South of Scotland Enterprise is behind moves to put forward a bid for the region to collectively become the 2025 UK City of Culture.
It has been working to bring together key stakeholders – Borderlands, Team South of Scotland partners and others – to create an ambitious bid aiming to celebrate the region’s heritage, culture and creativity.
SOSE believes the status could help with the recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic and ultimately bring investment to the region.
Its chairman Professor Russel Griggs said: “There has been a transformational impact on communities which have previously been named UK City of Culture, and the change of criteria to allow areas and places to apply opens up an exciting opportunity for the region.
“The richness of our creative and cultural sector makes us who we are and something we rightly want to celebrate. Inspired by our natural landscape, the sector tells a powerful story about our region.
“This competition provides us an opportunity to show what we have to offer to the rest of the world.”
Professor Griggs, who lives in Sanquhar, added: “I look forward to discussing further the exciting possibilities of such a bid with partners in the coming weeks.”
The competition was launched by UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and will be delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in collaboration with the devolved administrations.
And, for the first time, the competition is open to groups of towns and places who will be able to join together and apply for the title to be awarded to their local area – widening the scope of which areas of the country could benefit.
Professor Griggs said that if a bid is submitted to the 2025 UK City of Culture, it will cover the whole region and not specifically chosen communities and would recognise the “central role culture and creativity has in the recovery of our communities” and provide “a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on what the region has to
UK Culture Secretary Mr Dowden said: “UK City of Culture is a fantastic showcase of the huge impact culture has in towns and cities across the country. From Derry-Londonderry to Hull and Coventry, previous winners have shown how the competition can deliver greater cultural participation, drive economic regeneration and boost local pride.
“I encourage towns and cities across the UK to put forward bids for 2025 and champion their local arts and culture scene.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “It would be brilliant to bring the prize to Scotland for the first time and I’d strongly urge Scottish towns and cities to get