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by Margaret Taylor
08 October 2021
Stirling in running to bring UK City of Culture title to Scotland

Stirling in running to bring UK City of Culture title to Scotland

Stirling has made it onto the longlist for the UK City of Culture award, putting it in the frame to become the first Scottish holder of the title.

The UK Government has revealed that the city is the sole Scottish representative on the longlist for the 2025 award. It is up against seven other contenders, including Armagh City, Bradford and Southampton, with the list being whittled down from 20 entries.

Bids will be finalised in conjunction with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport ahead of the shortlist being announced early next year. Each longlisted location will receive £40,000 to help with that process.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the focus would be on ensuring each entrant is aligned with the Conservative Government’s “levelling up” strategy.  

“Winning the UK City of Culture competition has a hugely positive impact on an area, driving investment, creating jobs, and highlighting that culture is for everyone, regardless of their background,” she said.

“This year’s focus is on levelling up access to culture across the country and making sure there is a legacy that continues for generations to come. I look forward to seeing what this brilliant longlist has in store as they continue in the competition.”

The UK City of Culture programme was created in 2009 and the title was first awarded to Derry-Londonderry for the four-year period beginning in 2013.

The 2017 winner was Hull and in 2021 the title went to Coventry. Bids from Dundee and Paisley made the shortlist in 2017 and 2021 respectively.

Glasgow was named European Capital of Culture in 1990, a designation awarded by the European Union.

Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart, the Conservative member for Milton Keynes South, said Stirling is a strong contender for the award given its “fascinating history and vibrant creative scene”.

"The list of cities announced today is testament to the outstanding creativity and culture across the UK,” he added.

“I look forward to seeing proposals develop as Stirling strives to bring the UK City of Culture to Scotland for the first time.”

The winner, which will hold the title for four years beginning in 2025, is expected be announced next May.

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