Competition intensifies for UK City of Culture 2021

Eleven cities bid for coveted title and extensive investment from the private sector

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that eleven British cities intend to bid for the UK City of Culture 2021. Coventry, Hereford, Paisley, Perth, Portsmouth, St Davids, Stoke, Swansea, Warrington, Wells and Sunderland are each hoping to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity. These areas will participate in a competition designed specifically to utilise culture as a stimulus for social and economic regeneration, to boost tourism and attract increased investment from the private sector.

The competition is held every four years, building on the inaugural British success of Derry/Londonderry in 2013. The city of Hull is the current holder of the title and since the announcement of the award in 2013 has received an estimated £1 billion in investment, with its economy expected to be boosted by £60 million this year alone. The organisers aim to develop Hull into a world-class visitor destination and secure a legacy of approximately 7,500 jobs.

Each city will be required to submit a bid outlining their aspirations for engaging the local community as well as attracting visitors from further afield. As a bidding process, this is not dissimilar to functions Thornton & Lowe perform as a company. Bidding is not solely about contracts; in this instance, the bid will step away from basic facts and figures and detail how culture and the creative arts can influence not only those already invested but others who are yet to be engaged. Rather than merely conform to a rigid application, candidate cities will also be expected to deliver on creativity and artistic merit, whilst demonstrating added value to the community and ensuring a lasting legacy.

The contenders to become the third UK City of Culture are expected to submit their bid by 28th April, with a shortlist to be revealed in the summer and the finalist announced in December.

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