Tees Valley to bid for City of Culture

Tees Valley

Tees Valley has declared its intent to bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2025.

Professor Graham Henderson CBE DL made the exciting announcement at a Tees Valley Culture summit held at The Forge, Teesside University's business centre in Darlington today (28 July).

Professor Henderson, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University, chaired a Task and Finish Group made up of representatives from Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), Teesside University, the five Tees Valley local authorities, Arts Council England and other cultural groups which made the recommendation as part of a broader Culture report. The report features a number of recommendations endorsed by Tees Valley Unlimited to be taken forward through a partnership of the five local authorities working with the wider public and private sectors and the extensive network of independent cultural practitioners in the area.

The group spent the last year exploring how to enhance the Tees Valley's cultural offer and ensure it better supports the area's ambitious economic plans by supporting not only growth in the tourism and visitor economy, but in the creative industries, and how culture can be utilised to address issues around employment, education, health and wellbeing and social inclusion.  As part of this work the group has proposed that TVU and its partners should declare an intent to bid for UK City of Culture 2025.

Professor Henderson, said: "2025 is already set to be a huge year as the region will be marking the bicentenary of the birth of passenger rail travel and it will also be the 150th anniversary of the creation of Dorman Long, the world renowned Middlesbrough based steel maker who built many famous bridges including Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Tyne Bridge.
"In concluding our work, the Group believes that over the next 10 years the Tees Valley can achieve a step change by working towards city-scale cultural programmes and the run up to 2025 will be a catalyst to drive greater collaboration and exciting new developments."

Margi Stewart-Piercy, Cultural Partnership and Strategy Coordinator who works across the five Tees Valley boroughs said:
"With Hartlepool's Historic Quay to become the National Museum of the Royal Navy, nationally significant contemporary arts institutions such as mima in Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland's vertical pier and funicular railway, internationally acclaimed festivals and events like Stockton International Riverside Festival and Darlington's Festival of Thrift, and nationally distinctive theatre including Arc at Stockton and the emergence of the national centre of excellence for children's theatre with Theatre Hullabaloo in Darlington - all set alongside the stunning land and sea scape with the River Tees at its heart - there is an abundance to see, do and enjoy right across the Tees Valley."

Paul Booth, Chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited added:
"A successful UK City of Culture bid would create a long term legacy which could generate massive social and economic benefits for many years to come.
"The bid will be developed in consultation with communities and organisations across the Tees Valley.  Over the coming months and years we will be inviting everyone to join this exciting journey.  We urge everyone to get involved in this marvellous opportunity to tell the world all about our contemporary strengths as well as our historic achievements."

The final bidding process is not expected to take place until 2020.