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Introducing Norwich, the City of Stories

Ahead of an incredible year of events taking place in Norwich in 2020; and in the same week  Norwich City Football Club is promoted into the Premier League, we’re excited to launch our new brand for Norwich.

This is a new narrative.

This is a new way of looking at ourselves, of saying what’s already here. These are our voices, our streets. This is not out with the old, it’s saying this is where we come from, what we’re built on, and where we’re going. From the Heartsease Estate to the Ethelbert Gate. These are the lanes, and the river, and the values we were founded upon. This is a place you don’t pass by, but go to by choice. This is where the road leads – to these welcoming streets. To a big-hearted city beneath even bigger skies, and open air, open minds. This is a place of unique perspectives, soaring spires, pub fires.  Of rebels and rebellions, of sanctuary and faith. It’s pie and peas on the market, summer festival nights, Christmas lights, glowing pride. It’s never giving up, it’s pure belief. A roar above rooftops when we score on matchday. A place of welcome. Of refuge and shelter. Of strangers becoming friends. We assemble avengers. We make mavericks. This is not a place in the middle of nowhere, this place is our everywhere, it’s everyone’s. And you’re all welcome here. So, this is a new narrative.  This is our city. And we have a story to tell.

Norwich - The City of Stories
Norwich - The City of Stories

Norwich, the City of Stories – the story so far

Norwich, the City of Stories is already loved. It first began life as a tourism campaign in 2014 and, from today, will celebrate where we’ve come from, what’s happening now and where we want to go in the future. But we’re also telling stories from our past, from being awarded England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, to the University of East Anglia (UEA) pioneering the first Creative Writing MA, to us being home to the only National Centre for Writing. Yet our stories reach beyond just the literary...

  • Norwich is city of many firsts: from opening the first English civic provincial library in 1608 to becoming the UK’s first ever Sharing City in 2019.
  • The city of culture and community: it’s a place where diverse communities live in harmony, and where creative minds come together. Today, 108 languages and dialects from around the world are spoken on our streets.
  • The city of award winners: from our independent stores to our 900-year-old open-air market, winner at the Great British Market Awards 2019.
  • The city of mavericks: Norwich is the only English city to have been excommunicated by the Pope and today the Quadram Institute is at the forefront of a new era in food and health research.
  • The city of literature:  England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, world-class writers start their careers here.  And we’re home to 5% of the UK’s indy publishers.
  • The city of excellence: We breed innovation. Home to 2 leading universities (University of East Anglian and Norwich University of the Arts), 3000 scientists and over 75 science and technology businesses.
  • The city of football: The fans of Norwich City Football Club chant the oldest football song in the world, ‘On the Ball, City’ across the rooftops and into the Premier League.
Norwich - The City of Stories
Norwich - The City of Stories

Why now?

Late last year, VisitNorwich, part of Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) invested in national market research. It was part of a wider initiative to put Norwich on the map and to support the 2040 City Vision, led by Norwich City Council. 81% of Brits love going on a UK city break, and we discovered that Norwich offers everything they look for in a place to go, and more. But some people couldn’t point to Norwich on a map or know what’s found here.

So we partnered with local branding experts: design studio (Ark) and copywriting agency (GrafikLanguage) to help us shape the story and how it’s told. A story that belongs to the people who live and work here. The people that make Norwich what it is.

Norwich the City of Stories - 100% Recyclable tote bag
Norwich the City of Stories - 100% Recyclable tote bag

7 May Launch

Today we’re celebrating the launch with a specially-commissioned poem, ‘What is a Norwich?’ written by award-winning poet Piers Harrison-Reid, an A&E nurse at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. Throughout the day, keep an eye on our city streets and on our castle walls. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Between 11am and 3pm branded totes and enamel badges will be given out in the city centre.
  • We’re giving away packs of 10 limited-edition postcards to keep, plus launching an exciting competition to win one of five prizes if you share your story of Norwich.
  • Live entertainment in the city centre led by the New York Brass Band.
  • Commissioned live performance of ‘What is a Norwich?’ by Piers Harrison-Reid on BBC Radio Norfolk, 3pm and the performance film on Instagram @Norwich_cityofstories.

But this is just the beginning. The new brand will start appearing in new places over the coming weeks and months, from new wayfinding and a brand new website, in print, online and on our streets. And we’ll be gathering your words about what Norwich means to you and why people should choose to come here.

This is our city, and we have a story to tell.