Press release

Competition launches to find UK City of Culture 2021

A nationwide competition to find the next UK City of Culture was launched today by Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock.

Hull In With a Bang image ©Thom Arran
Hull In With a Bang image ©Thom Arran

The UK City of Culture title is designed to use culture as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration and raise the profile of arts and creativity locally and across the country.

It also helps cities develop a broader high quality arts and culture sector, as well as attract increased business investment and boost tourism.

The launch of the 2021 competition comes in the same month that Hull kicked off its year as the second UK City of Culture, after Derry / Londonderry in 2013.

The city marked the start of the year on January 1 with a city centre opening event and fireworks display attended by 60,000 people, with the first week’s celebrations attracting more than 342,000 people over seven evenings. It is estimated that being the UK City of Culture 2017 will deliver a £60 million to Hull’s economy this year alone. The city has seen a £1 billion boost in investment since winning the title in 2013.

The Minister launched the competition at the Ferens Art Gallery, which reopened today following a 16 month refurbishment, supported by £1 million Government investment.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said:

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.

It showcases the unique identity of our cities, helps boost tourism, and raises the profile of art and culture. I urge cities 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.

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.

Phil Redmond, Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, said:

Having been on the journey from Liverpool 2008, Derry-Londonderry 2013 and now Hull 2017, I am delighted other cities will have the opportunity to bid and build upon the award for 2021.

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.

Whilst 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.

Notes to Editors

Read guidance on how to apply:

The two previous title holders of UK City of Culture are Derry-Londonderry in 2013 and Hull in 2017.

For further information contact Rebecca Evans on rebecca.evans@culture.gov.uk

Published 12 January 2017