Why we are bidding

Paisley's bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is part of a wider push to use the town's unique cultural and heritage assets to transform its future. Winning the 2021 culture title will have significant benefits:

  • It will create the equivalent of 4,700 jobs over the next decade and boost the local economy by £172m, leaving a lasting legacy for all of Renfrewshire;
  • It means a programme of major events and world-class culture, bringing an estimated 1.7m attendances in 2021;
  • It will bring much-needed footfall and boost our plans to build a new long-lasting town centre economy with culture, heritage, events and tourism at its heart;
  • Involvement in culture is proven to be good for people's health and well-being. Our 2021 year will offer culture for all, and create opportunities for everybody in Renfrewshire to access those benefits;
  • Plus, it is already raising awareness of Paisley's internationally-significant story, helping to transform the town's image at home and abroad, and building a new sense of pride in Paisley.

2021 will be a great and unforgettable year for local people, especially those in our communities who are vulnerable and less heard.

There will be an opportunity every day, across all our communities, for everyone to come together to enjoy music, dance, art, books, performance and most of all friendship. No one will be left out of our year of celebration.

We deserve this big break and to have everyone in the UK celebrating with us.

We need to make sure all our communities know why Paisley is bidding for the culture title. We need to show the judging panel that all of Renfrewshire is behind the bid and we have what it takes to compete against cities from all over the UK.

How the bid works

The UK City of Culture programme is run by the UK Government’s Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport. The contest sees a year of major UK-wide events hosted in one location and aims to use culture and creativity as a catalyst for change.

Paisley lodged its initial bid in April 2017 and it was confirmed in July we had made the shortlist for the next stage of the competition. The shortlisted places will now lodge a more detailed second-stage bid, with the winner expected to be announced at the end of the year.

Previous winners are Derry (2013) and Hull (2017). There has never been a Scottish winner before and we would love to be the first.

By the way, we know Paisley is a town, not a city, but that’s ok – the competition is open to large towns and urban areas. So as Scotland’s largest town, we are well equipped to apply...and win!

Paisley - the story so far

There have been some outstanding moments since we announced that Paisley was bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 back in November 2015. Paisley 2021’s takeover at Holyrood, Paolo Nutini backing the bid, Morgan Spence’s LEGO film to name a few. We have captured all these and more in our Paisley 2021 – the story so far.