Stoke-on-Trent may have lost the battle for City of Culture 2021, but it has not lost the war – cultural projects are still on-going city-wide, funded by Arts Council England and Visit England.
The city has been granted £300,000 of funding to be used over the next three years to boost culture and art awareness, as well as to put Stoke on the map.
Cultural Destinations aims to attract more visitors to the city by changing people’s perception of Stoke so it becomes a cultural location to visit.
Stoke-on-Trent’s group will be working with public and private sector tourist attractions alongside cultural organisations to curate a series of activities to boost the visitor economy.
Projects will include festivals, programmes, and events.
The cash will also possibly be used to fill in any gaps in the culture of the city.
Chair of the steering group, Paul Williams, said: “Cultural Destinations should give us a much stronger year-round cultural offer.
“It should give us an offer that we can package and promote to cultural tourists all year round.”
Stoke was one of 16 locations that submitted an application for funding.
Private sector attractions include Wedgwood Pottery Museum, Trentham Gardens, and Middleport Pottery, whereas others include Gladstone Pottery Museum, The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, the British Ceramics Biennial, and Visit Stoke.
Paul added: “Stoke-on-Trent not winning City of Culture makes us think of how we want to tackle other areas set out in the bid.
“One area for Cultural Destinations, that was set out in the bid, is about changing the story, and the narrative, of people’s perceptions of Stoke-on-Trent.
“People will start to have a different view and a different image of the city.”
In a statement Arts Council England said: “The Arts Council’s investment will support local arts and cultural organisations, led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, to team up with partners including Visit Stoke and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery to attract more visitors.
“This joined up approach will ensure arts and culture can be capitalised upon as part of the city’s new Destination Management Plan.”
Although Stoke lost out to Coventry for the 2021 City of Culture bid, conversations are now taking place to decide whether Stoke should bid again for 2025 or 2029.
The other successful applicants for the Arts Council England funding were:
– Derbyshire and Nottingham
– Greater Manchester
– Cheshire East and Warrington
– Lake District
– Norfolk and Suffolk
– Isle of Scilly
– Bristol and Bath