Voices of Derby

Derby - Bidding to be City of Culture 2025

Welcome to Culture Derby's ‘Voices’. Here is a group of people who represent Derby and support our bid to become City of Culture 2025. The ‘Voices’ group has been created to ensure that the bid is shaped people from Derby, thereby ensuring our City of Culture ambition is relevant and meaningful to people and communities across the city.

I am a passionate supporter of Derby’s bid to be the City of Culture in 2025. The city has such a rich heritage that should be celebrated and this would only be enhanced by the potential investment and events that a successful bid would bring. I have no doubt that it would leave a positive legacy for our diverse communities across the city to come together and enjoy - not only in 2025 for many years to come.

Ryan Duckett, Derbyshire County Cricket Club

If Derby won the City of Culture in 2025 it would symbolise how numerous ethnic & cultural diversity groups make Derby a rich and colourful city. Our city embraces the traditions of art, dance, and music of many communities and, as a result, brings us all together to the community that is Derby.

The image is of Julian Surma, one of the Hoverla Ukrainian Dance Ensemble

Vlod Surma, Hoverla Ukrainian Dance Ensemble

All three sectors – business, public and voluntary as well as the residents of Derby, encompass a spirit of cohesion and general ‘can-do’ attitude and recognition as a City of Culture will only further elevate the city’s ability to encourage more investment into celebrating the contributions of people of all abilities and backgrounds.

Amo Raju CEO of Disability Direct & Entrepreneur

As an artist who’s immensely proud and invested in the development and wellbeing of my fellow artists in the city, I’m supporting the 2025 bid for City Of Culture. I believe that if successful, we will be able to amplify and shine a light on the great artists from many disciplines and diverse backgrounds that we have here. We aren’t a city that is currently rich in artistic support or infrastructure like the bigger cities. Every artist here has to graft 100% to get themselves recognition and opportunities. Many artists from other cities take their own opportunities for granted and are afforded a sense of entitlement. In Derby we aren’t afforded such attitudes. I believe that the organisations that exist need to continue to work together to develop the talent of the city, and a successful bid will only fuel, and help this cause.

Jamie Thrasivoulou, Poet

I'm supporting the bid as we have some fantastic artistic talent and great cultural things happening in Derby and Derbyshire that need to be known!

Lauren Nicole-Whitter, Theatre-maker

I would like to support the bid for Derby to be City of Culture 2025. This is such an wonderful opportunity for Derby and I applaud Adam’s continuous work and ambition for my home town. 

Molly Windsor, Actor

Derby should be celebrated because;
 
Firstly the Arts (all sectors) bring people together. Green spaces and Parks in Cities are so important. 
Arts and Green Spaces bring communities together. 
Art makes me happy, overwhelmingly happy. Which is great to share. Nature has always inspired me and my works. Derby has many beautiful parks but more work needs to continue to keep them clean, tidy, safe and accessible. The Arboretum is a hidden gem tucked away off a busy road in Normanton. Growing up in Normanton the streets were becoming more cluttered with rubbish and fly tipping. 
Id like to see the streets in Normanton, PearTree and Cavendish cleared up - maybe adding trees too. 
Creating more activities for the residents.
I live in Sinfin now and I would like to start here and get the community involved in activities. The local library would be a great place to start. 
Use Sinfin Nature Reserve as inspiration to get people together and create art. 
 
Let's make Derby 2025 City Of Culture - Together 

Bhabhinder Gill, Freelance Artist

We have immense pride in being rooted in the City of Derby; investing in it and our people as a city of the future.
The opportunity of a city of culture is the fusion of creativity, innovation and vision. For us, that’s reflecting Derby’s rich heritage by harnessing immersive digital technology to enable local communities and visitors to enjoy, protect and celebrate the city’s vibrant art and culture. Breaking down physical, geographical and social barriers, increasing access and showing the world what Derby has to offer.
We look forward to working with other creators, innovators and business to showcase the best talent, innovation and success within our city and to attracting skills, investment and people from outside the region.

