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Nomination slated to crown Durham as the nation’s ‘culture county’ with year-long arts festival UK News

A bid is slated to crown Durham the UK’s ‘county of culture’ for 2025.

This would bring a yearlong festival of music, art, theater, poetry and more to the region.

But the unconventional candidacy would need the green light from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden before it could even be considered.

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The UK appoints a ‘City of Culture’ every four years.

The first was Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland, in 2013.

Hull was named the City of Culture for 2017, and a University of Hull study found that the one-year status attracted more than five million people, providing £ 220 million in investment and creating 800 jobs.

The cultural city of 2021 is Coventry, home to a series of events and exhibitions.

Due to the Covid crisis, the year of Coventry runs from May 2021 to May 2022.

County Durham MPs Richard Holden MP for North West Durham, Dehenna Davis MP for Bishop Auckland and Paul Howell MP for Sedgefield want the county to submit a bid.

But their proposal aims to include the towns and villages of County Durham as much as the city of Durham itself.

This may not be a problem, because the rules issued by the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sports already say that the culture of the “city” does not necessarily have to be a city.

They say the bidders “could be a city or a large city, or a cohesive area made up of two or more neighboring or closely related towns or villages”.

The rules also state that there must be “a clear focus and identity for the region”.

In a letter to Mr Dowden, MPs said: “” County Durham has a proud cultural history, from the fascinating National Railway Museum in Shildon to the recently restored Prince Bishops Castle in Bishop Auckland to the waterfront from Seaham, the Bowes Museum in Teesdale, our mining museum in Killhope, to the ancient cathedral city of Durham itself. “

Mr Horden said: “In the past, the award has proudly showcased the best of a city, but we are offering it more broadly because we want to recognize our rich culture in towns and villages spread across the county.

“To be honored with the award would be unique as our proposal would help open County Durham to the rest of the country and showcase our entire county, not just one city.”

The government is expected to respond in September.

If he says he would consider an offer from County Durham, then work on a formal proposal can begin.

This is expected to be submitted by January 2022. Up to three areas will be shortlisted, with a final decision taken in May.

The title of city (or county) of culture does not come with significant funding, although the government does provide small grants.

But it would allow the successful bidder to raise funds to organize events and attract artists and exhibitors.

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