Sunderland shortlisted for City of Culture 2021

Peter Lathan

Sunderland is on a shortlist of five for the title of UK City of Culture 2021. The others are Coventry, Paisley, Swansea and Stoke-on-Trent.

The announcement by John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, comes following a meeting of the independent advisory panel chaired by Phil Redmond.

Glen said, “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, the current City of Culture, 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.”

Hull’s programme includes 365 days of cultural events. It is estimated that City of Culture has brought a boost of £60 million to the local economy in 2017. Nine out of 10 residents have attended or taken part in an event as part of Hull 2017 and the city has seen over £1 billion of investment since winning the title in 2013. The winner of UK City of Culture 2021 will also have access to a £3 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

All five shortlisted areas will now be invited to submit a final bid by the end of September. The panel will assess the final bids from the shortlisted cities before a winner is announced in December.

“It is fantastic news that Sunderland has been shortlisted for City of Culture 2021,” said Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, “and it is one step closer to having serious investment in our cultural infrastructure and the opportunity to showcase the cultural talents on offer across Wearside.

“We have so much to offer as a beacon of culture for not only the North East, but also the wider UK and indeed the world.

“This is Sunderland’s opportunity to be put on the map as a top cultural destination, and I—like many others in Sunderland—will continue to back the bid and support the team working to achieve this accolade for our City.”