Chris Hotham and Keith Cox, Founders of Bloc Digital

I am a passionate advocate for the City of Derby and know how important the role of Culture is in the lives of residents and visitors to our City. As Chair of Derby Book Festival and Chair of Derby Museums I have seen the transformational impact that exposure to culture can have in a community, increased aspiration, better education achievements, but perhaps primarily the joy that the arts can bring to our lives, they make us happier and offer proven benefits to our wellbeing, our physical and mental health. A City of great partnerships would be enhanced by the benefits that City of Culture status would bring. Our cultural assets would enable us to attract tourism, inward investment, new talent, the income being re-invested to support and enhance the culture offering for future generations.

Elizabeth Fothergill, Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire

Derby has become my home through sporting travel. I love how our community, with an eclectic mix of cultures, make it a vibrant city diverse in numerous cultural experiences.

Wayne Madsen, Player for Derbyshire County Cricket Club

I’m supporting the Bid as I believe strongly that if Derby wins it, it will bring so many tangible and intangible benefits to the City and all the people who call Derby their home. Derby is rich in heritage and culture and we should celebrate and embrace this as much as we can, and being City of Culture 2025 will provide the City with a fantastic platform to showcase this to the wider world!

Jimmy Drew, Commercial Manager, Derbyshire County Cricket Club

Derby is a dynamic and vibrant city that is undergoing massive city-centre regeneration and has many outstanding local cultural organisations. Becoming City of Culture 2025 would attract huge investment which would benefit the whole of the region, providing a big boost to morale. It gives Derby a unique opportunity to change the perception of the city for the better and to increase inclusion, equality.

Adam Tamsett, Derbion Shopping Centre

Derby is a city of innovation. From the works of Joseph Wright, the beginning of the industrial revolution, and the creation of gaming icon Lara Croft! The people of Derby know it's special place, but the Culture Bid will let the rest of the UK know as well.

Luke Earl, Writer & Narrative Designer

Having lived here my whole life, I have observed significant improvements regarding the diverse, grassroots development of the city's arts & culture. I have been a musician for nearly 20 years & am privileged to have been part of a strong community of singers, writers & performers who offer each other a wonderful support network. Not to mention QUAD, which has also provided a much-needed injection of diverse influences from around the world.

I think this campaign would potentially be a very positive step from Derby's heritage into a more proactive, cultural future. Derby has a historical reputation for industry & engineering. However, I also feel that Derby is a bit of a blank slate from a national perspective & see no reason why the thriving artistic community which already exists couldn't move the city forward into a new exciting, creative hub & gain the recognition it deserves. Plus, a successful bid would help reshape the image of Derby into something more progressive in cultural terms, simultaneously encouraging morale

Maria Machin, Musician

Derby is a innovative, creative, diverse city with culture at it’s heart. For years we’ve stood in the shadows of our towering East Midlands neighbours like Nottingham and Birmingham and I really believe that we have so much to offer and know that the City of Culture would be a huge benefit and boost to our city.

Natalie Bamford, Founder of Colleague Box

Derby has so much to offer culturally, we have so much talent, we are diverse city with so many young talented artists and City of Culture would allow a stage for these artists.

Baby J, Baby People

I was born and bred in Derby. It’s in my very veins. Salt of the earth and masters of the sky, the teeming creativity and talent of the people of this city have long given birth to unrivalled passion and innovation. And yet, we are not ‘showy’ people. We don’t shout from the rooftops. We just crack on. This means we have stayed hidden, a name on the map, a jewel driven past by those in search of shinier destinations.
No more.
It is time for us to SHOUT
We are the glorious cultures, peoples and potential of this place. WE. ARE. DERBY.

David Chabeaux, Film-maker, actor, musician

One of the first things I noticed about Derby when I moved to Derby 30 years ago, was the City seemed to lack confidence it’s a very different from the City I think we live in today.
Through education, industry, local government and the third-stream sectors working more collectively together and more harmoniously with a shared vision of Derby as a City of Innovation, home to many global companies as well as a thriving small business community. I think the City is now beginning to realise its full potential. I wholeheartedly support the bid for the City of Culture. The number of cultural and leisure activities have increased significantly. Whilst we are very close to the beautiful National Park. The number of parks and green spaces in Derby City are impressive and give the people of Derby the opportunity to enjoy leisure activities close to where they live. The people of Derby are very friendly and inclusive and this was always commented upon by students and their families during my time at the University of Derby making Derby a great place to work, live, socialise and very importantly Derby feels like a safe city.

Aileen Hammersley, Samaritans of Derby & District

As part of the creative team that made “The Ship,” a keynote production for Glasgow’s European City of Culture in 1990, the pre and post changes that impacted the city were immense and I believe still endure after over three decades. Whatever role I can offer for Derby’s bid will be driven by that legacy, alongside my confidence in our outreaching, inclusive ambition.

Dr. John Tams, Musician, Writer, Actor, Director

As a touring musician that's had the chance to play to large crowds all over Europe, I know that I couldn't have got where I am without a strong grass roots scene - my passion when I'm not performing is to do what I can to enable access for all to music. The City of Culture bid can increase awareness of how important that is for so many people which is why I'm right behind the bid.

Gez Addictive, Addictive Philosophy, Alpha Pro Creative

As an individual that has been born and raised in the local area, I am proud to be supporting Derby’s bid to become City of Culture 2025. I have come through the Derby County Academy to represent the first team and during that time I have seen first-hand that Derby is a City with many passionate and highly-skilled people. Everyone is proud of its history, but also very excited about its future too. Derby has a diverse cultural community and that is just one of the reasons that the City is so special to every single one of us. Becoming City of Culture 2025 really could take the potential of the entire city to a whole new level, and we want to be part of that special journey to elevate the standing of Derby even further.

Max Bird, Player at DCFC

I'm supporting Derby's bid for City of Culture because Derby believes that culture can change the world. The engines of Derby's cultural revolution - Derby Theatre, QUAD, Déda and others - all work tirelessly to lift up the communities they work with. If we were to win City of Culture, I'd be excited to see the myriad of marginalized voices that are given the power and autonomy to tell their stories, bringing the people of this city together.

Omar Khan, Independent Artist

The city of Derby has a rich history of partnerships and cohesion which will be enriched and future-proofed by celebrating our culture and diversity. I am passionate about the use of art and culture to promote well-being, safety and community cohesion. It is key any project has a legacy not just to preserve its message but keep it very much alive and growing. Participation is fundamental to this and brings a sense of belonging and encouragement of positive social interaction. I am wholeheartedly supporting Derby’s bid for ‘City of Culture'.

Rachel Morris, Relate Derby and Southern Derbyshire

I am supporting the bid as I believe Derby is a vibrant city for students in all their diversity to come and share their passions and interests while realising their potential through applied learning at a forward looking university. I’m passionate about training professionals for a range of practice settings across the Social and Community Studies disciplines and see first hand the incredible work taking place across a range of health and social care professions supporting such a diverse spectrum of people across the City. It is my belief that students are not just a transient, temporary population but key contributors and future leaders of the Derby or tomorrow.

Tim Rosier, University of Derby

The city of Derby has an abundance of amazing cultures, yet sometimes culture and talent go unnoticed because it’s not always celebrated. Most of the time it goes unseen because of the lack of programs promoting the great young people of the city which leads to a lack of progression on both ends.

As a young person from Derby, growing up there were no programs in place to support me or the upcoming talented youth. I found my passion within ‘Breakin’ a DanceSport that has recently been included in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. For Paris 2024, I am a leading candidate to represent Great Britain (Team GB). I have won many major world titles over the 15 years I have been participating in Breakin and I have had many incredible opportunities to work with huge brands and individuals. As of this year, I am the first male breaker worldwide to ever become a Nike Athlete.

