Wrexham makes final shortlist in bid to host UK City of Culture 2025
Wrexham County Borough is amongst four locations across the UK to have made the final shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2025 title.
It joins Bradford, County Durham and Southampton in the final stages to host the prestigious event.
The four locations were approved by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries based on independent advice made to the government by a panel of experts led by Sir Phil Redmond.
The finalists were whittled down from a record twenty initial bids to eight outstanding longlist applications which also included Cornwall, Derby, Stirling and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.
All bids were asked to explain how they would use culture to grow and strengthen their local area, as well as how they would use culture to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A series of events will now take place across the county borough before the overall winner is announced by the culture secretary in May.
Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 has seen more than £172 million invested in funding music concerts, public art displays, the UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery, a new children’s play area in the centre of the city, the new Telegraph Hotel and improvements to public transport.
More than a third of event tickets (43 per cent) issued to Coventry residents as part of the City of Culture went to financially stretched people or those facing adversity and a third of the cultural programme was co-created with local communities.
A further £500 million has been ploughed into the city’s regeneration since it was confirmed as the UK City of Culture.
More than £150 million of public and private sector investment was invested into 2013 winner Derry-Londonderry while the 2017 winner Hull saw a 10 percent increase in visitor numbers during its tenure.
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.”
Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive, Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “This is such an exciting moment for the shortlisted cities and we wish them all the best for the next stage.
“Holding the title in Coventry has been a privilege and has made a considerable impact already on the City and its citizens.
“We can’t wait to see what comes next for those who’ve used the bidding process to truly consider the value of culture – all will have inspired the next generation of artists, organisations, funders and supporters.”
The expert advisory panel, chaired by Sir Phil Redmond, will now visit the four shortlisted places before making their final recommendation in May. The winner will be announced this year in Coventry.
The competition, delivered by DCMS in collaboration with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, brings culture into the heart of communities and gives people an opportunity to get involved in everything the arts have to offer.
The eight longlisted bidders received, for the first time, a £40,000 grant to strengthen their applications which were scrutinised by the expert advisory panel against published criteria.
The unsuccessful areas will each receive detailed feedback on their bids. Ministers and officials will also engage with them on how best they can maintain momentum and realise their ambitions in the future.
*Contrary to some ongoing belief on social media, this is not the same as the bid for city status. The UK City of Culture 2025 is a completely separate thing. Enough has been written on this, sadly those people don’t bother reading it – will they read this note?!
Earlier the DCMS issued a press release at 10:40am, giving the above details under specific timed embargo. We tweeted the below, and noted to the DCMS we would remove it when the BBC did – an hour after it was published.
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