A record 20 places in the UK have put in bids to be the next city of culture.
Wolverhampton in England, Stirling in Scotland, Conwy county in Wales and a joint application from Armagh city, Banbridge and Craigavon in Irlanda del Nord are among those to have expressed an interest in hosting a year of cultural festivities in 2025.
The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, disse: “This record number of applications from all four corners of the country is testament to the huge success of City of Culture in generating investment, creating jobs and boosting local pride. This prestigious prize creates a fantastic opportunity for towns and cities to build back better from the pandemic and I wish all bidders the very best of luck.”
Il 20 bidders will be reduced to an initial longlist in the coming weeks and then cut down further to a final shortlist in early 2022. The winner will be announced in May 2022.
For the first time, those that are longlisted will be awarded grants of £40,000 to support the next stage of their applications. Entrants have been tasked with proving they can put culture at the heart of their plans to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The successful area will take on the baton from Coventry, which is the 2021 UK city of culture, with Hull and Derry having previously enjoyed the status in 2017 e 2013 rispettivamente.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said Coventry was providing a “blueprint for how culture can be at the heart of social and economic recovery” as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
It said Coventry had received more than £15.5m from the government to directly support its year of programmes. The city has also attracted another £100m in capital investment to support cultural projects such as the Herbert art gallery and museum, Coventry Cathedral and Belgrade theatre, among others.
Hull, during its 12-month tenure, had more than 5.3 million visits to more than 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions, e 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.
The full list of bidders for UK City of Culture 2025 are: Armagh city, Banbridge and Craigavon; the city of Bangor and north-west Wales; the Borderlands region, comprising Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish borders, Northumberland, Cumbria and Carlisle city; Bradford; Conwy county; Cornovaglia; Derby; Contea di Durham; Lancashire; Medway; the city of Newport; Powys; Southampton; Stirling; the Tay Cities region; Torbay and Exeter; Wakefield district; the city of Wolverhampton; Wrexham county borough; and Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk.