Wrexham County Borough has been successful in reaching a longest of 8 towns and cities within the UK vying to be the next UK City of Culture in 2025!
The winner will be announced in spring 2022 and will follow Coventry’s tenure as UK City of Culture 2021 to take the lead on culture in the UK in 2025.
Following a record 20 bids, Wrexham County Borough is the only area within Wales to have reached this stage and has been longlisted alongside:
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon
The eight areas on the longlist will now receive £40,000 to develop a full application and work with a panel of experts and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to finalise their bids before the shortlist is announced early next year.
UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Winning the UK City of Culture competition has a hugely positive impact on an area, driving investment, creating jobs, and highlighting that culture is for everyone, regardless of their background.
“This year’s focus is on levelling up access to culture across the country and making sure there is a legacy that continues for generations to come. I look forward to seeing what this brilliant longlist has in store as they continue in the competition.”
Sir Phil Redmond, Chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “The Expressions of Interest stage was introduced as an opportunity to encourage many more places to experience the benefit of coming together to define and share a cultural vision for their areas, and what the longlist demonstrates is the range and depth of cultural ambition across the whole of the UK.
“Also for the first time, each longlisted city will receive financial support to help them develop their vision.
“Each is different. Each has its own story to tell. All share a common aim: to demonstrate how culture can act as the creative catalyst for change. I am really looking forward to seeing how each story develops.”
Wales’ Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “I’m delighted Wrexham County Borough has reached the UK City of Culture 2025 longlist.
“We have a unique and wonderful culture here in Wales, which we’re all incredibly proud of. I want the world to know how wonderful it is too!
“Being named UK City of Culture 2025 would be truly transformational for Wrexham, and would be a real boost as we look forward to a brighter, more prosperous future. Congratulations to all at Team Wrexham, and the best of luck for the next stages of the competition!
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart added: “In a fantastic field of UK City of Culture bids, Wrexham has done extremely well to fly the flag for Wales by reaching the longlist.
“I wish them every success as they seek to become the first Welsh holder of the UK City of Culture title with all the opportunities it will bring to an area of huge cultural pedigree which contains the World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, one of the world’s oldest football clubs in Wrexham FC and the Stiwt Theatre.”
The news arrives just as the 3-day international 2021 FOCUS Wales music festival opens in town today, which will see main stages on Queens Square and Llwyn Isaf amongst others welcoming new and unsigned artists, film producers and other acts as they descend on Wrexham.