Southampton welcomes City of Culture Expert Panel to the city


14 May, 2022

Led by Panel Chair Sir Phil Redmond, the judges began their day at the iconic 13th-century monument Gods House Tower art gallery before embarking on a tour of the city by boat, car, bus and on foot. At Weston Shore they were greeted by hundreds of school children lined up along the beach.

James Wiltshire, head teacher at Weston Park Primary School, said: “The vision for the City of Culture matches our own vision of creating opportunities and chances for children. The children had a great day and loved going to the beach and welcoming the judges.”

Later the panel met local community groups, creatives, artists and businesses as they visited St Mary’s, The Saints pub in Millbrook and the Culture Quarter.

Lunch was prepared at City College by Southampton’s MasterChef winner and SO25 UK City of Culture chair Shelina Permalloo and reflected the city’s diverse cultural influences and communities and celebrate the flavours of the city. Shelina was helped by the students who received a standing ovation for their hard work.

Lunch was a real community effort. The judges were entertained by local poets, musicians and dancers and the embroidered table runners for the lunch were specially created by the city’s Women Integration Group.

As the judges left the city in the late afternoon, Bid Director Claire Whitaker, OBE, said: “We’ve had the most fantastic day. I think our friends and partners across the city and beyond into the wider region have done us proud. We couldn’t have done anymore. If we are chosen to be the UK City of Culture for 2025, we stand ready to deliver. Southampton has the will, the support and commitment to make it happen.”