Bradford, Southampton and Derby are among the finalist cities bidding to snatch the four-yearly title in 2025
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Eight cities and areas are unveiled today as finalists for the next UK City of Culture in 2025.
Bradford, Derby and Southampton are among cities in England bidding to follow in the footsteps of Coventry and Hull.
Wrexham County Borough is bidding in Wales, Stirling in Scotland and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon in Northern Ireland.
England also has two larger county regions bidding for the “city of culture” crown – Cornwall and County Durham.
The counties could apply because there are no set eligibility criteria for the size of a place that can submit a bid.
A City of Culture is only named every four years and the winner will run a year-long programme of events.
Ministers say the eight areas will each be given £40,000 to work up a bid, with a shortlist picked early next year.
For the first time they will be expected to use culture to “level up” their area, to help achieve Boris Johnson’s election pledge.
A further 12 areas submitted bids but did not make the cut, including Medway, Lancashire, Powys and Wolverhampton.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “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.
“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.”
Sir Phil Redmond, Chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “The Expressions of Interest stage was introduced as an opportunity to encourage many more places to experience the benefit of coming together to define and share a cultural vision for their areas.
“What the longlist demonstrates is the range and depth of cultural ambition across the whole of the UK.
“Each is different. Each has its own story to tell. All share a common aim: to demonstrate how culture can act as the creative catalyst for change.”