Coventry has made the UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist and is now in a five-way race to win the title.
The 11 bidding cities have been whittled down by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Coventry is joined by Paisley, Sunderland, Stoke and Swansea on the candidate city shortlist.
Coventry City of Culture Trust, the organisation behind the city’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021, must now put together a final bid document and will then present to a panel of judges later this year.
It’s a massive show of faith in the way Coventry has positioned itself during the process as being the most diverse bidding city, and the one which can make the most impact.
The fact that there are 40 million people within two hours of Coventry shows the potential catchment the city would have in 2021, and tourism research into the bid has shown how the city could grow visitor numbers.
The bid’s themes build on the city’s reputation for being human and welcoming people from across the world, as well as being a city of invention and underground culture.
The city, which was once the capital of England, has made significant cultural contributions to the world – from Theatre in Education to electronic music, and from film studies through to protest movements such as 2Tone, all of which have been drawn out in the bidding process.
Laura McMillan, Manager of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are delighted to be on the five-city shortlist, and that has made us even hungrier for the title in 2021. It’s estimated that tourism alone would be boosted by £80 million, but there is much more to winning than the economy; we want to see a step-change in culture, health and community cohesion across Coventry. The time is right for Coventry. We have the people in place, we have very strong local and regional support, and now it is up to us to create a compelling final bid and to show that we have the whole of the region behind us.
The bid has already been supported by more than 80 businesses, including Loveitts, and the majority of funding has come from the private sector after initial support from the City Council and the two universities.