What’s Next for Our City Of Culture

Written by on 25th January 2018

Charlotte Price asks ‘what’s next?’ after Sunderland loses 2021 bid

Despite losing out to Coventry in the 2021 City of Culture title, Sunderland remain upbeat about what lies ahead. Cultural leaders have vowed to carry on with the planned programme of activities for the city to enjoy.

The City of Culture bid was launched in September 2015 at an event in Keel Square seeing a host of cities from around the UK competing head to head to be crowned the City of Culture, which is awarded every four years.

The 2021 bid saw Coventry, Paisley, Swansea, Stoke and Sunderland pitted against each other. Sunderland’s bid was written by a team from the University of Sunderland, The MAC Trust and the City Council alongside the help Sunderland’s people. Our city has a desire to grow and develop its cultural scene, leaving a lasting-legacy for Sunderland.

Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland central highlights the change of mood in the city alongside its boost in confidence and self-belief of what Sunderland is capable of.

She says: “We, as a city, are unstoppable and this experience has put Sunderland on the map!”

Helen Green, director of the Fire Station, said that despite being disappointed Sunderland will “pick itself up and get back on track,” as “There are lots of things happening, we have the Fire Station, Northern Gallery of Contemporary art, The Tall Ships and lots of investment happening in the city. “We are already on a transformation momentum, it will just be at a slightly slower pace, but we are still going to do lots of things that we have never done before.”

Losing out to Coventry for the 2021 title does not mean the end of culture in Sunderland. As a city, we are able to continue to explore cultural opportunities to help the city grow and walk forward with events and cultural experiences.

Alfie Joey from BBC Radio Newcastle’s Alfie and Anna at Breakfast, said: “What I think is happening in Sunderland is there is a sense of permanency. The Fire Station is going to be a colossal place for colossal things to happen for years and decades to come.

“That could be the centre of all sorts of special things and if we can do lots of things like that in Sunderland, it will be a transformed city.”

What’s next for OUR city?

The Fire Station

Sunderland Fire Station opened in late 2017 bringing a whole new range of arts to the city and filling in the gaps for Sunderland’s cultural needs. The station is said to bring ‘Art and Culture into the heart of our city and bring back into use one of Sunderland’s most iconic buildings.’

It is the home of Music, Dance, Comedy and Theatre in Sunderland, with the stimulating education programme hoping to attract both young and old to explore culture and arts.

The state-of-the-art dance studios are operated by Dance City, the North East’s leading dance organisation, in the former Firefighters mess. A full programme of dance classes including community, group and children’s dance parties will begin this year.

Not only does it have facilities for dance but also live theatre, with drama studios and small-scale studio productions on the cards. Upstairs is home to a heritage centre which celebrates the history and heritage of the fire service in our city.

It also has a restaurant and bar which is also open to the public.

Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art

This Spring the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art is relocating from Sunderland City Council to the University of Sunderland in the National Glass Centre.

Tall Ship Races

Sunderland will be home to the Tall Ship Races between 11-14 July. Our city is hosting the fleet of tall ships, allowing the city to take part in the four-day festival of culture and entertainment for everyone across the city before they set sail in the first leg of the races 2018.

The event is looking to bring many people to our city to showcase what we have to offer: beautiful beaches and countryside, theatres, museums and galleries among many other things that the city has to offer.

Article Originally Appeared in Spark Magazine

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