In 2008 Liverpool was awarded the title of City of Culture, in 2013 it was Derry, Kingston upon Hull was chosen to host in 2017 and it has been announced that in 2021 Coventry will hold the title. But in 2025, Medway Council are hoping it’s their turn.
The City of Culture is a title designated to a city for one-year in the UK. In 2008, Liverpool had great success when labelled as European Capital of Culture which benefitted the area not only economically, but socially too. This idea is what inspired the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) who administrate the initiative.
Although Medway is not necessarily a city, as an area it’s eligible as a contender.
Liz Moran, the Director of Arts and Culture at the University of Kent, is one of the people heading the bid. She thinks that this could be transformational for Medway – especially regarding it’s positioning on the map in relations to big cities such as London and features such as the river, Rochester Castle and Cathedral and Chatham Dockyard.
“The bid will allow Medway to develop as a much more attractive place to live, work, learn and play,” she said.
“There’s so much potential, it’s amazing. I really do believe in it and I think also what’s exciting is that there’s a lot of others who believe in Medway too.
“It’ll put us on the map and bring a lot of jobs, partnerships investments and tourism to the towns. It’s a huge opportunity that encourages us to be a bit more ambitious in our thinking and more confident in Medway too. This can only benefit Medway.”
The University of Kent, MidKent College, Medway Council and the Dockyard are all partnered in the scheme and have just appointed a director to lead the bid.
The bid aims to celebrate the five towns of Medway and acts as an expression of interest for the DDCMS who will, in January of 2021, select a handful of cities who have expressed an interest and pick one from the mix to be given the sought-after title.
Cllr Allan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “Medway has so much to offer including historic landmarks, award-winning country parks, excellent schools, thriving economy and inspirational residents. City of Culture will show our pride in our local communities, create a legacy for Medway and promote our cultural offer, not just across Medway, but across the country too.
“This is a very exciting time for Medway. Our monumental regeneration programme, which will provide growth for all, is currently taking shape and we are investing heavily in Medway’s future. Medway’s residents are always at the heart of everything we do and I would encourage them to support our aspirations and post their stories and photos on social media and tell us why they are proud to live in Medway.”