If the ‘City of Culture’ does come to Derby, it opens the door for everybody to fulfil their potentials. People will have access to facilities and opportunities they need to make it as artists. It stops us as individuals from having to leave the city to excel and find culture and it brings people into us to celebrate it. Individuals from all over the globe, bringing light to the city and making it a place for us to be proud of!

Karam Singh, Breaking World Champion and Olympic 2024 hopeful

As a Theatre Company of Sanctuary, we have the privilege of working daily with some of the most vibrant and culturally rich communities in Derby City. In one session with our groups, we can easily be sharing stories, recipes or dance moves from Africa, the Middle East, Central America and Europe.

We feel so blessed that we have such a wonderful mix of friends from all over the world, with such riches to bring to the city, that are proud to call Derby their home. But these individuals can so easily feel lost and isolated, often struggling to find a place where they can fully belong without a community to support and empower them. We at Maison Foo are so excited that Derby is in the running to be City of Culture 2025. The opportunities it could bring to build that supportive community, would be life-changing and we believe landscape changing. Providing platforms for unheard voices to be heard and celebrated and for the true globally local identity of Derby to shine out and welcome all.

Bethany Sheldon, Artistic Director, Maison Foo

We wholeheartedly support Derby's City of Culture Bid. It would be transformational for the city and its people.

We arrived in Derby in the late 1990's to study Photography and Media at the University of Derby. Here is where we met fellow creative collaborators and established our business, Katapult that designs themed attractions and experiences. Derby remains our home and head office.

The city is quietly getting on making and creating, locally and globally. Collaborative working is at the heart of how we work and how the city works. We make things happen. Now is the time to show our colours, our ambition and showcase what Derby is. Rich in diversity, innovators, thinkers, designers, creators and makers.

Derby is ready to emerge as a city of culture..for the last 300 years, it's been in the making. Let our story be experienced.

Dawn Foote CEO, and Phil Higgins CCO, Founders of Katapult

I'm supporting the bid as I believe we need to do more to showcase the brilliant artistic talent that we have in our city.

Sophie Sparham, Poet

Derby Cathedral wholeheartedly supports Derby’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. The application brings so many opportunities to our city and the importance of culture and togetherness in our lives.
As one of the city’s key civic institutions and a venue for arts and culture events, the Cathedral is delighted to be a part of this exciting movement.

Very Revd Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, Derby Cathedral

Derby’s bid to be named City of Culture 2025 is a unique opportunity for everyone to come together to celebrate and showcase just what makes Derby so special and unique.

As a business community in the city centre, we are of course looking forward to seeing the regeneration of Becketwell into a much-needed cultural venue which will have an incredibly positive impact on both the day and evening economies. As a company which has been based in Derby since 1858, Wathall’s is fully behind the bid – recognising the role that a rich cultural life in the city plays in everyone’s well-being at both high and low points in our lives.

Helen Wathall MBE, Owner of Wathall's and Board chair of St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District (BID)

Our little city is a hotbed of creativity at the grassroots level and Dubrek Studios has proudly supported musicians and artists for over 20 years now.

I fully support Derby’s bid for City of Culture 2025 believing it would help galvanise our communities, enhance the spirit of collaboration and bring a spotlight to some of the amazing talent Derby is home to.

Jay Dean, Owner of Dubrek Studios

On behalf of Derbyshire County Council, I enthusiastically support Derby’s City of Culture Bid.

Derby, as the county city, is intrinsically linked to the cultural heritage of the whole of Derbyshire, from the UNESCO Inscribed Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, extensive high end engineering and railway heritage, through to artists such as Joseph Wright that captured key figures at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

The City and County Council are strongly connected and work in partnership to ensure the very best for our residents, businesses and visitors. Together we share a vibrant creative community and rich cultural heritage. The City of Culture bid is the perfect opportunity for Derby and Derbyshire partners to work together to develop our unique story as a place of creativity, innovation and strong communities.

