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The University of Southampton

UK City Of Culture 2025 bid

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Southampton UK City of Culture Bid 2025

The University of Southampton is proud to be a City Partner of Southampton UK City of Culture Bid 2025.

In December 2020, the University of Southampton, along with Solent University, pledged its support as a City Partner for Southampton’s ambitious UK City of Culture 2025 Bid.

Each university has already played a significant role in the bid process, with students from Solent University creating the Southampton 2025 launch video and University of Southampton leading on the research and evaluation of the consultation phase of the bid.

Listening to the local community is at the heart of Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture and the consultation phase, which began in early November 2020, has included city-wide virtual focus groups, as well as an online public survey.

President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Mark E. Smith said: “The University of Southampton is proud to pledge our support for the bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, we already support arts in the city through the artistic programmes of our concert hall Turner Sims and John Hansard Gallery, our outreach programmes and of course hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. As the interim lead organisation in the Southampton Cultural Education Partnership we are engaged in research into the city’s arts and cultural impact, this bid will allow us to further put our world leading research expertise to work for the benefit of the city.

“We recently committed ourselves to become a fully civic university and the UK City of Culture bid is a great way to start the collaborations and bridge building that requires. The bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 is an ambitious project to put arts and culture at the heart of how the city understands itself and the University is excited to be lending our support.”

What is UK City of Culture?

The UK City of Culture 2025 competition, delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with the devolved administrations, uses culture as a catalyst for levelling up areas outside London and putting new parts of the UK on the cultural map internationally. The winner, which will be announced next year, will take on the baton from Coventry as the 2021 UK City of Culture and be at the centre of the UK’s cultural spotlight in 2025.

What winning the title would mean for Southampton

For the winning city, the benefits of the title are huge, attracting millions of visitors and investment and bringing communities together to showcase the place where they live to the country and the world.

Throughout the history of this competition the winning cities have always benefited from financial support to ensure the programme’s success and lasting legacy. Coventry has received over £15.5 million from the Government to directly support its year as UK City of Culture.

Southampton has worked hard over the past two years to understand and consult with businesses, organisations, communities and residents, to develop a bid that is from, and for, the people of Southampton. Work to date has seen a huge coming together of organisations and communities throughout the city and beyond with over 130 organisations and 9 neighbouring local authorities committing their support.

The Shortlist and next steps

Southampton is one step closer to becoming UK City of Culture 2025, having secured its place in March 2022 as one of the 4 Shortlisted locations, to become UK City of Culture 2025.

Claire Whitaker OBE, Bid Director, Southampton 2025 UK City of Culture bid said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many people for the achievement of winning a place on this shortlist. Three years of sustained work and thousands of people supporting us – not just in the communities of Southampton but across the wider Solent region. The bid has brought the city together, embracing the world of creators, children and young people, artists, academics, businesses and civic leaders. This is a moment of celebration for all of us.”

Judges will now visit the shortlisted locations and the winner will be announced in May 2022.

University of Southampton Bid Partnership

The Bid compliments the University’s strategic ambitions and objectives

Our Partnership Objectives:

Our Contribution

The University is contributing to the Bid in numerous ways, including:

Once the Bid Winner is announced in May 2022, the University will explore with the Southampton Bid team how the University’s community of students and staff can contribute to future developments.

Our Inclusion pledge

As a University we have helped lead the work on inclusion workshops to develop pledges. Partnering with Southampton UK City of Culture 2025 Trust and organisations from across Southampton to make Inclusion Pledges.  By committing to our pledges together we are unified in our aim to make Southampton an actively Inclusive City.

As the University of Southampton we have pledged to embed Equality Diversity and Inclusion in our strategy.

As a member of our University Community:

You feel welcomed for who you are and you feel that you can influence the way we do things
You feel included and supported to reach your true potential
You are intellectually stretched and challenged; and
You value the diversity of the wider community and play your part.
Our plans to make this a reality are public and shown in detail on our ED&I web pages

Back the SO2025 Bid Campaign


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Southampton is bidding to become the UK City of Culture in 2025. This is a huge opportunity for our city but we can’t do it without you. Our bid won’t win without your support.

Please Like and Follow Southampton 2025’s social channels:

Back the SO25 Campaign and help connect our city with a brighter future.

Download the University of Southampton Partnership Assets and show your support for the Bid!

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