Record 20 places bid to be crowned UK's next City of Culture

Applications for the UK’s next city of culture have reached record highs, with applications from all four corners of the country.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that a record number of 20 locations have expressed interest in hosting a year of cultural festivals in 2025.

There is an application from every UK nation including Wolverhampton in England, Stirling in Scotland, Conwy County in Wales and a joint application from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon ​​in Northern Ireland.

Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden said: “This record number of applications from all four corners of the country is testament to the great success of the City of Culture in creating investment, creating jobs and building local pride.

“This prestigious award is a fantastic opportunity for cities and municipalities to better recover from the pandemic and I wish all bidders the best of luck.”

The 20 bidders will be reduced to a first long list in the coming weeks and further reduced to a final shortlist at the beginning of 2022. The winner will be announced in May 2022.

Those who make the longlist will receive a first-time grant of £ 40,000 to support the next phase of their applications.

Participants have been tasked by the UK government to prove they can put culture at the center of their plans to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The successful area will take over the baton of Coventry, the 2021 UK City of Culture, with Hull and Derry-Londonderry already enjoying this status in 2017 and 2013 respectively.

DCMS said Coventry is currently providing “a blueprint for how culture can be at the heart of social and economic recovery” as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Coventry has received more than £ 15.5 million from the government to directly support its program year, DCMS said.

The city has also so far attracted an additional £ 100 million in capital investments to support cultural projects such as the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Cathedral and the Belgrade Theater, among others.

The full list of bidders for UK City of Culture 2025 is:

  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon
  • The city of Bangor and North West Wales
  • The Borderlands region (includes Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Northumberland, Cumbria and Carlisle City)
  • Bradford
  • Conwy County
  • Cornwall
  • Derby
  • County Durham
  • Lancashire
  • Medway
  • City of Newport
  • Powys
  • Southampton
  • Stirling
  • The Tay Cities region
  • Torbay and Exeter
  • Wakefield district
  • City of Wolverhampton
  • Wrexham County Borough
  • Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk

During his 12-month tenure in 2017, Hull recorded more than 5.3 million visits to more than 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions, with 75% of visitors to the port city of Humber saying they changed their perception of the city the more better.

Nine in 10 people in Hull thought the British City of Culture award had a positive impact on the city, and 90% of residents participated in at least one cultural activity, according to the department.

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