Great Exhibition of the North shortlist

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Blackpool, England, UK --- Blackpool Tower and beach at low tide --- Image by © Pawel Libera/Corbis

TRAVEL GAZETTE – Four towns and cities on Friday were shortlisted to host the Great Exhibition of the North.

The government-backed exhibition, which will run for at least two months in 2018, will showcase the great creative, cultural and design sectors across northern England, and boost investment and tourism in the region.

The seaside resort of Blackpool joined Newcastle-Gateshead as well as inland Yorkshire cities of Bradford and Sheffield on the shortlist announced by Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture.

The shortlist will now be assessed by the Great Exhibition board before a final selection is made by government ministers in autumn.

The British government is contributing more than 26 million dollars to the exhibition and a legacy fund to attract cultural investment in the North.

“The Great Exhibition of the North is a unique opportunity to celebrate the creativity of Northern England and I am thrilled we received so many innovative bids,” said Hancock.

“British arts and culture are among the finest in the world. I am determined we democratise the arts and celebrate the best in every part of our nation,” he added.

“This is an incredible opportunity to really showcase the creativity and culture we have in the north and I know whoever wins will thoroughly embrace that vision,” said Sir Gary Verity, chairman of the Great Exhibition of the North Board.

The exhibition is expected to focus on art, including visual arts, theater, dance, music, circus, and literature as well as culture, heritage, museums and galleries. It will also showcase architecture, crafts and design.

The announcement comes after prime minister Theresa May said her new government was committed to the Northern Powerhouse project, aimed at tackling the so-called north-south divide.

The first Great Exhibition in Britain took place in 1851 at Crystal Palace, London, during the reign of Queen Victoria. It attracted more than 6 million visitors.

In 1951 a Festival of Britain organised by the government was held across the nation to give the British a feeling of recovery in the aftermath of World War II, promoting the British contribution to science, technology, industrial design, architecture and the arts.

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