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Coventry wins bid for UK City of Culture, a chance “to show the world what we are made of"


Coventry has been announced as the UK’s next City of Culture to take place in 2021. The West Midlands city won the bid against Swansea, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and the Scottish town of Paisley.

The award gives a chosen city the opportunity to gain support for the arts, such as this year’s winner Hull hosting the 2017 Turner Prize Award and accompanying exhibition. Coventry will also be given the chance to improve its economy and tourism influx, access to a £3m Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as giving an overall sense of pride to the city’s locals. The BBC reported that Hull’s status as 2017’s City of Culture has boosted its economy by approximately £60 million.

“It’s huge and just an incredible result,” says David Burbidge, the chair of Coventry’s 2021 bid team. “Most importantly, we are bringing this to the people of Coventry and they deserve this, so we are thrilled that we have been selected.” David also told The Guardian that the support for the bid from the city’s inhabitants was a large driving force, saying 80% of residents supported the bid and 150 businesses offered financial support. “Coventry is a city which has taken a lot of knocks over the years and this is the time for us to spring back and to show the world what we are made of.”

The opportunity will additionally shine a light on the already established cultural landmarks of Coventry including the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Warwick Arts Centre, the Belgrade Theatre and Shop Front Theatre.

A recent emphasis has been placed on the importance of the UK’s City of Culture, following the European commission’s announcement that bidding cities Leeds, Dundee, Milton Keynes, Belfast/Derry and Nottingham have lost the opportunity to host the European capital of culture in 2023 post-Brexit in 2019.