UK Government

Department for Culture, Media And Sport: Race to become the UK’s first City of Culture hots up as Final Fourteen become Fantastic Four

Press Release   •   Feb 25, 2010 09:57 GMT

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge today announced the final four cities vying to become the UK’s first City of Culture in 2013.  They are Birmingham, Derry/Londonderry, Norwich and Sheffield.  They were shortlisted by an independent judging panel, whose recommendations were accepted by Secretary of State Ben Bradshaw.  The panel will also make the final recommendation on the winning bid, with that city to be announced in the summer.

Margaret Hodge said:

“Huge congratulations to the four cities in the final running for the 2013 UK City of Culture.  It’s a testament to their hard work – and dedication to culture – that they’ve come so far in what has proven to be a very tough competition.  I’m really pleased that we attracted such a strong and varied field.  It just goes to show the richness of culture across the UK.

“I was very impressed with all fourteen bids and, for those not shortlisted, I would say take heart from what you’ve achieved and continue to work on creating a cultural offer which can be enjoyed by all and which will help to make your cities even more attractive places in which to live and work”.

Phil Redmond, Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel, said:

“The Panel had both a stimulating but difficult task in suggesting the short-list as all 14 bidders had realised impact of becoming the UK’s first City of Culture and what that would bring, not least the media exposure that would accompany it. This in itself was a great endorsement for the project as a whole.

"In deciding on the four cities recommended - Derry/Londonderry, Birmingham, Norwich, and Sheffield – the panel was influenced by the expected step change each city was asked to envisage, if they gained the title and subsequent media spotlight.

"It was a hard choice but also heartening that all bidders had recognised the power of culture to bring people together; to work collectively within existing resources for a common goal and bring into being networks that may not have existed before.

"For those not on the shortlist that is still a powerful and valuable achievement, with a reminder that 2013 is only the first time the title will be awarded. 2017 is not that far away!”


1. Further information on the bidding process thus far can be found in DCMS press notice 097/09:

You can find the formal bidding process information on the DCMS website at:

2. The  successful host city will be provided with the title of UK City of Culture for their year, and given rights to the UK City of Culture brand, with scope to tailor it to their own city if desired.

3. The timeline for next steps is as follows:
* End Feb – all cities will received feedback on their initial bids. Full and final bidding guidance for shortlisted cities will be published

* End May – the deadline for full and final bid documentation from the short-listed cities

* Summer – the Advisory Panel will receive presentations from the shortlisted cities and will make their final recommendation to the Secretary of State for the winner of UK City of Culture in 2013

4. Some key facts and statistics about Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 42008, supplied by the Liverpool Culture Company, is available at:

5. Frequently Asked Questions and other relevant documentation can be found on the DCMS website at:

6. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has appointed an Independent Advisory Panel to review bids for the UK City of Culture programme. The membership of the Panel is broadly drawn to include cultural, broadcasting, regeneration, Local Government, and wider business expertise. The members include representatives from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. The Independent Advisory Panel will be supported by a project team within DCMS.

7. The Panel is invited to:

(i) Review the initial bids in February 2010 and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State on the cities to shortlist. These initial bids will be submitted by 11th December 2009 and will be assessed in detail by our appointed expert assessors, Regeneris, in accordance with agreed criteria and guidance. The best scoring bids will be presented to the Independent Advisory Panel in January 2010.

(ii) Review the final bids from the shortlisted cities in June 2010 before making a final recommendation for the 2013 UK City of Culture to the Secretary of State.

8. The Panel is expected to make considered and objective recommendations to the Secretary of State, who is responsible for final decisions.  The Department for Culture, Media and Sport must be made aware of any potential conflicts of interest.

9. Panel members will be required to commit to 4 days, which will be scheduled according to the availability of the Panel members (1 day in December 2009 for an induction with Regeneris; 1 day in early February 2010 to review the initial bids; and 2 days in June 2010 to receive presentations from the shortlisted bidders and to review the final bids). The Panel will receive presentations from the shortlisted bidders before making their final recommendation. In addition to these 4 days, Panel members will be required to dedicate some time to reading the cities’ bids before these meetings.

