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Competition Seeking the Next UK City of Culture

03 June 2021/Categories: Grants_and_Funding

Launched in 2009, the UK City of Culture is a UK-wide programme run by Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), which invites places across the UK to set out their vision for culture-led regeneration.

Derry/Londonderry was the inaugural UK City of Culture 2013 and the competition has been run every four years since. The winners from 2017, Coventry, are the current holders of the award and began their year of culture in May 2021.

The competition is now open to bids for the UK City of Culture 2025.

The UK City of Culture competition is a key part of the DCMS’s broader offer to level up opportunity across the UK - using culture as the catalyst for investment in places to drive economic growth and regeneration, promoting social cohesion and instilling pride in places and making them more attractive to live and work in and visit.

The UK City of Culture 2025 will need to:

  • Articulate a vision which uses culture to transform a place through social, cultural and economic regeneration, making it more attractive to live, work, visit and invest in
  • Drive growth
  • Innovate
  • Reach out across the UK and abroad
  • Maximise the social benefits of investing in culture
  • Maximise the legacy, and have capacity to deliver
  • Embed environmental sustainability.

Applicants are encouraged to include activities encompassing a broad definition of culture and its creative industries. This includes but is not limited to: visual arts, literature; music; theatre; dance; combined arts; architecture; crafts; design; heritage and the historic and natural environment; museums and galleries; libraries and archives; film, broadcasting and media; video games; animation, visual and special effects; photography, and publishing.

Bids are expected from partnerships relating to a UK city or area.  Partnerships will need to include the relevant local authorities.

Lead applicants must be a formally constituted organisation but they do not need to be the local authority.

The winning city will be provided with the title of UK City of Culture for the year, and can also hope to reap economic and social benefits and general kudos from hosting a year-long high-profile event.

For the first time, the 2025 competion will award grants of £40,000 to up to six bids able to demonstrate at the EOI stage that they meet the core criteria and show potential to make a significant contribution to the aims and objectives of the UK City of Culture programme. These successful longlisted places will then have four months to develop a robust economic analysis, a credible delivery and governance plan, particularly for any capital project plans, undertake research and consultation, and gather data.

Expressions of interest should be submitted by 19 July 2021.

How To Apply

The UK City of Culture 2025 competition is open to applications.

Applicants must first register register as a bidder by emailing [email protected], providing contact details for the bid team and basic information about the area covered by the bid.

Expressions of interest should be submitted by 19 July 2021.

A workshop for bidders will be run on 1-2 July 2021.

A longlist will be announced in September 2021 and applicants will have until 10 January 2022 to submit a long application.

The shortlist will be announced March 2022.  Winners will be announced in May 2022.


Useful documents & links

Useful Links


Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

  1. City of Culture
    Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
    Department for Culture Media and Sport
    2-4 Cockspur Street
    London
    SW1Y 5DH
    Email: [email protected]

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