A group of Ukrainian creatives have been invited to design Birmingham’s Eurovision bid logo, after it made the first-round shortlist to host Eurovision 2023.

The artists put pen to paper, creating their initial design ideas to help develop a bid logo for Birmingham that reflects Ukrainian culture, music and heritage.

The workshop took place at Birmingham’s Council House with support from representatives of Centrala Space – the only community-based organisation in the UK, dedicated to promoting Central and Eastern European arts and culture.

Birmingham’s strong affiliation with Ukraine, including being twinned with the country’s sixth largest city Zaporizhzhia, will be at the heart of its bid to host Eurovision next year.

Supported by a comprehensive Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games festival and legacy programme, the city also has a ready-made platform to collaborate with local arts, cultural and creative organisations as part of its bid.

The UK has agreed to host the Eurovision in 2023 on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine
The UK has agreed to host the Eurovision in 2023 on behalf of 2022 winners Ukraine

At the end of last month, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the BBC confirmed the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be hosted in the United Kingdom on behalf of this year’s winning broadcaster, Ukraine’s UA:PBC.

The decision was taken after organisers “regrettably” announced next year’s event could not be held in Ukraine for safety and security reasons in light of the Russian invasion of the Eastern European nation.

Following discussions, the BBC, as runner up in the 2022 Contest, was invited by the EBU to act as Host Broadcaster for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest.

“We’re exceptionally grateful that the BBC has accepted to stage the Eurovision Song Contest in the UK in 2023,” said Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor.

“The BBC has taken on hosting duties for other winning countries on four previous occasions. Continuing in this tradition of solidarity, we know that next year’s Contest will showcase the creativity and skill of one of Europe’s most experienced public broadcasters whilst ensuring this year’s winners, Ukraine, are celebrated and represented throughout the event.”

Ukrainian creatives in Birmingham begin Eurovision bid logo design after city is shortlistedBCC
Ukrainian creatives in Birmingham begin Eurovision bid logo design after city is shortlisted

Mykola Chernotytskyi, Head of the Managing Board of UA:PBC, added:

“The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will not be in Ukraine but in support of Ukraine. We are grateful to our BBC partners for showing solidarity with us. I am confident that together we will be able to add Ukrainian spirit to this event and once again unite the whole of Europe around our common values of peace, support, celebrating diversity and talent.”

Representatives from UA: PBC will work with the BBC to develop and implement the Ukrainian elements of next year’s shows. Ukraine, as the winning country of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, will also automatically qualify to the Grand Final of the upcoming Contest.

The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 could potentially take place in Birmingham UKEurovision
The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 could potentially take place in Birmingham

Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC said:

“It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege.

“The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity. The BBC will now begin the process to find a Host City to partner with us on delivering one of the most exciting events to come to the UK in 2023.”

The BBC has staged the Eurovision Song Contest more times than any other broadcaster, hosting in London in 1960, 1963, 1968 and 1977, Edinburgh in 1972, Brighton in 1974, Harrogate in 1982 and Birmingham in 1998.

The BBC has staged the Eurovision Song Contest more times than any other broadcasterEurovision
The BBC has staged the Eurovision Song Contest more times than any other broadcaster

In a statement, Eurovision organisers said, “Next year’s Host City will be chosen in the coming months following a bidding process. The dates for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be announced in due course.

“The logo for the 2023 event will also be revealed later and will reflect the unique staging of next year’s Contest and the cooperation between the host country and this year’s winners.”

The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest live music event, organised annually since 1956 by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which represents public service media in 56 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Tickets for Eurovision 2023 won’t be announced until a Host City in confirmed. This year’s musical talent competition reached over 180 million viewers on TV and digital platforms.

Birmingham was the last UK city to host the Eurovision Song Contest, back on 1998, and is currently shortlisted as one of 7 British cities to potentially host next year’s event.

Birmingham is shortlisted as one of 7 UK cities who could potentially host Eurovision 2023 Eurovision
Birmingham is shortlisted as one of 7 UK cities who could potentially host Eurovision 2023

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham has long been home to a proud Ukrainian community and, thanks to our partners at Centrala Space, our bid to host Eurovision 2023 will reflect the city’s Ukrainian culture. This is Ukraine’s Eurovision and if we are chosen to host, Birmingham will do them proud.”

Ilona Mandyradzhy, Gallery Assistant at Centrala Space, said: “Having arrived in Birmingham at the beginning of the year to study, I am proud to live in a city that has been so supportive of me and my fellow Ukraine’s. This is why I am supporting Birmingham’s bid to host this iconic event on our behalf.”

In 1998, the Eurovision Song Contest was held at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena, now named Utilita Arena. Venue owners NEC Group are supporting the bid.

“It’s a really important moment as Birmingham takes its first steps in creating a Eurovision bid that reflects Ukrainian culture, music and heritage. The city’s mixing pot of culture and community interests has enabled us to collaborate with local Ukrainian creatives who, themselves, have kickstarted our final bid here today,” said Guy Dunstan, Managing Director of NEC Group Ticketing and Arenas.

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