In a flurry of civic pride, cities across the UK have been delivering their bids to the Department for Culture Media and Sport to be named as European Capital of Culture 2008. With 12 cities in the title race, competition is high. Newcastle/Gateshead, where billions of pounds have already been invested in cultural infrastructure, is thought to be amongst the front-runners, though Belfast has been widely tipped as a likely winner. Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Imagine Belfast 2008 said: “The bid offers a framework to develop an exceptional cultural programme. We have six years to get it right – the opportunity to be a part of this process starts now.” The winner of the title will not be revealed until March 2003, though a short-list will be announced in September,and the short-listed cities will be named as ‘Centres of Culture’.