Latest News | 7 July 2021

Derby to submit bid to become City of Culture in 2025

Alstom (formerly Bombardier)
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Derby is to put forward a bid to become City of Culture in 2025, which it hopes will act as a springboard for a culture-led regeneration of the city.

The city intends to put its rich and vibrant heritage at the centre of its bid, as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the site of the world’s first factory and as a leader of the English enlightenment.

It will also focus on Derby’s as a city of innovation – something which still exists today through the global manufacturers it is home to, such as Rolls-Royce, Alstom and Toyota.

Numerous organisations are now working together and backing the bid, including Derby City Council, Derby Museums, QUAD, Derby Theatre and Marketing Derby.

Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, said: “The city is at a turning point, and this is an opportunity for Derby to come together with a collective focus like never before. Alongside these, and our recovery aspirations, the City of Culture offers a monumental opportunity for Derby to level up; to inspire local pride and attract new investment and tourism.”

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “It is important for cities to show ambition, which is why Marketing Derby supports the bid. Our cultural community already provides a fantastic platform but bidding and, of course, winning would be a gamechanger in repurposing our city of the future.”

Derby has a long history of making and creativity – something that is celebrated in the recently opened £18 million Museum of Making.

It is also home to a diverse range of cultural community and organisations, such as Derby Museums, QUAD, Derby Theatre, Sinfonia Viva and Déda.

Together, they work together to create many vibrant events, such as Festé, Format, Derby Folk Festival, Darley Park Concert, Caribbean Carnival, St George’s Day celebrations and Derby Market Place.

Darley Park Concert

The city already has strong plans to enhance its cultural offer further.

This includes delivering a new 3,500-capacity venue at Becketwell, transforming the Market Hall, remodelling the Market Place and redeveloping the Assembly Rooms site.

Councillor Poulter said: “We’re not suggesting that Derby bids as ‘the best cultural city’ in the UK; we’re bidding as a city of aspiration, and a city of potential, which we know Derby will be able to get behind.

“I have taken the opportunity to visit Hull both on business and on private cultural visits and experienced the continuing cultural legacy of their year as City of Culture.

“The two cities are culturally very similar including an arena similar to and run by the same people as the Becketwell site.

“While Derby has one the highest GVA per employee of any UK city it also has communities that are among the highest deprived in the country.

“The city’s bid will recognise culture can play a huge role in supporting wellbeing and building aspiration.

“Derby’s bid will ensure that all communities have opportunity to celebrate their own culture and take part in activity that is important to them.”

It is now hoped that the bid will unite communities, organisations and businesses across Derby.

The Museum of Making

It already has the backing of all three Derby MPs – Amanda Solloway (Derby North), Dame Margaret Beckett (Derby South) and Pauline Latham (Mid-Derbyshire) – as well as numerous arts organisations across the city.

Tony Butler, executive director at Derby Museums, said: “For over 300 years Derby has been a centre for creativity, experimentation and making.

“Here, on the banks of the River Derwent, the industrial revolution first took hold, fuelled by the ideas of scientific discovery and enlightenment.

“That legacy resonates today as a city that is global in outlook committed to economic innovation.

“Every citizen has the right to participate in cultural life. It helps define who we are and our place in the world.

“It provides citizens with the agency to create and contribute to making the places where they live. Being inspired by a rich cultural life unlocks individual ambition and generates a sense of collective joy.”

Adam Buss, chief executive at QUAD, said: “Derby is a city that has always had creativity and innovation at its heart, but more importantly we believe that every resident and visitor should benefit from the power that arts and culture have to change people’s lives for the better.

“Our bid for City of Culture will draw together the heritage of the city alongside the voices of the young people of today to help us work together for a brighter future.


“Derby is diverse, global city and our City of Culture bid will reflect both the unique qualities of the city and the unifying human qualities that bind us together.”

Sarah Brigham, chief executive of Derby Theatre, said: “Derby is a city of the old and the new, from our proud manufacturing history to our place as a diverse and inclusive city at the digital forefront of the UK.

“Our bid for City of Culture will pay tribute to our past but look with excitement and passion to our present and to our future.

“It will give permission to disrupt and innovate, to flood the city with iconic, engaging, relevant and transformational moments.

“It will give space to stop and listen to the many voices from across the world present in our city and will provide opportunities to young and old alike to not only engage with culture but to create, thrive and develop in it.”

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