Eight places across the UK – including counties, cities and towns – have been longlisted for the UK City of Culture 2025 title.
Announced last week by culture secretary Nadine Dorries, the bidders to host the year-long cultural festival are:
- Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Northern Ireland
- Bradford, Yorkshire, England
- Cornwall, south-west England
- Derby, East Midlands, England
- Southampton, south-east England
- County Durham, north-east England
- Stirling, central Scotland
- Wrexham County Borough, north Wales
For the first time, the longlisted places will each receive £40,000 to develop their applications. The bidders will work with a panel of experts and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to finalise their bids before a shortlist is announced early next year.
Winning the title enables hosts to attract additional investment, create jobs and draw thousands of visitors to their local area. Previous title-holders include Derry-Londonderry (2013), Hull (2017) and this year’s City of Culture, Coventry.
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.”
Phil Redmond, chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “For the first time, each longlisted city will receive financial support to help them develop their vision. 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 competition is delivered by DCMS in collaboration with the offices for Scotland and Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive.