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Stirling aims to be first Scottish City of Culture

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Stirling City has been longlisted for the City of Culture 2025. 

The only Scottish city to be nominated, Stirling will compete against eight other places in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to be named the winner of the prestigious prize. 

The other locations longlisted are Wrexham County Borough in Wales, Northern Irish council area Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, followed by English cities Bradford, Derby and Southampton and English counties Cornwall and County Durham.

The prize delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) and in collaboration with the Offices of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland aims to use ‘culture as a tool for levelling up towns and cities across the country’. 

There were two other Scottish cities who placed bids- the Tays cities Region and Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders as part of the Borderlands Region. 

All bids were asked to explain how they would use culture to expand and strengthen their local area. They were also asked to consider how they would use culture to help recovery of the area after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

For the first time longlisted cities will receive £40,000 to support the development of their bidding proposals. 

Councillor Chris Kane, convenor of the Community Planning and Regeneration Committee said: “This is absolutely fantastic news and a huge boost in our plans to enhance Stirling’s inspiring cultural programme across all communities. 

“There was fierce competition… and making the longlist of candidates shows incredible diversity and dynamism of Stirling’s current cultural offering and our exciting vision to build on this for future generations. 

“Stirling is already famed for its world-class heritage offering but this bid is about widening participation… celebrating the rich local culture and creative spirit in our communities. 

“We are proud to represent Scotland… and we are excited to press forward… to show that Stirling can be a beacon for breaking down barriers to participation in culture and the arts.” 

Formal interest for the bid came from SceneStirling, a place partnership involving all Stirling’s arts, education, heritage, and cultural organisations. 

Director of Artlink Centre, which manages the SceneStirling partnership, Kevin Harrison said: “The ambitions of all cultural partners…is to collaborate, connect and celebrate what we do to make the art, culture and heritage central to Stirling’s already impressive identity.

“This is a city and a region where the arts feel like home and our goal now is to increase participation and grow Stirling’s thieving creative scene.”

The winner and therefore City of Culture 2025 will be announced Spring 2022. 

The award was created by former Culture Secretary and now Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham in 2009 to hold events like the Booker Prize and the Turner Prize. 

Conservative Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey announced in 2013 Derry/Londonderry was to become the first ever City of Culture. 

The Northern Irish city branded itself as Derry~Londonderry before handing over to Hull in 2017. The most recent winner was the city of Coventry who took the prize in 2021. 

Feature image credit- The Scottish Business Insider

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