I haven’t been asked to write this and I’m nothing to do with the official bid team. However, as someone who is passionate about Derbyshire as a whole, I think it would be amazing if Derby won. This is my entirely personal take on why I think Derby should win UK City of Culture in 2025 and why it’s important for Derbyshire.
I also want to dispel the myth that ‘culture’ is just the high end stuff. I’ve taught sociology for twenty years so I like to think I know a few things about culture. Culture just means the way of life of a group of people. Yes it’s history and museums and art galleries and ballet and opera. But it’s more that that. Culture is the food we eat, it’s the music we listen to, it’s the football team we support, the language we speak and the customs we have. It’s basically what we do, what we love. And we all have culture. And I truly believe that all of that should be celebrated.
What is a UK City of Culture?
Every four years a city is chosen to be the “UK City of Culture” for one calendar year. That city then receives funding to host cultural festivities throughout that year, thus enabling culture-led regeneration. Previous winners include Derry (2013) Hull (2017) and Coventry (2021). The origins of the scheme are in the European Capital of Culture scheme, which Liverpool won for 2008. The winner for 2025 will be announced in May 2022.
Why is it good to be a UK City of Culture?
Before we even talk about winning, it’s brilliant that Derby has been long listed. That alone has brought £40,000 of investment into the city. It’s already created a buzz. The PR from that alone will make people from outside of the city pay more attention to what’s going on here. It attracts people to the area. Not only tourists but businesses who might consider relocating to the area, thus bringing more jobs. And all that will be hugely magnified if we win. But it’s not just the economic benefits. Culture enriches lives and brings people together.
Why I think Derby should win UK City of Culture in 2025
My personal arguments for why Derby should be crowned the UK City of Culture in 2025. As I said before, I am nothing to do with the official bid (although I have used some of the photos they have kindly made available in their media toolkit and I’ve also referenced some statistics from the Culture Derby website).
I’m just a Derbyshire blogger and freelance writer who is passionate about the local area. I was born in Derby and it’s the city I know best out of anywhere in the world.
In no particular order:
- Derby has a rich industrial history. It was the birthplace of the industrial revolution – which changed the whole world!
- Derby Arboretum was the first public park in the UK and inspired the design of Central Park in New York (arguably the most famous park in the world). Today there are a whole host of lovely parks that are enjoyed by the people of Derby. And the city will soon play host to the UK’s largest urban rewilding project.
- We already have some much loved cultural events. Who hasn’t been to and loved the classical music concert and fireworks display in Darley Park?
- There’s already some fantastic museums in Derby – notably the brand new Museum of Making and the Museum and Art Gallery.
- Derby has the fantastic Quad. So much more than just an arthouse cinema, Quad is an arts and media centre. They run a range of workshops and events – that appeal to a wide range of groups.
- There’s a great food scene in Derby. From buzzing street food (and Derby’s biggest beer garden!) at Bustler to the discerning restaurants in Darley Abbey or the Michelin recognised Darleys, there’s something for everyone. Click here for my guide to the best Derbyshire restaurants.
- According to Derby CAMRA, Derby has “one of the country’s most diverse selection of real ales served across a collection of differing pubs”. From Derby’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Dolphin to a staggering number of brew-pubs and some unique micro-pubs. Click here for my guide to the cosiest pubs in the county.
- People are generally nice here. There’s a sense of community and people from other parts of the country tend to comment on how friendly Derby is.
- Derby is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, multicultural city. 25% of Derby’s population are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Derby is a City of Sanctuary with 180 nationalities and over 70 languages.
- We’re in the heart of England. Derby is England’s most central city. The Midlands are so often neglected and this would put us on the map.
- Derby has a beautiful cathedral that is open not just for worship, but for anyone to enjoy the beautiful historic building. Derby Cathedral is also home to peregrines, and the webcam footage is frankly mesmerising.
- The Cathedral Quarter area of the city has stunning, historic architecture and lots of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Irongate and Sadler Gate and The Strand are particularly lovely.
- Another gorgeous part is Darley Abbey, a former historic mill village, now a suburb of the city of Derby. The Darley Abbey Mills complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has some wonderful places to eat and drink.
- Derby Arena not only hosts a range of events but is also a stunning building.
Are you supporting the bid for Derby to become the UK City of Culture in 2025? Can you add any reasons in the comments below?