£15m fund to build on Great Exhibition of the North

Eleven towns and cities from across northern England are bidding for a share of a new £15 million fund to help build a “lasting regional legacy” from 2018’s Great Exhibition of the North.

Called the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, it will make grants of up to £4 million for major culture and technology projects.

The fund aims to capitalise on next summer’s Great Exhibition of the North, which will be held in Newcastle and Gateshead to showcase the best of northern art, design and innovation.

Successful bids will be announced in March 2018.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said: “These hugely exciting bids demonstrate the scale of cultural ambition across the region, and reflect the great diversity of northern towns and cities.

“This £15 million fund will mean that as many people as possible benefit from the Great Exhibition of the North and it is fantastic that so many communities have recognised the transformative potential of culture, design and innovation.”

Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse minister, added: “The Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund will help communities show the world how the great art and culture, design and ingenuity of the north shapes all our lives.”

The bids are:

• Cheshire and Warrington: A bid to create a world-class cultural centre for children, young people and their families in Ellesmere Port, home of the critically acclaimed Action Transport Theatre.

• Cumbria: A bid to recognise the contribution the World Heritage Lake District makes, through investment in Windermere Jetty, Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, and Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum.

• Greater Manchester: A bid to create a young people’s creative venue in Rochdale, providing performing and digital arts participation, performance, production and training.

• Humber: A bid to create the world’s biggest digital artwork, using the Humber Bridge as a canvas on which to install more than 70,000 individually controllable LED lights.

• Lancashire: A bid to create The Amuseum – Britain’s first museum telling the story of British popular entertainment.

• Leeds City Region: A bid to transform the former Bradford Odeon cinema into a live music, entertainment and events venue.

• Liverpool City Region: A bid to build on the success of Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax by creating Eureka! Merseyside, to inspire young people to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.

• North east: A bid to establish a cultural attraction in Sunderland, called the ‘National Centre for Imagination’, focusing on young people’s creativity and imagination, including an institute of performing arts.

• Sheffield City Region: A bid for a major public art project in Sheffield, entitled Onwards and Upwards, that will see a mile-long trail of four sculptural red chimneys replace the demolished Tinsley cooling towers.

• Tees Valley: A bid to develop a major railway heritage visitor attraction in Tees Valley as part of a wider programme to create a ‘Railway Heritage Quarter’ and protect and conserve the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

• York and North Yorkshire and East Riding: A bid for a project, entitled Constellations: Illuminating Yorkshire’s Coast, to create landmark light installations in six key locations on the North Yorkshire coast.