UK city of culture 2025: Southampton and Bradford among those on shortlist | Culture

Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham county borough have been shortlisted to become the UK next city of culture, it has been announced.

The finalists were whittled down from a record 20 bids to eight longlisted regions, which also included Cornwall, Derby, Stirling, and the district of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

The successful area will take the baton from Coventry, which is the 2021 UK city of culture, with Hull and Derry having previously enjoyed the status in 2017 and 2013 respectively. The start of Coventry’s year was delayed to May 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The UK city of culture competition shows the important role that culture can play in leveling up our towns, cities and rural communities – bringing investment, great events, thousands of tourists and opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds,” said the arts minister , Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay.

“We have seen a huge positive impact in this year’s host city, Coventry, will millions of pounds in investment and thousands of visitors.”

The competition, organized by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with the offices for Scotland and Wales and the Northern Ireland executive, uses culture as a tool for social and economic recovery.

According to the DCMS, as city of culture Coventry has seen more than £ 172m invested in funding music concerts, public art displays, the UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery, improvements to public transport etc.

More than a third of event tickets issued to Coventry residents as part of the city of culture have gone to those facing financial or other adversity, and a third of the program has been co-created with local communities.

Hull, during its 12-month tenure, had more than 5.3m visits to more than 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions, and 75% of those who visited in 2017 said it had changed their perception of the city for the better.

Nine out of 10 people in Hull thought that city of culture status had had a positive impact and 90% of residents took part in at least one cultural activity, according to DCMS data.

This year, for the first time, the eight longlisted bidders received a £ 40,000 grant to strengthen their applications.

Sir Phil Redmond, chair of the city of culture expert advisory panel, said: “Culture can act as a catalyst for community engagement, civic cohesion and a driver for economic and social change as previously seen not just in Derry-Londonderry (2013), Hull (2017) and Coventry (2021), but all those other places who went on a journey to develop their own cultural strategy.

“Simply taking part has proved a catalyst in itself. We have had a great longlist to select from, which made the shortlisting difficult, but I am now looking forward to visiting each of the shortlisted places with the panel to witness culture’s catalytic effect in action. “

The winner of UK city of culture 2025 will be announced in May.

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