Competition launches to find UK City of Culture 2021

The Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock is in Hull today to launch the competition for the next UK City of Culture in four years’ time.

“The UK City of Culture is not only a prestigious title, but as Hull has shown, it is a great opportunity to use culture as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock

The culture minister said: “It showcases the unique identity of our cities, helps boost tourism, and raises the profile of art and culture. I urge local authorities and partnerships across the whole UK to consider entering the competition and I hope to see plenty of ambitious, exciting and innovative bids for 2021.”

The launch of the 2021 competition comes as we kick off Hull’s year as the second UK City of Culture, following Derry / Londonderry in 2013. Here in Hull, we marked the start of our year on January 1 with a city centre opening event and a fireworks display attended by 60,000 people. The first week’s Made In Hull celebrations attracting more than 342,000 people over seven evenings. Visitors have continued to flock to the city centre following the surprise installation of Blade, a 75m wind turbine blade into Queen Victoria Square.

Mr Hancock launched the competition at the at the Ferens Art Gallery, which reopens at noon on Friday 13 January 2017 following a 16-month refurbishment, supported by £1 million of government investment.

Councillor Daren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council, said: “Hull is already demonstrating how UK City of Culture can transform the fortunes of a city. For Hull, bidding and hosting UK City of Culture is part of a long-term plan to harness our city’s wonderful heritage and culture to change perceptions of the city, attract investment and create much-needed jobs for local people.

“While culture and the arts are just one part of the jigsaw, we are already seeing huge benefits. Confidence in the city has never been higher and more than £1 billion of investment is flowing into Hull, creating thousands of new jobs.

Visitor numbers are increasing, new businesses are opening in the city centre and the volume of positive media coverage Hull is enjoying in the UK and around the world is staggering.

“Winning UK City of Culture has generated an enormous sense of local pride among local people and a renewed sense of confidence and self-belief in what the city can achieve. This started during the bidding process and is why I would encourage other councils to consider bidding to be the next UK City of Culture.”

Those interested in submitting bids to be UK City of Culture 2021 are invited to register with DCMS by the end of February. Bids for the 2021 competition must be received by 28 April 2017 after which they will be assessed by an Independent Advisory Panel. A shortlist will then be announced in the summer before the winning city is announced in Hull in December.