Three Cities Create and Connect was a celebratory programme of arts projects and festivals creatively directed and project-managed by ArtReach. Boosting development of collaborations between Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, a series of new commissions was created in 2005 including Urban Beats. Urban Beats encompassed Classical Friction; a collaboration between Radio 1 DJ Bobby Friction, Viva Orchestra and composer Peter Stacey, and two East Midlands-based choreographers; and Musique et Espectaculo, which brought together North African Rai, Latin American jazz and Carribean sounds with innovative performance pyrotechnics by UK artists The World Famous. Trinidadian carnival artists also took up residence in each of the three cities to create extraordinary costumes with young people that toured throughout the region.
Three Cities brought together Derby City Council, Leicester City Council, Nottingham City Council, emda (East Midlands Development Agency) and Arts Council England, East Midlands, and received funding from the Millennium Commission and Arts Council England through the Urban Cultural Programme. A Three Cities Proposal Fund was also created, enabling arts organisations within the three cities to bid for funding for specific collaborative projects that involved partners in each city and were delivered at festivals throughout the East Midlands.