Local MP, Dame Caroline Spelman, who is backing Coventry’s bid to be named the next UK City of Culture has welcomed news that the city has made the UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist and is now in a five-way race to win the prestigious title.
11 cities initially bidding for the title have now 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.
Dame Caroline Spelman has said that if Coventry is successful in winning the competition that the title would give a welcome boost to Solihull borough, a well as the wider West Midlands.
Speaking about the competition, Dame Caroline said:
“I am delighted to learn that the City of Coventry has been shortlisted in the competition to be named the UK’s next capital of culture.
“Coventry and our wider region have so much to offer in terms of our diverse history and rich culture that I am confident that we can win.
“The city of culture title would serve to benefit the whole of the region - bringing millions to the local economy and further helping to put the West Midlands well and truly on the map.”
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.
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.
“We know what a great year Coventry and our region could put on, what a great impact it would make on all of our communities and the huge social, cultural and economic benefits it would bring.
“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.”
David Burbidge, Chairman of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “A huge amount of hard work has already gone into the bid from a whole range of people and organisations across the city and region.
“The Council and two universities have been a huge support – especially when we were first getting the bid off the ground – but we must also pay tribute to the business community across our region who have given us incredible financial and moral backing”.
To show your support for Coventry’s bid on social media, go to @Coventry2021 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, log onto www.coventry2021.co.uk