Being UK City of Culture in 2021 means a ‘new world’ for Coventry, an audience in the city has been told.
Many of the people and businesses who played a part in landing the title were formally thanked by the team behind the bid at a Thanksgiving Event hosted by The Lord Mayor, Councillor Tony Skipper, at St. Mary’s Guildhall to celebrate the win and to look ahead to the exciting build-up to 2021 and the year itself.
The Lord Mayor heaped praise on the bid team and those who backed the successful campaign before handing over to Coventry City of Culture Trust Chairman, David Burbidge CBE DL, who thanked the many sponsors and partners including Coventry City Council, Coventry University, the University of Warwick and the Ricoh Arena/Wasps.
Laura McMillan, who is now the Director of Operations and Legacy at the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “This is a new world. Our city has finally been given the recognition it deserves and take my word for it, we will do Coventry proud.
“Since winning, we have been inundated with messages and calls offering programme ideas, support and requests for more information.
“We are still the same small team that we were when we won and we are working hard now to get the team and the people in place to make it a truly memorably time for the city. We have to make sure we get this right for you from day one to make sure that we deliver the best year we possibly can.
“We will be holding a series of public events over the next few months to update the city on our progress but we wanted to say thank you to you all. When Emma Harrabin and I stood with our presentation to the judges, we were not alone, we had all of you and a whole city behind us. We couldn’t have done it without you.”
Andrew Dixon, the Bid Adviser – likened by The Lord Mayor to a Premier League football manager, who delivers success wherever he goes – whetted the audience’s appetite for the year.
He said: “We had to prove that Coventry needed it, so it was the first bid for City of Culture that started with research.
“That was so important. It highlighted that Coventry is seven years younger than the rest of the UK. This city has 27 per cent of its population from outside of the UK. Those sorts of things start to differentiate you and define you.
“We found massive inequalities in the city when it comes to cultural participation and being UK City of Culture is about addressing that.
“We are already being approached by major, national organisations and events who want to talk to the city and want to come here in 2021 to work with us and the people of the city. It’s very exciting for Coventry and it is going to build and build.”
Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr Tony Skipper, said: “We set out to be UK City of Culture because we wanted to celebrate our great city, build something special for the future and put on a show the rest of the UK will never forget and there really has been some fantastic work so far.
“It has been inspiring to see so many people get behind the bid and help us to victory.
“We now have a very busy three years ahead of us as we build towards our year in the spotlight – and then we have 2021 and all the amazing things that will bring. Congratulations to everyone involved and thank you for everything you have done.”
Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, Coventry University and West Midlands Combined Authority are Principal Partners of the Coventry City of Culture Trust and have provided significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, and CEF (City Electrical Factors) are also Bid Development Sponsors.
To find out more, go to @Coventry2021 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.coventry2021.co.uk