Speakers Announced for the 2019 Cities Summit

11 Sep 2019

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Theme: Culture in the City

Where: The Met Hotel, Leeds City Centre

When: 10th October 2019

Cost: Just £95.00 (+VAT) for members for the conference and Light Night Study Tour. This does not include the cost of dinner or the accommodation.

Sponsored by: Blachere Illumination

Book here.

Following a sell out Summer School, we've been busy preparing for our next big event - the Cities Summit 2019 'Culture in the City'.

We are delighted to announce some big speakers who will provide fascinating insight into culture, its impact on town and city centres and how it can be harnessed by place managers to drive footfall, growth and investment.

Here is just some of the exciting speakers and sessions we have in store.
8 out of 10 Shops: How the Media Covers the High Street
Panel Debate

Samantha Fenwick
BBC Consumer Journalist
Radio 4, 5 Live and Breakfast


The media's representation of high streets can be influential in many ways including shaping people's pride in their town, dictating levels of inward investment and determining where high streets lie in the list of political priorities for any government. Representation is so important that it is about time we asked, is media coverage of the high street as fair and as balanced as it can be, and how can we work with the media in a way that is constructive?

At the Cities Summit, we will turn this issue on its head. It is the media who will be in the spotlight as we question key journalists on their role in reporting on town centres. Samantha Fenwick, who has covered issues such as the Portas Review, Business Rates and Permitted Development Rights across the BBC network, will be one of the panellists. 
Reconnecting our Proud Industrial Heritage Through Art

Patrick Fox
Heart of Glass


The loss of industry for our towns and cities in the latter half of the 20th Century has led to a decline in the economic fortunes of many. Increasingly, we are learning how to celebrate our proud industrial past to bring back a sense of pride, rather than just mourn its loss.

At the Cities Summit we will see one such example, with Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass, talking about the great work happening in the arts in St Helens and across the Liverpool City Region.

We Are Heart of Glass

The Art of City Storytelling

Chris Gribble
Chief Executive
The National Centre for Writing


Through the power of word we can set in stone the history and heritage embedded within our cities. Literature is a unique tool for communicating what our 'place' means through different forms. At the Cities Summit, we will be joined by Chris Gribble to hear about the under-utilised art of story telling.

Chris Gribble is the Chief Executive of the National Centre for Writing, an organisation dedicated to exploring the artistic and social impacts of creative writing, literary translation and reading based in Norwich. Chris led Norwich’s bid to become England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012 and the £2.1m capital programme to develop a new home for NCW at the medieval Dragon Hall in the heart of Norwich. 

Creating a City of Ideas and Innovation

Gemma Holsgrove
Festival Executive
Leeds International Festival


Cities are hives of collaboration and co-production. Through a multitude of networks, they can foster the innovation which acts as a spearhead for society's evolution. We will take an active interest in the process of creating the foundation for innovation in the City of Leeds through the Leeds International Festival.

This award winning event began life in 2016 after a city-centre consultation revealed a shared ambition for an aspirational, world-class festival. LeedsBID collaborated with an array of partners to bring together an impressive and eclectic programme of home-grown talent and show-stopping events. Festival Executive, Gemma Holsgrove, will demonstrate how the Leeds International Festival shines a light on the ‘now’ face of Leeds, pushing the city forward as a hub of invention and inclusivity without elitism. 

Leeds International Festival

That's not all. We have other exciting speakers who will be announced later this month.

Watch this space!

Blachere Illumination Announced as Principal Sponsors
We are delighted to announce that company members, Blachere Illumination, will be principal sponsors for the Cities Summit.

They are globally renowned for their work. They are unique in their permanent skill structure; housing a collection of world-class Artists, Designers, Sculptors, Special Effects Programmers, Dressers, Engineers, Project Managers and Account Handlers all under one roof. Providing concept-to-completion in-house allows their team of technicians and installers to see that the delivery of each project is smooth, safe and reliable, monitoring all stages production from creative concept through to installation and hand over. It is great to have them on board as sponsors.

Join us for the Leeds Light Night Festival
Hosted in the City of Leeds, the Cities Summit will take an innovative exploration into city growth through culture. This event takes place during Purple Flag Month on Leeds Light Night – giving delegates the chance to enjoy an unbelievable study tour and see Leeds in a very different setting. 
Special rates for hotel rooms starting at £99 a night (including breakfast and VAT) will be available for delegates on both the 9th October and the 10th October. These will be sent with confirmation of booking. This special rate will expire at the close of play on the 11th September.

The stage is set. Why not join us?

Need to pay via invoice? Then email membership@atcm.org and we'll get you booked on.
Book Your Seat Here

Please note that the conference is scheduled to start at 11am and finish at 5pm but networking and the Leeds Light Night Study Tour will continue into the evening.