Wednesday 21 February 2024
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David Belbin steps down as Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature Chair

After over seven years as Chair of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature (NUCoL), Dr David Belbin has stepped down from the role. 


David, a successful writer and academic, and excellent figurehead for Nottingham and literature over the past decade, was part of the original team who began developing the idea to make Nottingham a UNESCO City of Literature. He steered this aspiration into a successful bid: Nottingham was subsequently recognised by UNESCO in December 2015 as a city that met the high standards to become part of the Creative Cities Network.

Following this success, David’s leadership has seen NUCoL exceed expectations, rapidly developing into the dynamic, international organisation that it is today, promoting the joys of the written and spoken word in Nottingham, and the excellence of Nottingham on a global stage. NUCoL is very much working to fulfill the organisation’s slogan that David coined as a mission statement:  “Build A Better World With Words”.

David steps down at an exciting time for NUCoL, as it prepares an application to become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a commitment to developing the organisation using all four of Investment Principles: Ambition & Quality, Dynamism, Environmental Responsibility, and Inclusivity & Relevance. 

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David Belbin said: “Chairing NUCOL for its first seven and a half years has been by turn absorbing, exhilarating, exciting and fulfilling.

“We’ve accomplished a great deal since winning the UNESCO designation, forging new networks across the city and creating countless opportunities for young people.

“It’s time for me to move on and I couldn’t be happier about my successor as Chair. Patrick will do a brilliant job, leading our excellent board and terrific team into our second decade.

“He has the determination, depth of experience and people skills that the role most requires. He and Sandeep will, I’m sure, provide outstanding leadership in the years to come, continuing to build a better world with words.”


Sandeep Mahal, Director of NUCOL, said: “We give heartfelt thanks as we say farewell to David Belbin, our founding chair and Trustee of many years, who has given so much through his wisdom, commitment and passion for Nottingham and literature.

“It has been the greatest pleasure working with him and we are delighted that David will remain a close friend, supporter, and advocate of our work.

“As we embark on a new strategy, we are confident that our new Chair will ensure a bright future for Nottingham City of Literature, enabling us to continue to make a positive difference and celebrate all the things that make our city such a dynamic, diverse and inspiring place for the written and spoken word”.


Incoming Chair Patrick Limb said:  “David Belbin has been the cornerstone of NUCoL. When launching the successful bid for Nottingham to become a UNESCO City of Literature, he spoke of how ‘we need to use literature to build literacy’.

“In serving from the beginning as our first Chair, David has more than lived up to that mission.

“His committed leadership has overseen the inspired appointment of Sandeep Mahal, and in turn a diverse programme accented on (and increasingly informed by) the young of our city.

“The Board thanks David wholeheartedly for his tireless dedication to building a better world with words.

“With the support of fellow trustees, Sandeep’s excellent team and the Youth Advisory Board – all three growing during David’s tenure – I look forward to playing my part in developing those aims.

“Our hope is to realise the ambition for NUCoL to become a National Portfolio holder supported by Arts Council England, to enhance Nottingham’s pride in itself as a City of Literature”


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