New agency will lead Sunderland’s City of Culture bid

Sunderland's City of Culture bid was launched at an event in Keelman's Square last September.

Sunderland's City of Culture bid was launched at an event in Keelman's Square last September.

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A new company is to be formed to help lead the way in Sunderland’s City of Culture bid and more.

The organisation will be launched by Sunderland City Council, Sunderland University and the MAC Trust to give Wearside an economic boost through arts and music.

Its administration will be overseen by the university and will support the city’s cultural efforts in addition to preparing and submitting the 2021 bid.

It will also be given the task of developing the “capacity and capability” in the management of cultural projects, venues and activities on behalf of the council.

Its work will involve supporting education through performance, drama, poetry reading, sculpture, painting, photography, glass making, history and film. and will also back concerts, exhibitions and festivals.

In the plan approved by the council’s cabinet, it agreed to nominate two directors to sit on the company’s board, with the university and trust to do likewise.

The authority will contribute £250,000 towards a development fund to support it and the appointment of a cultural bid director.

The plan would also see £350,000 in cash and in kind from the university and MAC Trust.

The council has said not setting up the company to drive forward the bid could result in an “unco-ordinated and costly exercise” and would mean the three parties involved would not have access to a range of external funding options.

The City of Culture bid is expected to be submitted next year.

Councillor Mel Speding, cabinet secretary, said: “This council is contributing to the decision to go for the City of Culture bid and in a time of austerity, it is a driver in our economy.

“It’s important to the city, even if we don’t win, and there’s an accolade all the way though this process because Sunderland will be on the map.”

Council leader Paul Watson said the city’s bid had attracted the support of other organisations in the region.