Coventry has been confirmed as the UK City of Culture in 2021.
The announcement was confirmed by arts, heritage and tourism minister John Glen, who said it was “an incredible opportunity for Coventry to boost investment in the local economy, grow tourism and put arts and culture centre stage.”
He added: “In 2017 I have seen the truly transformative effect this prestigious title has had on Hull.
“The city has embraced City of Culture and in doing so has demonstrated how culture, the arts and heritage can bring communities together. I look forward to seeing what Coventry has in store in 2021.”
Nick Eastwood, chief executive of Wasps and the Ricoh Arena, said: “We are proud to have supported Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture from very early on and we are absolutely thrilled that the city has won this massive and prestigious title.
“We will do everything we possibly can from now until 2021 to help prepare for what should be a historic 12 months in the city’s history.”
Laura McMillan, manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “This is a win for Coventry, a win for young people and a win for diversity. The economic impact will be huge for the city and the West Midlands.
“It’s been a bid by and for the people of Coventry. It has brought so many people and organisations together and this is just the start. Over the next three years we will ensure that everyone in the city, which has been moving people by cycle car and jet engine, is now moving people through culture.”
Coventry City Council leader George Duggins said: “I am delighted we have been named UK City of Culture 2021 – it’s the Christmas present we were all hoping for and it means so much for our city.
“We knew we had put together a very strong bid, but we were up against some excellent competition and I’d like to thank and congratulate all those who have helped to show what a wonderful City of Culture we will be.
“Since we announced our intention to bid, we have seen the incredible effect it has had, with a staggering variety of events and exhibitions that have brought people together and breathed new life into our city.
“I can only imagine what’s to come over the next four years as we build on that.
“Coventry is a vibrant, multicultural city with a fascinating and inspiring story to tell and an arts and cultural scene that deserves its place in the national spotlight.
“There is still a lot of hard work ahead, but as UK City of Culture 2021 we will be able to show everyone why we are so proud of our city and the people who live, work and study here and build something lasting for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
“Hull has proved to be a worthy holder of the title this year but now it is our turn and I am confident we will do even better in 2021.”
Stuart Croft, vice chancellor of the University of Warwick, said: “As I say to all of our students when I greet them on arrival to the University; Coventry is a great city.
“As a community in this great city we have worked together as never before to achieve this exceptional result. Coventry will put on the greatest UK City of Culture year ever! The bid team have been wonderful; I am very proud of the part that the University of Warwick has played in this.”
John Latham, vice chancellor of Coventry University, said: “Our city continues to defy expectations. Everyone who helped make us UK City of Culture, including staff at Coventry University, backed the bid with heart and hard work.
“We unlocked a renewed energy and purpose that has already changed Coventry forever and our task now is to share that creativity and civic pride across our region, the whole of the UK, and beyond.”
Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This is a clear message that the Midlands is working together as a team. Coventry has shown how partnerships make a real difference. This is a chance to help people realise that the city has so much to offer from its medieval past to its modernist architecture, creative talent and diverse youth.”
Coventry is also in line for up to £3million of National Lottery funding to help celebrate its heritage. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has made the funding available after successfully investing the same amount into Hull, this year’s City of Culture winner. Discussions will now take place between HLF and Coventry 2021 to agree how the money will be spent.
Anita Bhalla OBE, board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said: “We congratulate Coventry on winning the prestigious UK City of Culture 2021 competition following an outstanding bid, which has engaged with – and captured the hearts of – the community both within Coventry and beyond.
“Coventry has the full support of GBSLEP in delivering this exciting programme of cultural celebrations, as it will bring significant economic and cultural benefits, not just for Coventry, but also the wider region. With a strong tradition of creativity and innovation, coupled with significant regeneration plans, Coventry is perfectly placed to put on a fantastic cultural show for the wave of additional visitors that this accolade will attract.”
Coventry succeeds Hull and Londonderry in 2017 and 2013 respectively.