Wakefield’s City of Culture bid becomes official

Wakefield Council has now submitted an Expression of Interest to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in its bid to become City of Culture 2025.

The Council’s Expression of Interest is a partnership approach, encompassing cultural and creative partners from across the district, including the growing Wakefield Creative Network, which already encompasses over 450 creative individuals and organisations; including public, private and voluntary sector.

Speaking about the submission, Council Leader, Cllr Denise Jeffery, said: “We are delighted to take this next exciting step in our bid for City of Culture. This is very much a district wide bid and this journey will benefit all of our communities.

“Our creative and cultural partners across the district are very much at the heart of our bid and includes representation from across the sector – from libraries, heritage and civic societies, to destinations such as The Hepworth Wakefield and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to creative and digital companies from Team17, Production Park and Tileyard North, to smaller crafters and gamers.

“We have also drawn from wider education, community and business representatives, and reached out to some wider specialist networks locally and regionally for support, advice and co-creation opportunities.

“Our bid will help provide a brighter future for our residents, improving skills and wellbeing and providing better jobs. And it will help us to share with the world what we have to offer, putting Wakefield on the map and growing our visitor economy.”

Cllr Michael Graham, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “The Wakefield district has many different and distinctive parts. Yet we hold a strong sense of community belonging and togetherness, rooted in a proud history of creativity and big ambitions.

“We are a modern multi-national distribution hub and Europort, but it is culture and creativity that connects our souls, from gaming to live events, castles to sculpture, to music and performance production. Together we seek to drive forward an outstanding quality of life for everyone. A happy, prosperous, welcoming and inclusive place where culture and creativity is everywhere and for everyone.”

Following the submission of the Express of Interest, the Government will announce a long-list of six places in September, with each of those areas then invited to submit their bid by January 2022. Three places will then be selected for a shortlist, to be announced in March next year, with the winner being announced in May 2022.

Residents are asked to share what culture means to them and what they would like to see happen in the district by joining in the conversation online using #Wakefield2025.