A nationwide competition to find the next UK City of Culture has been unveiled today by culture minister Matt Hancock.
The UK City of Culture title aims to use culture as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration and raise the profile of arts and creativity locally and across the country.
It also helps cities develop a broader high quality arts and culture sector, as well as attract increased business investment and boost tourism.
The launch of the 2021 competition comes in the same month that Hull kicked off its year as the second UK City of Culture, after Derry/Londonderry in 2013.
Hull marked the start of the year on January 1 with a city centre opening event and fireworks display attended by 60,000 people, with the first week’s celebrations attracting more than 342,000 people over seven evenings.
It is estimated that being the UK City of Culture 2017 will add £60 million to Hull’s economy this year.
The city has seen a £1 billion boost in investment since winning the title in 2013.
The minister launched the competition at Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery, which reopened today (January 12) following a 16-month refurbishment, supported by £1 million government investment.
Hancock said: “The UK City of Culture is not only a prestigious title, but as Hull has shown, it is a great opportunity to use culture as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration.
“I urge local authorities and partnerships across the whole UK to consider entering the competition and I hope to see plenty of ambitious, exciting and innovative bids for 2021.”
Councillor Daren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council, said: “Hull is already demonstrating how UK City of Culture can transform the fortunes of a city.
“Visitor numbers are increasing, new businesses are opening in the city centre and the volume of positive media coverage Hull is enjoying in the UK and around the world is staggering.”