Coventry has been chosen to be the UK’s City of Culture for 2021.
The bid team said their plans were “about changing the reputation of a city” as well as hosting a year of cultural celebration.
The title is awarded every four years and Coventry will hope to emulate the success of Hull, which is UK City of Culture this year.
The other places in the running for the title were Swansea, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland.
Famous sons and daughters
Coventry is the birthplace of Philip Larkin, one of England’s finest poets, electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire and best-selling author Lee Child. It’s also the home of the Two Tone ska movement through bands like The Specials and The Selecter.
Cultural claims to fame
Venues will include Warwick Arts Centre, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and the Belgrade Theatre, which launched the Theatre In Education movement in 1965. It’s also the home of the UK’s first Shop Front Theatre and boasts the UK’s largest free family music festival with the Coventry Godiva Festival.
Coventry’s bid team said the city had “constantly reinvented itself to survive”.
It has suffered from the decline of its status as the heart of the British motor industry, and it was devastated by bombing during the World War Two.
It will hope to learn from Hull, whose status as UK City of Culture has boosted the local economy by an estimated £60m.
Hull has also seen more than £1bn of investment since being chosen to hold the 2017 title four years ago, and the year’s artistic programme has been a hit with both residents and critics.
Laura McMillan, manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said the economic impact would “be huge for the city and the West Midlands”.
“This is a win for Coventry, a win for young people and a win for diversity,” she said.
“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.”
Arts minister John Glen said it was “an incredible opportunity for Coventry to boost investment in the local economy, grow tourism and put arts and culture centre stage”.
He said: “In 2017 I have seen the truly transformative effect this prestigious title has had on Hull.
“The city has embraced City of Culture and in doing so has demonstrated how culture, the arts and heritage can bring communities together. I look forward to seeing what Coventry has in store in 2021.”
He also congratulated the unsuccessful towns and cities for their “excellent” bids.
Coventry will be the third UK City of Culture – after Hull and Londonderry, which held the title in 2013.
As part of the prize, Coventry will have access to a £3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The UK City of Culture scheme is separate from the European Capital of Culture. The UK was due to have a turn choosing a city to hold that title in 2023, with Leeds, Dundee, Milton Keynes, Belfast/Derry and Nottingham all bidding.
But the European Commission recently confirmed that the UK will lose the right to have a host city after it leaves the EU in 2019.