Will Sunderland become City of Culture 2021?

Peter Lathan

The winner of the bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021 will be announced on 7 December.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced this morning that the winning city will be revealed live on 7 December by Arts and Culture Minister John Glen on BBC One’s The One Show. The programme will be broadcast from Hull, the current UK City of Culture, between 7PM and 7:30PM.

In the run-up to the announcement, The One Show will be profiling each of the shortlisted contenders.

DCMS will also be highlighting the cities, with each being given a designated day to shine on the department’s social media channels. Sunderland’s day is Tuesday (5 December) and the City of Culture bid team has asked supporters to show how much the city wants the title.

“Our final presentation to the judges is in Hull next Thursday morning, so we won’t have too long to wait for a decision,” said City of Culture Bid Director Rebecca Ball. “We’ve come a long way since first announcing the bid and the support shown by the city and the wider region has been tremendous.”

The bid team has asked for a social media takeover from 9:00 on Tuesday 5 December to showcase people, places, songs and stories that best capture Sunderland, using the hashtags #Sunderland2021 and #UKCityofCulture2021 and the tag @DCMS.

Keith Merrin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, the company set up to deliver the bid, added, “next Thursday is an important day for the city and we’re all hoping and praying that the result goes our way. But win or lose, the city is in a much different position now than it was when we first declared our intention to bid for the title.

“Not just in terms of infrastructure and substantial investment into our arts and culture sector, and not just in a change of how our city is seen—the bidding process and our shortlisting has given us all a huge confidence boost. Others now recognise the journey we’re on, and the momentum that the bid has built will continue whether we’re successful next week or not.”