Eight areas longlisted to be named UK city of culture 2025

8 October 2021, 09:15

Coventry's bombed-out cathedral has been one of its cultural centres during its time as UK city of culture
Coventry's bombed-out cathedral has been one of its cultural centres during its time as UK city of culture. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Eight areas have been longlisted to become the UK's next city of culture in 2025.

For the first time each area will be granted £40,000 to bid to take over the award from Coventry.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the focus of the competition this year is "levelling up access to culture across the country".

A record 20 areas placed bids for the list but Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, Stirling and Wrexham County Borough were selected.

All areas 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.

The £40,000 will be available for each area to develop their application before the shortlist is announced in early 2022.

Each area will work with a panel of experts and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to finalise their bids.

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Ms Dorries said: "Winning the UK City of Culture competition has a hugely positive impact on an area, driving investment, creating jobs, and highlighting that culture is for everyone, regardless of their background.

"This year's focus is on levelling up access to culture across the country and making sure there is a legacy that continues for generations to come. I look forward to seeing what this brilliant longlist has in store as they continue in the competition."

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The Culture Secretary will hold talks with all unsuccessful bidders to discuss how the areas can be supported emerging from the pandemic.

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Chair of the City of Culture expert advisory panel Sir Phil Redmond praised the diversity of the long-listed areas: "Each is different. Each has its own story to tell. All share a common aim: to demonstrate how culture can act as the creative catalyst for change.

"I am really looking forward to seeing how each story develops."

The winner of the accolade will be announced in spring 2022.