UK City of Culture
Lancashire to bid for UK City of Culture 2025.
The title for UK City of Culture is awarded every four years by Government.
The UK City of Culture title has had a transformational impact on previous host cities, securing millions of pounds of investment and acting as a catalyst for creative place-making and culture-led regeneration. Lancashire joins a number of cities and areas competing for the title, with Bradford, Medway, Gloucester and Southampton already having announced their intentions to bid.
Lancashire is a network of urban centres surrounded by areas of countryside, swathes of coastline and extensive rural hinterland (covering an area of 3,075 Km2 which is twice the size of Greater London) and an area of considerable geographic, demographic and political diversity.
Where once the pioneering spirit of its people brought cotton and textiles to the world, they now attract international renown for their research into emerging technologies and social futures.
New infrastructure projects such as Eden Project North, Linear Park, the Re-imagining of The Harris and The Making Rooms are a real cultural boost to the area. Programmes of activity that connect the county’s strengths in research, advanced manufacturing, science, technology and engineering with its growing creative strengths include National Festival of Making and British Textile Biennial. And Super Slow way and Left Coast are the Creative People and Places Programmes for Lancashire for, by and with local communities.
Tony Attard, Chair of Lancashire 2025, commented: “From the very beginning we were focused on constructing a bid that would include the whole of Lancashire, not focus in on just one urban centre and then try to spread the impact out into the rest of the county. Lancashire is 80% rural, with 137 miles of coastline, assets that add immense value to our cultural landscape and that we want to emphasise, not underplay. We also have significant urban centres, all of which have their own distinct identities, none of which dominate in scale and again, each one with assets that will add weight to our bid."
- 28 Feb 2021 – Bid registration
- 28 April 2021 – Outline bid deadline
- May/June 2021 – Shortlisted bid interviews
- 29 Sept 2021 – Full application deadline
- October 2021 – DCMS visits to shortlisted bids
- Early Dec 2021 – Announcement of winner
Subject to confirmation
How our story began
The Lancashire 2025 journey began with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) commissioning the development of a Cultural Strategy for the county, one which quickly identified the potential for economic growth and regeneration that initiatives such as UK City of Culture can bring.
Scoping work was undertaken by Andrew Dixon who worked on the bids for title holders, Hull 2017 and Coventry 2021 to assess the potential for Lancashire to bid, including extensive consultation with the cultural sector.
Angie Ridgwell, chief executive and director of resources for Lancashire County Council, believes it is an "exciting and unique opportunity for the county. The findings of the scoping study and the recommendation to bid at county scale may appear counter intuitive, but Lancashire has the chance to do something completely different and at an unprecedented scale. Once again Lancashire is leading the way."
Debbi Lander, bid director of Lancashire 2025, stated "Our bid proposition takes a holistic design approach to culture led regeneration in a county of different and diverse cultures. The county is positioning itself as a virtual city with a bold new vision for culture, commerce and creative communities. Lancashire 2025 is an invitation to imagine and construct a new kind of city in cultural and technological contexts. Future cities and its cultural dimensions are not constrained by historic or geographic definitions of place. Creative use of new technologies and digital connectivity has enabled the creation of new places or spaces more so than urban centres. Lancashire 2025 will create a Virtual City for the 21st Century.”