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Shortlisted for City of Culture 2021

Sunderland’s cultural leaders have vowed that the momentum of change and rekindled pride generated during the City of Culture bidding process will not be lost. They have promised to use the leadership and funding already in place to shape our cultural future and to celebrate what makes Sunderland special.

The Sunderland 2021 logo

No stopping the pace of change

The City of Culture bid unleashed Sunderland’s unique energy and ambition. Following the naming of Coventry as City of Culture 2021, Sunderland’s culture leaders are committed to push on with the pace of change the city has enjoyed over the last two years.  

They have pointed to the positive momentum behind culture in Sunderland locally, regionally and nationally – and the real desire to see the city’s cultural scene grow and develop.

The right leadership and substantial funding is already in place, meaning Sunderland’s City of Culture bid can now provide the insight and blueprint to effect change.

The River Wear at night

With major investments and developments including the new bridge, the Vaux site business district, the seafront regeneration and redevelopment of buildings like the old Fire Station – the city is undergoing unprecedented change. Building on this momentum, as well as world class cultural and heritage assets like the Empire and National Glass Centre, Sunderland’s best days are still to come.

Penshaw Monument

Proud of our bid

Rebecca Ball, Sunderland 2021 director, expressed the disappointment of the team, but also said how proud they were of the bid and the enormous support it generated across the city and North East region: “It’s a brave thing to throw your hat in the ring and I am proud that Sunderland was among those that did.

People enjoying Sunderland Pride

“We developed an exciting and compelling bid, shaped by hours of feedback from people from the city and beyond and we want to reassure people that all that hard work and valuable contributions will be used to shape our cultural future.

"Our bid really got to grips with what Sunderland is about now, and what people want it to be in the future. It was packed with ideas, thoroughly deserved to be on the shortlist and there is a huge amount of support and momentum to make many of them happen despite not winning the title.

“We’d like to thank all of the people and businesses that have lent support throughout the process. It’s been really overwhelming to see so many people get behind the city and we thank them wholeheartedly. We still believe that this is the start of something special for Sunderland.

Ryhope Engine Museum

Our best days are still to come

Over the coming months we can expect to hear announcements about some of the great things that will come out of Sunderland’s bid to continue the fantastic work already started and harnessing the support for Sunderland’s cultural renaissance.

Sunderland Culture, formed by the partners responsible for mounting the city’s 2021 bid and responsible for managing Sunderland’s cultural venues and programme, has already successfully raised more than £3.5m that will be pumped into developing Sunderland’s cultural scene.

As we have seen elsewhere in the North East, cities such as Durham who were unsuccessful in the competition have gone on to attract huge investment and introduce large-scale events and arts programmes into their cultural calendar.

Watch this space, though disappointed today, Sunderland will be back making a noise very soon!

More information

Jane Peverley
Corporate Communications Manager

Tel: 0191 515 3219
Email: jane.peverley@sunderland.ac.uk