
both inside and outside York Explore, through to the ‘Mystery In the
Minster’ specially commissioned book by Susannah Gregory for
Big City Read, and many other activities in between. It was fitting
therefore that the successful Heritage Lottery Stage 2 bid for rehousing
the City Archives was announced in December 2012
14. Creating a sense of belonging in the city: York is an increasingly
multicultural city and while the majority of people feel that they enjoy
living here and belong to the city there is still more to be done to
make sure everyone feels as if they have a part in civic life. This
outcome sought to promote activities to ensuring that all residents
felt as if they had a stake in the city.
15. York Stories 2012 - a community story capture programme was
launched in March with the aim of capturing over 800 stories from
all sections of the community in the city. This target has been more
than met with over 1000 stories lodged via the York Stories2012
website, work with the press and community organisations and
specific story catcher events throughout the year.
16. In April HM the Queen, HRH Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Princess
Beatrice visited the city to distribute the Maundy money at York
Minster, enjoy a civic lunch at the Mansion House with various
community members including the Community Pride award winners
and open the “1212 –The making of a city” exhibition at the
Yorkshire Museum. The sun shone and over 40,000 people
cheered her entrance to the city at Micklegate Bar and her route
around York. Coverage of the event was broadcast world wide.
17. In June we welcomed the Olympic torch to the city with street
entertainment throughout the city centre and a sports and evening
event at the racecourse. Over 55,000 people lined the route of the
Olympic Torch, with over 300 volunteer stewards, 18 entertainment
groups giving their talent for free, nearly 200 cyclists accompanying
the torch convoy and an ‘on the move’ Twitter poetry programme.
On the day the sporting activities were organised Sports and Active
Leisure with York Arts Education undertaking the Sporting Giants
programme. There were over 24,000 people in attendance at the
Knavesmire to see the stage performers and Harvey Smith
completed our section of the torch relay by lighting the cauldron on
stage. The twin report on the York Gold 2012 legacy has more
details on the voluntary sporting activities supporting this event.
18. Specifically for the York800 celebrations, the Arts and Culture team
supported the Ebor Vox programme over our ‘Charter Weekend’
which saw over 200 community choirs and 300 school children
come together to sing a specially commissioned choral work by
Benjamin Till with lyrics sourced from an open poetry competition.
Over the Charter Weekend, on the 7th, 8th and 9th July, the choirs
collectively and individually delighted us with ‘Flash choirs’
throughout the city culminating in the EborVox event on the 9th July.
Chilli Bon Bon, York St John’s and Ebor Morris dancers joined with
Shepherds Brass Band, St Chad’s Scouts and 6 giant puppets to
accompany the choral rendition of ‘Our City’ by the massed choirs
from the community. This has been captured in the film which can
be downloaded from www.eborvoxfilm.net or the City Council
website. Flooding meant the postponement of the York Regatta.
19. Our second official royal visit came on Charter Day, 9th July, with
HRH Duke of York joining us for a full day of celebrations. HRH
Duke of York visited the set of the Mystery Plays being build in
Museum Gardens, reviewed the plans in development for the new
home for the City Archives, joined the Civic Party to serve our
special York800 birthday cake, (made up of 800 cup cakes made by
York College catering students) and hosted a reception at the
Mansion House for representatives of the voluntary and community
groups that had involved themselves in the York 800 celebrations.
20. York Theatre Royal, York Museums Trust and Riding Lights
together formed the York Cultural Company to stage the York
Mystery plays 2012 in Museum Gardens for the whole of August.
As well as a critical success these plays, the audience of over
32,000 ensured that they made a small profit. An eighteen month
long community programme was delivered and ensures that the
Mystery Plays were supported by over 1700 volunteers from all
sections of the community right across the city.
21. York’s entry into Britain in Bloom was supported by York @ Large
and included in this year’s programme was the York 800 flower bed
by Lendal Bridge and the York 800 garden planted by the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation at Homestead Park featuring only plants that
would have been available in the city in 1212. York won Gold in the
Britain in Bloom competition for the first time.