Councillor Barry Lewis Leader Derbyshire County Council

As Derby is so close to bigger cities like Nottingham people sometimes assume that bigger means better and Derby gets overlooked. People couldn't be more wrong, Derby is a little city with a big heart that is packed full of life. We're known for our innovation around technology and industrial progress but innovation is happening everywhere and Derby explores culture in so many different ways. As a local production company we're excited to be part of that diverse landscape as we play our part in making festive theatre accessible for all. We like to think outside the box and that's because we're in a city that encourages that mindset. Being awarded the City of Culture will be so valuable to Derby because it will show everyone that whilst we may have engineering in our roots we have culture in our heart! It's time people noticed Derby properly for the wonderful city that it is and for all in can be in the future.

Abbi Burns, Darley Dance

I love Derby; I was born here. As a touring musician, I see a lot of beautiful cities, but nothing quite beats Derby. The people are so welcoming and supportive of the local arts. Being part of the music scene, I have experienced support from other artists, as well as the surrounding community. It really makes everything worthwhile. We are very lucky when it comes to talent in Derby. You can go out any night of the week and you'd experience it. We have an abundance of poets, artists, actors, musicians, I could go on. Winning City of Culture would put Derby on the map and be recognised as the cultural heart of England.

Harriet McDonnell, Musician

I'm supporting the bid because Derby is a city with a constantly evolving culture. I'm an artist and creative strategist working in the city and everywhere I turn there is a bubbling up of ideas and a convergence of collaboration. We quietly excel at creating and it's time we inspired others as a City of Culture. 

Kelly Herrick, Artist

As a queer nuerodivergent live artist and live art curator working in the City of Derby I am supporting the Derby City of Culture bid. The investment could not only support the development of live art in Derby, but also could be pivotal for the lives of Queer, Deaf, Disabled and nuerodivergent individuals, by improving access to services and providing much needed opportunities in the Derby arts and cultural sectors.

Pierce Starre, Visual Artist

I am most passionate about bringing people together. I come from a fitness background and I have hosted multiple events in Derby city to support charitable and valuable causes. Most recently, the Visionary Summit at DCFC’s Pride Park stadium for Anti-Bullying week 2021 whereby I invited Sports and Music panellists to discuss their journey to inspire our community. I also presented the 2021 Derby Youth Awards after winning the “Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award” last year for choreographing a flash mob for Kidney Research UK. I enjoy being innovative with the events I create, and I hope to continue this through my work for the City of Culture!
 
I am supporting this bid to support young people with finding their creative outlets. In addition to this, supporting the elderly and senior citizens to keep active through classes that I teach such as Chair-Based exercise. I would also like to be a representative of South Asians to promote opportunities and encourage them that our voices can be heard. I believe we can achieve this from an ambitious group of collectives that our city certainly has!

Sonam Sandhu, Freelance presenter/health coach

Having been born and bred in Derby drives with me with a constant desire to do all I can to see our amazing city thrive. I am very lucky that the City’s ability to embrace, nurture and deliver innovation is like no other and to see this recognised on a national stage is one of the most exciting projects happening today.

Dean Jackson, CEO and Founder of Sports Brand HUUB

I’m fiercely proud of my home city. The people, the vibe, the tradition, the authenticity. Derby doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is – a world-class city rooted in working-class families. For me ‘culture’ is in the hearts and heads of the people. It’s what we say, how we think, and what we do. That’s why I’d like to see wellbeing and happiness as central pillars of Derby’s bid for ‘City of Culture’. My vision is to help create an Outstandingly Happy City.

Dr Andy Cope, Author / Happiness Expert

I am a passionate supporter of our bid because culture is at the heart of a community, it amplifies and exemplifies a sense of place, value and pride, by so doing, it helps amplify aspiration and that is something I hold most dear; an aspirational future for our children and our communities.