10. Short biographies of the members of the Independent Advisory Panel are as follows:

Prof Phil Redmond CBE (Chair)
Phil Redmond CBE founded Mersey Television in 1981 which rapidly became one of Britain's biggest permanent employer in the independent production sector. He is a Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University where he is also a Member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the International Centre for Digital Content.  Phil Redmond became Chair, National Museums Liverpool in August 2008.

He was Deputy Chair of the Liverpool Culture Company board 2008 and was Creative Director of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.  Phil Redmond Chaired the Working Group which advised on the desirability and feasibility of the UK City of Culture proposal.

Derrick Anderson CBE
Derrick Anderson CBE is the Chief Executive of Lambeth Council and has twenty-five years' management experience in local government. He was awarded a CBE for services to local government in January 2003 and holds honorary doctorates from Staffordshire University for work on social inclusion and cultural policy and from Birmingham University.

Derrick is currently Committee Member of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) UK Committee and Vice President of UK Youth, and his past engagements include: Non-executive director on the Home Office Board; Board Member of Sport England – London; Member of Arts Council England; Secretary Black Country Local Authority Consortium 2000-04; Non Executive Director West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive; Non-Executive Director of the 2012 Olympic Bid Company and Chair of Sports England West Midlands 2004-06.

Prof John Ashton CBE
Professor John R Ashton CBE is Director of Public Health and County Medical Officer, Cumbria PCT. He holds chairs in the Liverpool Medical School, Liverpool John Moores University, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Manchester Medical School and the Valencia Institute of Public Health in Spain.

He was awarded the CBE in the Millennium New Year’s honours list for service to the NHS. His work primarily covers the North West, and he is based in Manchester and lives in Liverpool.

Anna Carragher
Anna Carragher was Controller of BBC Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2006, and Head of Programmes for BBC Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2001. She has worked as a journalist and producer for the BBC in London and Northern Ireland on programmes including; Today, Newsnight, Question Time and Any Questions and as Editor of European and Correspondent Programmes.

She has been Chair of the Grand Opera House Trust in Belfast since April 2007 and a Trustee since 2001. She is also currently a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Margaret Evans
Margaret Evans was formerly the Director of Culture, Welsh Language and Sport at the Welsh Assembly Government (now retired). She has extensive experience and knowledge of the arts sector in Wales and the UK as a whole, and was involved in Cardiff's bid for European Capital of Culture.

She currently sits on the Advisory Panel of the UWIC (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff) School of Art and Design, is a Trustee of National Dance Company Wales, and former Director of The Prince's Trust Volunteers for Wales and the West.

Lauren Laverne
Lauren Laverne began her career in indie band Kenickie while still at school. Following the group's split in 1998 Lauren moved into broadcasting. In radio her highly acclaimed stint as a DJ for leading London radio station XFM was followed by a move to BBC 6Music, where she has just started a new daily show.

Lauren also has successful and varied on-screen career, presenting TV shows such as Transmission, The Culture Show, Style on Trial and coverage from music events including Glastonbury and The Mercury Prize.

She has a weekly column in Grazia magazine and is currently writing her first book.

Rotha Johnston CBE
Rotha Johnston CBE is an entrepreneur in commerce and property, with extensive experience in the public and private sectors. She was awarded a CBE in 2005 for services to business.

She is the BBC Trustee for Northern Ireland. She combines various non-executive directorships with her role as Trustee and stepped down as Deputy Chair of Invest Northern Ireland (the Economic Development Agency for Northern Ireland) in March 2009.

Robert Palmer
Robert Palmer is currently Chair of Visiting Arts (London) and Director of Culture and Cultural and National Heritage at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, France). He has been heavily involved in European Capitals of Culture and is the only person to have been the Director of two – Glasgow (1990) and Brussels (2000). In addition he undertook a major evaluation of European Capitals of Culture (1985-2004) which was published by the European Commission in 2004, and has been an advisor to many cities aspiring to and that have won the designation of Capital of Culture.

His previous roles include Director of Performing Arts for the City of Glasgow and Director of Drama and Dance at the Scottish Arts Council. He has undertaken cultural projects, including projects concerned with the development of cultural policies and the management of festivals in over 20 countries in Europe, Canada, and South-East Asia. His most recent book "Eventful Cities" will be published in spring 2010. He has won various awards for his work in the UK, Belgium and France.

Ref: 025/10


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