Here’s the shortlist

By | Category: Travel news

Last August, a very full list of candidates to become the UK city of culture in 2025 was announced.

Durham could be the winner. The cathedral dominates the skyline of the city…

This week, that long list was whittled down to just eight.

The eight are Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, Stirling and Wrexham County Borough
At this stage, each of the eight has been awarded £40,000 to assist in their bidding and some of that will probably be used to enhance the cultural offers in each of the candidates.

That Newport, Wakefield and Woverhampton are not on the short list has removed three strong contenders all of which could be considered as contributing to “levelling up” if they had eventually won.

This time, according to the new culture secretary – Nadine Dorries – the focus of the competition is “levelling up access to culture across the country” whatever that means since the very nature of the award is to highlight one place rather than one country. Hasn’t the aim always been to make culture mosre accessible?

tapestry from Stirling castle Palace
…or it could be Stirling This is a tapestry in Stirling Castle Palace

Interestingly the only place in the south that has been included is Southampton. All the others are quite a distance from London’s elite.

Two counties remain on the list, Cornwall and Durham, so using the word “city” is a misnomer. How those two large areas cope with demonstrating that they are considering and supporting culture across all the places both rural and urban will be interesting to see.

The biggest areas that bid for the award – Powys, Tayside and the Borderlands which included counties on both side of the Border have all fallen at the first hurdle and perhaps that is a good thing. Such huge areas of land defeated the object of the name.

or Cornwall. This is the Minack Theatre

In future the organisers ought to seriously consider either re-naming the award, defining what they mean by a city or introducing other categories.

With Coventry, Hull and Derry/Londonderry having been previous winners you might wonder whether Cornwall, Durham, Stirling or Wrexham might have stood a better chance of winning on the assumption that places in the same geography might not win so soon.

The winner will be announced next Spring.

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