Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough are all in contention for the UK City of Culture 2025 title.
The shortlist was drawn from the 20 cities that had submitted bids to take over the title, which is currently held by Coventry and will be awarded in 2021.
An advisory panel of experts chaired by Sir Phil Redmond will visit the four shortlisted sites before making its final recommendation in May.
The winner of the prestigious title, awarded every four years, will be announced in Coventry.
Following Friday’s announcement, Sir Phil Redmond said: “Culture can act as a catalyst for community engagement, civic cohesion and an engine for economic and social change, as it has done before not only in Derry-Londonderry in 2013, Hull in 2017 and Coventry in 2021, but all the other places that have embarked on the journey to develop their own cultural strategy.”
He continued, “We had a great longlist to choose from which made selection difficult, but I now look forward to visiting each of the shortlisted locations with the panel to see the culture’s catalytic power in action. “
The winner will attract millions of dollars in additional investment to spur regeneration, as well as a year in the cultural spotlight that encourages enduring participation in the arts and the growth of local tourism.
Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “The UK City of Culture competition demonstrates the important role culture can play in enhancing our cities and rural communities, bringing investment, great events, thousands of tourists and opportunities for all people age and background.”
He added: “We have seen a huge positive impact in this year’s host city of Coventry, with millions of euros invested and thousands of visitors.”
Since winning the title, Coventry has invested more than £172m to fund music concerts and the UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery, and a further £500m to regenerate the city, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.
Additional reporting by PA
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/uk-city-of-culture-list-final-contenders-b2039190.html UK City of Culture 2025: Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough are in the running