city of culture bid 2021


21 reasons why Sunderland should be awarded City of Culture 2021

 The 2021 team have shared the 21 reasons why THEY THINK our City should be awardered City of Culture 2021. 
Take a look below, these might be able to help you when making your own nomination! 

First Class Glass

Not only was England's first stained glass window made in Sunderland in 674 AD, the city is now home to the National Glass Centre,  one of the country’s leading galleries for glass exhibitions and the largest centre for glass and ceramics teaching and learning in Europe.

Sunderland Empire

Often called ‘The West End of the North East’ this beautiful Edwardian theatre attracts huge crowds to its programme of famous hit shows.

One of the best independent music scenes in the country.

The city has a booming independent music scene with its current crop  of musicians including Field Music,  Frankie and the Heartstrings, Lilliput, Hyde and Beast  and The Lake Poets - following hot on the heels of the older states-people of indie rock and pop punk such as the  Futureheads and Kenickie.

Music trend-setters

The city is also the birth place of music pundit and trendsetter Lauren Laverne.

Super Gigs

But it is not just about the alternative or the independent scene - The Stadium of Light has been flexing its super gig muscles recently bringing some massive bands such as the Foo Fighters to the region.

Bold as Brass

Rock and pop’s not the only sound of the city, Sunderland is also home to the award-winning Houghton Brass- the reigning National Brass Band Champions of Great Britain  (Third Section).

Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art

This small but critically acclaimed gallery was the first to commission renowned contemporary artists like Sam Taylor Wood and Adam Chodzko – giving the city some serious contemporary art credentials


From Joseph Swan’ s lightbulb  to Dominic Wilcox GPS shoes the city definitely has more than its fair share of  very inventive folk

The Illuminations

The city the invented the lightbulb also hosts the annual Sunderland Illuminations – which lights up the seafront every year from September - November

A Centre of Learning for 1400 years

Sunderland was home to the Venerable Bede who was reputed England's most learned man in around 700 AD

University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland produces 1000s of skilled and creative graduates every year with its courses in glass and ceramics, photography, film and media and fine art – as well as playing a lead role in The National Glass Centre, The Cultural Spring and North East Photography Network.

Follies and Folklore

What other city can claim such an audaciously positioned folly? Penshaw Monument was inspired by the Temple of Hephaestus it is visible from almost everywhere in Wearside at the top of Penshaw Hill which is also cited as resting place of the ‘Lambton Worm’

England’s largest city by the Sea.

Sunderland is reputed to be England’s largest seaside city. A North East ‘ Riviera’ with fantastic  beaches at Roker and Seaburn.

Piers and Lighthouses

The city’s iconic Grade2 listed Victorian Pier and Lighthouse have just been restored to their former glory with support of the Heritage Lottery Fund

International Connections

When it comes to international connections the National Trust’s Washington Old Hall does pretty well as the ancestral home of George Washington. Sunderland is the only non-capital city to be twinned with Washington D.C.

Washington Arts Centre

Also in Washington, the Arts Centre is a gem of a venue presenting great theatre, music and visual arts all year round

A pioneer of civic culture

The Sunderland Museum was the first local authority museum in the county. The Museum and Winter gardens still attract thousands of visitors and presents hit touring exhibitions such as Canaletto and BP Portrait

Horrible Histories

Actor and author of the incredibly successful Horrible Histories books Terry Deary is also a Sunderland lad.

Sunderland International  Air Show

A real north-east institution, the Sunderland Air Show attracts around a million people to the city every year

A Spring in its Step

Sunderland definitely has a real spring in its step at the moment with new projects like the Cultural Spring and the development of the MAC Quarter bringing a renewed energy, dynamism and profile to the city.

It is Sunderland’s Time

Sunderland has faced some significant social and economic challenges over recent years and the city’s confidence and reputation has definitely been knocked. But there is a real sense that now is Sunderland’s time - and 2021 is a perfect way to show that to the world