Eight locations across Britain—including Bradford, Stirling and County Durham—are in the running for the title of the UK City of Culture 2025. But Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk, where the street artist Banksy carried out a summer “spraycation”, failed to make the list.
The other places longlisted are: Armagh City (Banbridge and Craigavon), Derby, Southampton, Wrexham County Borough and the entire county of Cornwall (groups of towns and larger areas have been able to apply for the title this time round). Up to four places will be shortlisted; the winner is due to be announced in May 2022.
The longlisted locations will be awarded grants of £40,000 to support the next stage of their applications. However, “we are not able to guarantee national funding (‘prize money’) from the UK government for the winning bid. The successful place will be expected to bid into existing funding pots,” says the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
“We would expect you [the nominated cities] to align your own local resources and budgets to deliver your programme, and you will need to consider how to make best use of other potential sources of funding, such as sponsorship or ticket sales,” the DCMS adds.
Nationwide arts festivals are nonetheless one way of accelerating regeneration in neglected areas, drawing public and private investment. Hull was awarded the title in 2017, reaping £220m in investment according to a 2018 report from the University of Hull. In 2021, Coventry took the crown, hosting this year’s Turner prize at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum (until 12 January 2022).