Dr Richard Gerver, International Education Speaker

I enthusiastically support Derby’s bid for City of Culture 2025.
I have seen at first hand the transformative power of culture and creativity on a place and its people. Derby is in a perfect position to deliver a fantastic programme that can fully demonstrate our potential for transformation.

Keith Jeffrey, Independent Consultant, BreakThrough Coaching

I am happy to support Derby’s City of Culture bid. The opportunity to be shortlisted would provide send such a positive message to the citizens of Derby and beyond regarding the potential of the City to utilise and maximise all the opportunities that will follow in the next stage of the selection process. As Chair of QUAD, , I and the board of trustees, fully support the bid and wish Adam Buss and the team out best wishes.

Brian Martin Walsh OBE, Chair at Derby QUAD

In 2011 I had a plan to bring Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) to shoot part of a movie in Derby – I was told it was a crazy idea, I have to shoot in London or Manchester… Since filming with Mark in Derby I’ve made five movies in this beautiful city, I’ve doubled Derby for Hollywood, filmed Jean Claude Van Damme battling Aliens and blown up Vinnie Jones! Derby is a hub of passionate creativity, talent and ambition with a thriving film community of young people ready to take on Hollywood. We’re a remarkable city with a buzzing centre and breath-taking countryside just a five-minute drive away. We’re used to being underestimated, pushed aside and written off. But shine a light on us and we’ll show you something special!

Dominic Burns, Film Maker

Derby has a great deal to offer as a City of Culture. It has been a city of a great many firsts, especially the role it played in the birth of the industrial revolution, where the city, and the area, were the base of pioneering initiatives something that is recognised throughout the Derwent Valley. It also sits in an area of considerable natural beauty with much to see and to visit in the locality. Derby’s ability to combine that creativity with its industrial heritage would enable it to demonstrate something truly special as the 2025 City of Culture.

Margaret Beckett, MP

The City of Culture is a unique opportunity to pull together the remarkable and extensive range of artistic individuals, groups and organisations that call Derby home. The phenomenal array of grassroots activity sets the city apart from many others and gives it a potent and compelling voice for the kind of once in a lifetime moment this represents.

Matt McGuiness, Furthest From The Sea

We support our bid for Derby to become the city of culture 2025 because
We are a city of creativity.
We care about the city and each other.
We work in partnership collaboratively rather than in competition.
Young people in our city have a voice
We support those who need help.

Tracy Harrison, Safe and Sound Charity

Derby has a wealth of cultural offerings that should be shared and celebrated, becoming the city of culture would enable that. When I moved to Derby 12 years ago I knew nothing about how amazing it is to live, work and play in our great city. I have grown to love it and call it my home. This bid will enable Derby to shout about so much, its time the rest of the word knew how much Derby has to offer.

Bev Crighton, Senior Lecturer University of Derby and Employability Lead – Derby County Community Trust

I would like to support the bid for Derby City of Culture.
The people and artists of Derby have resilience, tenacity and vision. Despite being underfunded and under-recognised, we continue to make great art. Imagine what we could do with the right resources and recognition.
I support Derby City of culture.

Sam Beckett Jr, Purple Theatre

I'm Donna Landlady to Derby's only Pub Theatre, and proud Founder of EMBAA - East Midlands Black Arts Associated an independent Arts Company in residents there.
Excited about the prospect of Derby winning City of Culture because it will create the impact on the Arts and Innovation the community has needed since its move from being a town 48 years ago. We can then introduce further diversity as we actively include other Cultural Voices in the New Cities Cultural Identity.

Donna Briscoe Greene, EMBAA East Midlands Black Arts Associated

I am excited to spread the word and make sure that all of the talented creatives in the city are seen, supported and most importantly that they understand what this is all about and why it will be so amazing for every single one of us!

Erica Horne, CAD for Fashion

The City of Derby has a rich history and heritage. I believe it has so much more to share with the world.

