A record number of regions have applied for the prestigious the UK City of Culture 2025 recognition, including five locations across Wales.
20 regions across the UK have entered the competition run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), with five locations across Wales in the running, including: Newport, Powys, Wrexham County Borough, Conwy County and The City of Bangor. Whichever region is awarded the title of UK City of Culture will benefit from numerous perks such as elevated investment, community uplift and – of course – increased tourism as a city of cultural interest.
The winner is not expected to be announced until spring next year, but even an application for the prestigious title has been shown to aid bids for investment with previous longlisted winners experiencing an increase in national and international partners. This year, long-listed regions will also be awarded grants of £40K for the first time to support the further stage of their applications.
Whichever region is selected for the title will take over from Coventry which took the title as the 2021 UK City of Culture (and received over £15.5 million from the Government to support its year in the cultural spotlight, and continued growth thereafter).
Sir Phil Redmond, Chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, commented on the record number of applicant regions, saying:
“From Derry-Londonderry to Hull and Coventry it has been a difficult and rewarding challenge to select the next UK City of Culture, and the list of potential candidates for 2025 indicates that life in the immediate future is going to be even more challenging! […] The three previous title holders have demonstrated the transformative and catalytic effect culture can bring about, even within places that have been ultimately unsuccessful but have gone on to develop collaborative and sustainable partnerships […] The list for 2025 also demonstrates the breadth of ambition, aspiration and innovation that exists from coast to coast and nation to nation across the UK and I am looking forward to that challenge of immersing myself once again in the UK’s rich seam of creativity.”
You can see the full list of regional entrants below:
- Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon
- The City of Bangor and Northwest Wales
- The Borderlands region, comprising Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Northumberland, Cumbria and Carlisle City
- Conwy County
- County Durham
- City of Newport
- The Tay Cities region
- Torbay and Exeter
- Wakefield District
- City of Wolverhampton
- Wrexham County Borough
- Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk
This list of 20 will be reduced over the next few weeks and whittled down to a final shortlist in early 2022. The winner is expected to be announced next year in May 2022.