Could Coventry be the next UK City of Culture?

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MP’s across the country are backing Coventry’s latest bid in Parliament to be the UK’s City of Culture for 2021.

More than 100 people from across the city went to London this week to discuss plans for the bid with members of the House of Parliament. The event was sponsored by Coventry South MP, Jim Cunningham, who attended the Westminster Hall debate at Thames Pavilion alongside a variety of Coventry’s representatives who work within the arts, culture, community, business and politics sectors.

Coventry City of Culture Trust Manager, Laura McMillan and West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street also spoke during the event, in an attempt to highlight Coventry’s suitability for the title.

Coventry has now been placed on a shortlist of five potential city winners, including: Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea and Sunderland.

The University of Warwick are a principal partner for the bid and are reported to be providing significant support, alongside other organisations in the Coventry City of Culture Trust. Other bid sponsors include The Ricoh Arena, Jaguar Land Rover, Coventry University and Birmingham Airport.

The winner of the bid receives not only the title of UK City of Culture, but also: a £3million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, a boost in tourism, national recognition and media coverage.

Hull, who are the current UK City of Culture, have reportedly also experienced 250 extra jobs and £1 billion worth of investment since winning their title.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, stated: “We’re only halfway through the year and we’re already seeing the huge benefits Hull is enjoying as UK City of Culture, not only in raising the profile of the city on a national and international scale, but also increasing pride and participation among the people who live and work here.”

“At least 450 events, exhibitions and cultural activities took place during the first season, attracting over 1.4 million visits, which is boosting the economy.”
Coventry is due to submit their final bid later this month and the winner will be announced in December.

Coventry’s application also coincides with Birmingham’s recent selection as a potential UK city to host the 2020 Commonwealth Games. The commonwealth plans have been welcomed by organisers of Coventry’s City of Culture bid, who believe it will bring a bring an event greater economic boost to the area.

When questioned about his support for Coventry’s City of Culture bid, Mr Cunningham commented: “Coventry is a welcoming city with rich traditions and fantastic people. It is a city with a long tradition of culture and innovation.”

“Coventry is not just an industrial city, it is a city of academic excellence… with two world-class universities. The people of Coventry are proud and passionate about their city. It is a city that deserves recognition. I can think of no better way to celebrate Coventry than by making it the next UK City of Culture.”

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