Bid Development: Lancashire 2025 - UK City of Culture
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: No
Since 2019, a small team with support from Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has been working up a concept for the County of Lancashire to submit to the UK City of Culture competition in 2025. Whilst previously, the competition has always been contested and won by individual cities, the Department of Culture Media and Sport have indicated that a County-wide bid for Lancashire would be welcomed.
The concept envisages 96 nodes of activity across Lancashire (inclusive of Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen), 4 distinct and seasonally programmed neighbourhoods, all forming one virtual city. At a time of potentially unprecedented change, progressing and winning this bid could form a key part of Lancashire's bounce-back from the Covid-19 crisis, driving cultural, social and digital skills development programmes and raising the profile of the County at a national and international level.
At present, three other cities have indicated their intention to bid in 2025, they are Bradford, Medway and Southampton. Whilst success cannot be guaranteed, like these other locations, Lancashire now needs to increase the scale of the team and the initial commissioning of programming which will establish that the County has the capacity to deliver its bid. Evaluation of past bids in previous rounds (successful and unsuccessful), shows that competing alone has a positive return on local investment, evidenced in increased strategic and commercial investment, plus opportunities for connecting communities and other social impacts.
Cabinet considered a report setting out proposals for funding towards the development of a bid for Lancashire 2025 – UK City of Culture.
Resolved: That a total contribution of £620,000 towards bid, team and programme development costs across both 2020/21 and 2021/22, be approved.
Report author: Edward Matthews-Gentle
Date of decision: 09/07/2020
Decided at meeting: 09/07/2020 - Cabinet