22. In August we hosted the Paralympic Lantern and became the hub
point for Yorkshire as our lantern travelled from London and then
split into 5 Yorkshire lanterns at York. We hosted our Paralympic
Lantern for a weekend which included; a reception at the Royal
York Hotel, an open top bus tour to Celebrating Ability Day, visit to
Special Olympics sports clubs, an afternoon with Channel 4 at York
Races and leading and (by great sleight of hand) finishing the re run
York Regatta. The twin report to this on the York Gold 2012 legacy
has more details on this event.
23. Given that the 1212 Charter set in process our own local democracy
in the city, York undertook a whole range of York 800 activities
during the national Local Democracy Week. With the
encouragement of new civic volunteering in mind, each Councillor
had their opportunity to tell their story on what first motivated them
to become councillors. Both ward and parish councillors were
invited to take part and their stories were recorded for the Archives
and some were displayed in the Guildhall. In addition, York Civic
Trust held an educational debate programme open to all York
secondary schools, there was a community ‘Question Time’ and the
University of York started a programme of historical public lecture
which ran until the end of the year.
24. Each of the major activities noted above ran programmes of work to
ensure that they gave opportunities for those not usually involved in
culture, or those communities with low participation rates, to get
involved. The support from, not only the Arts and Culture team but
cultural organisations throughout the city as well as thousands of
volunteers, brought about a real sense of belonging to the city. The
volunteers for the Mystery Plays 2012 have already organised
themselves into a York Mystery Plays Supporters Group with the
mission to support all future productions of the Mysteries in the city.
Some of the positive public comments on both Ebor Vox and the
York800 year long programme were captured in two films that were
shown all around the city as part of the New Year’s Eve and end of
York 800 celebrations. All films can be downloaded from the
25. Creating a future: As well as connections into York Business Week,
Venturefest and many of the major festivals in the city, York 800
saw the emergence of at least three new festivals going forward.
Although the city has boasted being a city of Festivals since 2004,
York 800 saw not only a new way of working and collaborating in
the city, but the increased willingness of the wider community to
involve themselves in developing strong and quality cultural
26. Following the York 800 launch at Resident Festival in January 2012,
HMD, Early Music, Illuminating York, Aesthetica Short Film Festival
(ASFF) and the Food and Drink Festivals all delivered supporting
programmes for York 800 as their contribution to this special year.
However three new festivals also emerged that looks set to become
a permanent legacy of the year.
27. Easter 2012 saw the launch of the Chocolate Festival mainly driven
by York Cocoa House and the Chocolate visitor attraction, but
drawing in contributions from artisan chocolateers throughout the
city. With the establishment in November of the York Guild of
Confectioners (the first new guild for many years) with its emphasis
on quality chocolate and confectionary produce then York’s
reputation as a world class Chocolate visitor destination is set to
grow. This Festival will be supported by our Cultural, Tourism and
City Centre teams.
28. York has a national reputation for its street entertainers and
buskers. Timed to contribute to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
celebrations CYC Arts and Culture and City Centre Events teams
launched our first Buskival over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
Despite two days of very contrasting weather the programme and
involvement of the Busking community proved a bit hit with the
public. It was supported by a major sponsorship deal from
Homesense. We will be retaining this festival as an annual event
and working with the positive community commitment from Ebor
Vox and the Torch Relay we will be seeking to include elements of
poetry and flash choirs.
29. York Archaeological Trust launched their Medieval Festival in
collaboration with a range of other providers and helped to cement
a whole summer of medieval themed activities also encompassing
Big City Read. YAT capped this off with an archaeological dig at
the seat of local democracy, the Guildhall. It is their intention to
continue a Medieval Festival in early August every year.
