THE NEXT STEPS
The bidding process for UK City of Culture 2021 saw a number of cities from around the UK competing to be named the third UK City of Culture, following Derry in 2013 and Hull's brilliant year this year, 2017.
Eleven cities put in a bid for 2021, and five were shortlisted in July 2017 - Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea...and Sunderland. Although we lost in the end to Coventry, I understand it was a very close decision between them and Sunderland.
Exciting times for the city that's been my home for the past 26 years, and I'm proud to have contributed to the advisers' group, and to have helped spread the word through What Next? Sunderland. A win would have been transformative for the city, but there are great things happening already, and plans for more across the next seven years.
Twenty Four Seven is a vision taking the city to 2024, and sees a £60 million, 7-year programme to transform Sunderland’s cultural life, to strengthen the city’s creative economy and increase the number of Wearsiders taking part in arts and culture. You can stay in touch with developments via Facebook or Twitter.