Excitement as Wakefield officially enters the running for City of Culture 2025
Wakefield's leaders are promising a 'brighter future' for all residents as the district officially enters into the running for the title of City of Culture 2025.
And the district is now officially in the running for the City of Culture crown, having submitted an expression of interest to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Councillor Denise Jeffery, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We are delighted to take this next exciting step in our bid for City of Culture. This is very much a district wide bid and this journey will benefit all of our communities.
“Our creative and cultural partners across the district are very much at the heart of our bid and includes representation from across the sector - from libraries, heritage and civic societies, to destinations such as The Hepworth Wakefield and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to creative and digital companies from Team17, Production Park and Tileyard North, to smaller crafters and gamers.
“We have also drawn from wider education, community and business representatives, and reached out to some wider specialist networks locally and regionally for support, advice and co-creation opportunities.
“Our bid will help provide a brighter future for our residents, improving skills and wellbeing and providing better jobs. And it will help us to share with the world what we have to offer, putting Wakefield on the map and growing our visitor economy.”
But despite the impressive backing, the district has a long way to go before it can officially call itself the City of Culture.
To secure the title, Wakefield will need to beat out submissions from a host of other cities. Bradford, Southampton, Chelmsford and Medway are among those who have confirmed plans to enter the competition.
But there is still along journey ahead for those hoping to compete for the title.
First, competitors will need to prove that they meet all criteria, including proving an existing identity to the area, needed the opportunity for social and economic investment and the existence of cultural excellence.
Initial Expressions of Interest must be submitted by Monday, July 19, before a longlist of six finalists is confirmed in September.
Those who have progressed to the longlist will be given a grant of £40,000 to help them develop a full application, which will be due in April 2022.
Following this, three shortlisted cities will be selected, and each visited by an expert advisory panel to present their plans.
From here, the panel will submit its recommendation for the winner of the UK City of Culture 2025, with an announcement expected in May 2022.
Councillor Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “The Wakefield district has many different and distinctive parts. Yet we hold a strong sense of community belonging and togetherness, rooted in a proud history of creativity and big ambitions.
“We are a modern multi-national distribution hub and Europort, but it is culture and creativity that connects our souls, from gaming to live events, castles to sculpture, to music and performance production.
"Together we seek to drive forward an outstanding quality of life for everyone. A happy, prosperous, welcoming and inclusive place where culture and creativity is everywhere and for everyone.”
Residents are asked to share what culture means to them and what they would like to see happen in the district by joining in the conversation online using #Wakefield2025.