Opinion: Now is the right time for the Borderlands story to be told
The strapline for the Borderlands UK City of Culture 2025 bid, a truly unique proposal covering five Council areas - Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Carlisle City, Cumbria and Northumberland.
And with our combined creative and cultural talent, we believe that now is the right time for the Borderlands’ story to be told across the country, and beyond.
It may seem strange that an area almost 15 times the size of London would bid for UK City of Culture.
But for the first time the national competition has been opened up to areas and places with a clear focus and identity to apply.
This opening up of the criteria saw us initially consider a South of Scotland bid, but after some absolutely phenomenal support from the creative and cultural sector across both sides of the border, and from each of the five border councils, it was decided a Borderlands proposal should be progressed, with South of Scotland Enterprise helping to pull together and submit the expression of interest.
With the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announcing that 20 places across the UK had put their names forward, this is the most competitive City of Culture contest since the competition began.
But we truly believe this bid is worth taking forward, and can benefit from the transformation impact being named City of Culture can provide.
This year’s City of Culture, Coventry, predict an economic boost of over £200million with an additional 2.5million visitors, and also hope to attract around 10,000 volunteers and create more than 900 jobs.
One of the key themes of our bid is our collective journey to NetZero. Climate change has no borders and so neither should we in how we tackle it. Our bid team is looking to build on the Encouraging Green Growth theme which is part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and have come up with some fantastic ideas which we want to weave across the border, using culture to create stories and a narrative for the future.
There is a lot of hard work ahead of us but with the support of the people of the Borderlands area, we believe we are the right place to become UK City of Culture 2025.
Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive, South of Scotland Enterprise