THE judges who will decide whether Sunderland will become the UK’s City of Culture in 2021 have toured Wearside today.

The panel was headed by TV producer and writer Phil Redmond CBE, who met more than 100 people representing the city’s businesses, arts organisations, community bodies and other organisations..

Rebecca Ball, the bid’s project director, said: “Today was months in the planning and I’m delighted with the way it has gone – the citywide, passionate support for our bid was clear throughout the judges’ visit.

Loading article content

“I’m so grateful for everyone involved in welcoming the judges to Sunderland – they did our city proud today.”

The day included visits to the National Glass Centre, Keel Square, the newly renovated Fire Station, Mowbray Park, Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden and Back on the Map in Hendon.

Judges also went to see the city’s coastline, the East End, took a bus tour of the west side of the city and coalfield villages and finished at Arts Centre Washington.

Bid steering group chair Graeme Thompson, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: ““Bidding for UK City of Culture has ignited real passion and energy here. We were delighted to make the shortlist and we know we will deliver something extraordinary if we win.”

“The process of bidding to be UK City of Culture has been extraordinary powerful because it had brought people together to imagine future possibilities. And as those conversations have progressed we have become convinced that what Sunderland needs more than anything is to install a collective belief that our best days are still to come.”

Mr Redmond, who was deputy chair and creative director of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008, said: “There are two underlying principals to the whole process. It’s up to each city to define its own culture and the second is what are they going to use that culture for and what changes will it bring about.

“Sunderland could certainly deliver a successful City of Culture programme – that’s why it’s on the shortlist with all of the other cities, they’re all capable of being City of Culture 2021.”

Other shortlisted cities Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Swansea were visited last month. The winner will be announced in December.