£1.35m up for grabs for London's 2021 and 2023 Boroughs of Culture

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by Josh Peachey

Seven London boroughs have been invited to City Hall to bid to be the next London Borough of Culture.

Croydon, Greenwich, Hounslow, Lewisham, Haringey, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Sutton will compete to become the London Borough of Culture for 2021 and 2023.

The two winning boroughs will each be awarded £1.35 million to deliver an ambitious programme, placing culture at the heart of their communities and celebrating the unique character of local people and places. The successful bids will be announced in February.

In an attempt to strengthen London’s reputation as an international powerhouse for culture, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched the London Borough of Culture initiative with the inaugural winner being named as Waltham Forest for 2019. 

Waltham Forest's programme included more than 1,000 cultural events, workshops and activities across the year, and involved all 88 schools in the borough. 

Brent will be the London Borough of Culture for 2020, and last month announced a bold programme, curated by young people and including events at Wembley Park, new work by Zadie Smith and the return of the MOBO Awards to the borough.

Sadiq Khan, said: “We created the London Borough of Culture to give Londoners a chance to create and enjoy world-class culture on their doorstep. Waltham Forest’s programme has shown its power to bring together communities and inspire young people, and Brent’s exciting programme for 2020 is set to continue this success. We look forward to hearing more about boroughs’ bold plans for 2021 and 2023.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, said: “In every corner of the capital there is creativity and culture, there are hidden gems and unexpected stories. The London Borough of Culture shines a light on the unique character of our boroughs, it inspires powerful civic pride and celebrates world-class culture. 

"The first winner, Waltham Forest, has set the bar really high with a fantastic programme, every single school in the borough involved and 1,000 local people inspired to volunteer. I can’t wait to see who’s next.”