Lancashire bids to become UK City of Culture
An initial research project began in autumn last year, consisting of consultations with key Lancashire figures and a visioning workshop. The findings were revealed at an event this week attended by 100 stake holders and invited guests from thepublic, private and cultural sectors.
Tony Attard, high sheriff and chair of Marketing Lancashire, said: “Culture is a super accelerator for urban regeneration and the benefits of bidding for City of Culture are many. The journey will be challenging. It will demand determination, vision, finance, commitment and organization, but above all will demand an applied, unified consensus.
“The prize for Lancashire would be substantial, which is why I am advocating that we bid for UK City of Culture in 2025.”The UK City of Culture programme was developed by the UK Government to build on the success of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture 2008 and the Cultural Olympiad in 2012, by creating a national cultural event spread over a year, focused on a particular city or area.
A successful bid by Lancashire could be a catalyst for a step change in the county’s cultural and economic development. By means of example, City of Culture Hull 2017 reached an estimated audience of over 5 million people, leveraged £220m of investment and created nearly 800 new jobs.David Taylor, chair of the LEP, added: “The direct and indirect benefits of culture to inclusive, sustainable growth are becoming ever-more understood. Culture can increase the ‘stickiness’ of places, attracting and retaining talent across all industries. Large scale events, such as City of Culture, would heighten the profile of Lancashire, bring investment, encourage partnership working and reach new audiences.”
The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with contributions from Andrew Dixon, Tony Attard, Angie Ridgwell, chief executive of Lancashire County Council, county councillor Michael Green, Laurie Peake from Super Slow Way and Joel Arber from UCLan. Work is now underway to establish a bidding team that will lead the development of Lancashire’s response. The call for applications for UK City of Culture 2025 is expected to come by the end of 2019.