On Friday evening the shortlist for 2021 UK City of Culture was announced. Five out of the original list of eleven bidding cities were selected. In exciting news for the region, two West Midlands cities, Coventry and Stoke-on-Trent made the shortlist. Other contenders include Paisley, Sunderland and Swansea.
Laura McMillan, Manager of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:
“We are delighted to be on the five-city shortlist, and that has made us even hungrier for the title in 2021. We know what a great year Coventry could put on, what a great impact it would make on all of our communities and the huge social, cultural and economic benefits it would bring. It’s estimated that tourism alone would be boosted by £80 million, but there is much more to winning than the economy; we want to see a step-change in culture, health and community cohesion across Coventry. The time is right for Coventry. We have the people in place, we have very strong local and regional support, and now it is up to us to create a compelling final bid and to show that we have the whole of the region behind us.”
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Deputy Leader Abi Brown, Chair of the city’s bid said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and will now be working hard to make our final bid the very best it can be. Winning would be the start of a legacy with far-reaching impact that benefits the whole city – it will bring more jobs, more visitors, more top quality cultural activity, boost skills and capacity and increase collaboration, pride and self-confidence across Stoke-on-Trent and beyond. We now need to build on what we’ve done so far to achieve a strong, ambitious final bid that shows the UK exactly what Stoke-on-Trent can do. We know that this is a unique, fantastic city and want to make sure everyone else knows it too.”
One West Midlands region bidder who missed out this time is Herefordshire. Bidding for the whole county rather than Hereford itself, the team said their work will not go to waste after failing to make the shortlist.
The winner, who will be awarded a £3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, will be announced in December.