Bradford is among the eight areas longlisted for UK City of Culture 2025 unveiled this week by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.
The places will now work with a panel of experts and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to finalise their bids before the shortlist is announced early next year.
“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,” said Ms Dorries.
“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.”
The competition, delivered by DCMS in collaboration with the Offices for Scotland and Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive, uses culture as a tool for levelling up towns and cities across the country. The longlist was recommended by an independent advisory panel which brings together a wide range of expertise from across the UK.
All bids were asked to explain how they would use culture to grow and strengthen their local area, as well as how they would use culture to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time, this year each longlisted place will receive £40,000 to support the development of their promising proposals.
The winner will be announced in spring 2022 and will follow Coventry’s tenure as UK City of Culture 2021 to take the lead on culture in the UK in 2025.
“We’re thrilled to have made the longlist for UK City of Culture 2025. The competition is about to ramp up and we are completely focused on creating the best possible bid – a winning bid – with and for the district. We’re in this to win,” said Shanaz Gulzar, Chair of Bradford 2025.
“Bradford is changing fast and we want to use our rich cultural heritage, our storytellers and our diverse young population to create a bid that is both recognisably Bradford and a new story written in our own terms.”
Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council added: “Thousands of people across Bradford, Keighley, Ilkley, Shipley and Bingley have been involved in getting the district to this point. To be selected for the longlist of 8 is a massive show of confidence in all that we’ve done together.”
The eight longlisted locations are Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, Stirling and Wrexham County Borough.