UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist announced

Five towns and cities have been shortlisted to host UK City of Culture 2021, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism.

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, has announced that Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea have been shortlisted to host UK City of Culture 2021.

Of the eleven towns and cities that registered bids for UK City of Culture 2021, five have been shortlisted for the award.

In December 2017, either Coventry, Paisley, Stoke, Sunderland or Swansea will be named the third UK City of Culture, following Derry-Londonderry and Hull’s footsteps.

The winner of UK City of Culture 2021 will have access to a £3 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, and is expected to bring a boost to the local economy.

Glen said: “We have received strong bids from across the UK and now have a fantastic shortlist of five that reflect the diversity and cultural ambition of our towns and cities.

“I want to congratulate all eleven bids which offered brilliant examples of how to celebrate their own unique culture and heritage, and showed just how prestigious and coveted the UK City of Culture is.

“The strength of the competition showed us how valuable our cultural assets are to our towns, boosting tourism and jobs in local communities. I have seen first hand how Hull has embraced its status as City of Culture 2017, and how beneficial it has been for the area. I am looking forward to seeing what will come in 2021.”

Phil Redmond, Chair of the UK City of Culture panel, said: “The quality, commitment and enthusiasm that came across from the eleven bidders made deciding a shortlist to recommend to ministers as difficult as it was for the two previous UK City of Culture competitions. The appetite for using culture to bring about regeneration and to strengthen communities is clearly stronger than ever. Overall the panel thought that five cities’ bids showed the potential to deliver a UK City of Culture 2021 programme. I want to thank all eleven bidders for all their work and look forward to final bids from Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea later this year.”

George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “This is great news for Coventry, and testament to the quality of our bid in highlighting the many strengths our city has to offer.

“The bid also highlighted once again our spirit, determination and commitment to partnership working and I have been hugely impressed by the way business, the public sector, volunteers and voluntary groups have come together during the process so far.

“Coventry is stronger for bidding and, although the competition will be tough, I think we are in a great position to push on and continue to show why we would make an excellent choice to be the UK’s City of Culture in 2021.”

Iain Nicolson, Renfrewshire Council leader, said: “Everyone in Paisley should be very proud today as news that the town has been shortlisted in the UK City of Culture competition for 2021 was announced.

“For the judges to shortlist Paisley is a major endorsement of our ambition to transform perceptions of the town and the fortunes of the whole area.

“A huge number of people worked so hard to get us to this stage and I want to thank each and every one of them – our residents, our partners and our incredibly talented creative community.”

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