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Shortlisted City!


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Bidding for Sunderland to be the UK City of Culture 2021 will be a very exciting journey and there are plenty of ways you can become involved and experience culture.

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Get Creative!

Find out more about Sunderland's Get Creative Day and how to show your support

The bidding process for UK City of Culture 2021 will see a host of cities from around the United Kingdom competing against one another to be the third UK City of Culture.

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  • “Wearside used to export coal all over the world; now it makes brilliant art and exports that instead. We should celebrate the writers, film-makers, actors, artists and musicians who are based in the north east, and those who have left to spread the sense of this culturally vibrant place more widely. I whole-heartedly support Sunderland's bid to become 2021's UK City of Culture.”

    Ann Cleeves, Crime Writer
  • Sunderland's lively optimism and rich history deserve the UK City of Culture 2021 title so a jewel in the nation's crown sparkles well into the future. From shipbuilding and glass making to music and the theatre, the glorious creativity of Sunderland's people is harnessing culture in its broadest sense to regenerate the city and North East England for this century and beyond.

    Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror
  • Tracing Sunderland’s rich cultural history is an interesting job. It takes us from the saints and artist monks of St Peter’s, past Lowry and the ingenuity of the industrial age, to Lewis Caroll’s uncannily-named Wonderland to meet a Walrus and back home to a famous lion. We make glass, pop music and cars and so inspired Grayson Perry he came back to the city twice to create works of art. It is a city full of tough, funny people with soft hearts. I’m proud to call it home, and of the culture I inherited growing up there.

    Lauren Laverne, BBC Presenter
  • I think the City of Culture bid is a superb thing for Sunderland. We have a glut of incredibly talented people in the city, from musicians, to performance artists, to drama groups, to filmmakers, and photographers. This City of Culture bid is going to allow those different groups of artists to stand a much greater chance of being productive with their work and gaining success within their field. Now is Sunderland’s time.

    Barry Hyde, Musician

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what’s on and where

There is always something to see and do in Sunderland. Discover a wide range of events and festivals perfect for anyone from families to students, many of which are free! The arts and culture scene in Sunderland has provided the city’s creative heartbeat for generations and we are showing no signs of changing!

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About Sunderland

what makes us a uk city of culture

The birthplace of the Venerable Bede, Sunderland has been a city of culture for 1,400 years. Centuries before shipbuilding, centuries before coal, culture and learning was at the heart of Sunderland’s identity.

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