A MULTI-MILLION pound boost is being ‘sent to Coventry’ after the city was announced as the UK City of Culture 2021 winner.
The announcement was made by Arts Minister John Glen live on BBC’s The One Show from Hull, winner of the 2017 competition.
Coventry beat rival cities Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea to the title, which is expected to bring in up to £1billion of investment and new jobs.
Launched at the Godiva Festival in 2016, Coventry’s bid to be crowned UK City of Culture has received support from Coventry City Council, Warwick and Coventry Universities, the Ricoh Arena, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and more.
A final bid was submitted in September after Coventry passed the preliminary round which saw 11 cities reduced to the final five.
Laura McMillan, Manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “This is a win for Coventry, a win for young people and a win for diversity. The economic impact will be huge for the city and the West Midlands.
“It’s been a bid by and for the people of Coventry. It has brought so many people and organisations together and this is just the start. Over the next three years we will ensure that everyone in the city, which has been moving people by cycle car and jet engine, is now moving people through culture.”
Coventry’s programme will include a Streets of Culture programme co-producing work in local communities. The first build-up event will be the UK’s first Shop Front Theatre Festival in March 2018 and the city will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Cathedral with a major new lighting commission.
A 2.2 mile Ring Road poem is set to one of the digital centrepiece of 2021 along with major productions by the RSC and the screening of the entire works of Shakespeare in iconic locations.
An artist-led festival called ‘Moments of Silence’ will create moments of silence and beauty and reflect on the city’s 700-year-old Carthusian monastery Charterhouse and play on the myth of being ‘Sent to Coventry’.
Building on the success of 95-year-Old Indian Photographer Masterji’s exhibition, the city will develop a project Tale of Two streets that looks at two of the most diverse streets in Britain through the eyes of photographers.
David Burbidge, chair of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “I must thank Coventry City Council, Coventry and Warwick Universities, the West Midlands Combined Authority and every business, artist and individual that has supported us along the way. In just two years ago this bid has put Coventry back on the map.
“I am so proud of everyone involved and now we are determined to put on the greatest show that Coventry has ever seen.”
Coventry City Council leader George Duggins said: “I am delighted we have been named UK City of Culture 2021 – it’s the Christmas present we were all hoping for and it means so much for our city.
“We knew we had put together a very strong bid, but we were up against some excellent competition and I’d like to thank and congratulate all those who have helped to show what a wonderful City of Culture we will be.
“Since we announced our intention to bid, we have seen the incredible effect it has had, with a staggering variety of events and exhibitions that have brought people together and breathed new life into our city.
“I can only imagine what’s to come over the next four years as we build on that.
“Coventry is a vibrant, multicultural city with a fascinating and inspiring story to tell and an arts and cultural scene that deserves its place in the national spotlight.
“There is still a lot of hard work ahead, but as UK City of Culture 2021 we will be able to show everyone why we are so proud of our city and the people who live, work and study here and build something lasting for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
“Hull has proved to be a worthy holder of the title this year but now it is our turn and I am confident we will do even better in 2021.”