Coventry's old cathedral ruins. Photo: Andrew Walker. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Coventry named UK City of Culture 2021

Jonathan Knott, 08.12.2017
City is eligible for £3m HLF grant
Coventry will be the UK City of Culture in 2021, the minister for arts, heritage and tourism John Glen announced yesterday.

The city, which is now eligible for a £3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, overcame rival bids from Paisley, Swansea, Sunderland and Stoke-on-Trent to win the title.

An independent panel chaired by television producer and screenwriter Phil Redmond visited each of the five candidate cities before reaching a decision.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that Coventry’s bid “impressed the judges with its focus on youth, diversity and the scale of impact not only in Coventry but across the UK as a whole”.

Coventry 2021 said that the year will include “a Street of Culture programme co-producing work in local communities”, as well as “major productions by the RSC and the screening of the entire works of Shakespeare in iconic locations”.

The city will also develop a project that looks at two of the most diverse streets in Britain through the eyes of photographers.

The build-up to will begin next year with a shop front theatre festival and a lighting commission to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city’s cathedral.

Laura McMillan, the manager of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “It’s been a bid by and for the people of Coventry. It has brought so many people and organisations together and this is just the start. Over the next three years we will ensure that everyone in the city, which has been moving people by cycle car and jet engine, is now moving people through culture.”

DCMS said that the two previous holders of the title, Derry-Londonderry in 2013 and Hull this year, had realised economic benefits such as increased investment and a rise in visitor numbers. Hull’s local economy received an estimated £60m boost in 2017, according to the department.

John Glen said: “I would like to congratulate Coventry on winning UK City of Culture 2021. The title is an incredible opportunity for Coventry to boost investment in the local economy, grow tourism and put arts and culture centre stage.

“In 2017 I have seen the truly transformative effect this prestigious title has had on Hull. The city has embraced City of Culture and in doing so has demonstrated how culture, the arts and heritage can bring communities together. I look forward to seeing what Coventry has in store in 2021.”

Phil Redmond, the chair of the independent expert advisory panel said: “Once again the process has highlighted the depth and strength of culture across the UK. That made it difficult choosing a winner, but I would like to congratulate Coventry and I am sure they will build on the legacy of Derry-Londonderry and Hull and bring about a transformational change in 2021.

“For those that weren’t successful this time, I hope, as has happened in other places, that they will look to the future and build on the wider cultural partnerships they have created.”

Comments

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Jonathan Gammond
Access , Wrexham County Borough Museum
19.12.2017, 23:48
The Cities of Culture competition is a great idea and once every four years is probably often enough to make it something special. Culture is essential to the idea of the city. However, not everyone lives in cities or even near one ambitious enough to go for city of culture status. Following the latest and last report from the Social Mobility commission, perhaps the UK Government could consider a 'County Culture' competition every four years from 2019 for rural areas and county towns across the UK to bid for funding a cultural programme of special events and activities for people in those many regions that don't have the big city museums, art galleries and theatres.