30. There are also emerging a range of benefits to the York 800
programme. In particular the following should be noted and
considered moving forward:
• The early involvement of a wide range of strategic partners
across the city allowed for involvement in the shaping of the
programme which considerably enhanced the ownership of
the York 800 theme. This brought a huge amount of
additional resources to the year not only in terms of events but
also in participation and promotion of the key messages of the
• A strong internal CYC team which, while lead by Arts and
Culture, had a regular and committed membership from right
across the council.
• The early decision for the logo and the branding of both York
800 and York Gold to be open to a wide range of uses,
subject to meeting three simple and straightforward criteria.
This encouraged community groups to develop their own
approach to the celebrations and certainly strengthened
• Early and positive engagement with local media through the
Advisory Group. Both the Press and BBC Radio York made
positive contributions to the development and delivery of
major events throughout the year.
• The recognition that this could not be delivered by our own
resources and, that working by with partners, we developed
and encouraged a new culture of volunteering in the city.
Although these approaches are not new the combination of all of
them has delivered stronger partnerships for delivery across the city
and should be the basis on which we move forward with events,
tourism and cultural sector activities.
31. York Stories 2012 has left specific legacies around approaches in
community art work through: empowering partners to deliver, the
use of instantly accessible technology and establishing protocols
whereby community generated creative production can be
accessed by other artists to deliver additional artistic product.
Stories have been used to deliver Illuminating York artworks, a
community painted “Bayer’s Tapestry” and we are in the process of
developing city trails using the stories submitted and mobile app
32. The Royal Visits, the Olympic torch and Paralympic Lantern relays
in the city, the York Regatta, the Jane Tomlinson York 800 10K run
and Ebor Vox activities have left a strong legacy of new events and
the confidence to work across the council, and with external
partners, to deliver, safe, successful and enjoyable mass
participation events. This includes new approaches to operational
management, collaboration across media and marketing
communication and working with specialist teams, i.e. Sport and
Active Leisure, Minster Chapter. Most striking in this has been the
increased use and confidence in operating with a wide range of
volunteer workers and voluntary groups. As we take on more mass
participation events like the Tour de France and the Yorkshire
Marathon we will build on the skills and expertise developed.
33. Making effective use of modern technology has almost become a by
word in reports, however During York 800 the city stepped up its
game in using modern technology; not only as a way of delivering
elements of the programme but also in communicating this and
enabling more people to participate. Chief amongst this was the
York Stories 2012 website, Facebook and Twitter programmes.
Pilot Theatre, in a unique and groundbreaking programme, allowed
internet users to choose their viewing options on the Mystery Plays
2012. The York800 year was launched by a free downloadable film
and since then this film has been used by many businesses as a
promotional film for the city. Working with the Archives we have
also captured and recorded many of this year’s activities for
permanent placement in the City Archives.
34. Big screens touring around the city brought the films to the whole
community and all films made have been available for download
from the internet. Going forward this element will pay a key part in
any profile, participation and delivery of events aimed at a wide
community and therefore this has to be included in the planning and
resourcing of the activity.
35. The York800 programme, endorsed by elected members, supported
right across the Council and by a wide range organisations was a
great success. It brought the excitement of a city wide celebration
into local neighbourhoods and engaged thousands of residents and
visitors in York 800 inspired activities.
In particular, it showcased the strength of networks that exist to
promote cultural, sporting and artistic community development in
36. The year long City of Festivals programme and the continuing
legacy work that York 800 has generated is facilitated and
supported by the newly merged Culture, Tourism and City Centre
team. The Council makes a significant investment in this team but
income, additional resources and one off project grants are secured
by the team to continue to deliver world class culture in the city.
37. Moving forward resources associated with events such as the Tour
de France will be considered by a separate paper to CMT but it
should be noted that many of the additional funds and resources
we currently access are only available if CYC can demonstrate
tangible partnership funding either in confirmed budget or in kind
resources against a project. With this in mind, it is important to note
that officers will always look to utilise core budgets creatively to
lever external investment to the city, but still require a sufficient level
of service resource to attract such new funding packages.
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