We are bidding to be UK City of Culture 2025 and aim to secure the title for the whole of the county. Durham County Council has submitted the bid for the next stage of the competition with principal partner Durham University on behalf of Culture Durham – a partnership of organisations united by their belief in the power of culture to transform lives.
We are here to bring together extraordinary people, places and ideas to power extraordinary growth.
Culture in Durham
Culture has long been the beating heart of life in Durham. Our communities are built on the strong foundations of industry, a tradition of independence and the desire to come together to celebrate and create. Our heritage is the source of our present-day pride, our innovative spirit and our ambition for the future.
Durham is home to breathtaking landscapes, outstanding cultural attractions, unparalleled grassroots sport, world-first heritage, spectacular events, world-class research and a growing sector of artists, entrepreneurs and creatives that help make it all happen.
And we believe that culture belongs to everyone – we are equally proud of our internationally recognised festivals and heritage, as well as the culture we create in our daily lives.
Bringing people and communities together
The bid aims to bring people and communities together, centring around themes that will help people to congregate, and illuminate and energise the county. It builds on Durham’s track record for major events such as Lumiere, the UK’s leading light festival, whilst also creating new opportunities to meet the county’s aspirations for levelling up.
Hundreds of residents have been involved in the bid’s development, contributing a range of ideas, with many of those ideas featured in the submission and highlighting the collaborative nature of Durham 2025.
A lasting impact on our future
We already have such a lot planned for Durham – the additional attention and investment that UK City of Culture status brings would provide a catalyst that has a lasting impact on our future.
Being named UK City of Culture 2025 would have a significant and sustained impact on the region’s economy: it would help to create an additional 2,500 jobs in Durham’s creative industries and an additional 200 creative enterprises in the county by 2029; almost 1,000 businesses and organisations will be directly supported by the title; and, it will create a £41.5 million spend with at least 50 per cent of contracts going to local suppliers.
It would also attract more than 15 million visitors to the region, many of whom would stay overnight, helping to bring an additional visitor spend of £700 million and supporting the creation of a further 1,800 jobs in the tourism sector.