The City of Culture Bid is the perfect opportunity to provide this platform. To allow for better engagement with all the Derbyshire public so that we can all work together and achieve the common goal.

Derby - City of Culture 2025.

Kalwinder Singh Dhindsa, Freelance Writer

Our organisation, Surtal Arts, was born in one of the most ethnically diverse but economically deprived areas of Derby, Normanton. We’ve grown into a highly successful contemporary arts organisation working in the mainstream and nationwide, but we’re proud to remain true to the South Asian community we represent.

I'm an artist myself, and as Chair of Surtal Arts, I’m intensely passionate about nurturing young, homegrown (often hidden) talent here in Derby. We give particular care to areas with high ethnic diversity and pioneer cross-collaborative working - our organisation has a brilliant track record in this area.

A successful City Of Culture bid will allow us to pursue more artistic opportunities, and to reach more people in more communities. Together we can celebrate more of what makes Derby the amazing, diverse city that it is, and show it to the world.

Nisha Nath, Surtal Arts

The culture of Derby itself is like a coiled spring about to be triggered into something extraordinary. The new Museum of Making displays hundreds of years of technical development, and is designed to engage visitors in related activities. The Museum and Art Gallery house the world’s largest collection of paintings by Joseph Wright, ‘Painter of Light’, connecting us visually not only with key figures of the Midlands Enlightenment but with the way science and industry developed in the early Industrial Revolution.

In short, the history of Derby and its current level of activity gives a very strong platform on which to launch its new stage of cultural development, which is currently planned to add an enhanced theatre with diverse auditoria and a new concert venue, where its local orchestra can take up residence, in addition to the leading facilities it already enjoys in cinema and in dance. The award of the title of City of Culture in 2025, would certainly help to ensure that these developments take place and ensure that the cultural life of Derby is what one would expect in a place with world-class industries.

Professor Jonathan Powers, Professor, historian and writer

We support the Derby City of Culture Bid 2025 and are delighted to work with you and the team and contribute to this. We are excited to help our region secure this wonderfully creative, once in a lifetime opportunity for Derby, the people of Derbyshire and beyond.
LEVEL Centre is a contemporary arts centre that opened in 2008. We create “the art that difference makes”. We create work for, by and with learning disabled adults, disabled creatives and the wider community.

Kerry Andrews, Executive Director at LEVEL Centre

I’m tremendously proud to support Derby’s bid and the wonderful opportunity for people from far and wide to see what makes our city so great. Derby is such a dynamic city with a past, present and future driven by remarkable creativity and innovation.

We are very fortunate to have so many talented people in Derby that carry on that proud tradition, creating a rich, diverse and vibrant culture at our city’s heart. Being named UK City of Culture 2025 would be a fantastic way for us to showcase all that Derby has to offer and for our city’s imagination and ingenuity to once again inspire.

Amanda Solloway MP, Member for Derby North

The city of Derby has an incredible underbelly of amazing talent, much of which is still untapped and it’s my belief that being awarded the City of Culture for 2025 would enable more of our amazing talent to be recognised. Through my podcast, Talk Derby to Me, we have endeavoured over the past three years to recognise the amazing work people are doing in the city - from brilliant gigs from top artists at the Venue, plays and performances at Derby Theatre, incredible sportspeople competing across all sports - Derby has always traditionally been an underdog and a little brother to neighbouring Midlands cities. I think we quite like being the underdog, but let’s get our great city and its people the recognition we deserve!

Blake Fallows, Broadcaster, Talk Derby to Me

Derby is a small city with big ambitions.

Fuelled by talented and creative minds, Derby is a city that is destined and eager to be more. The fact that it’s not one of the bigger cities means that there’s an unquestionable sense of community and togetherness; connecting those who want to see continual positive change.

The City of Culture bid is so important in amplifying and showcasing the qualities that Derby already has, helping and supporting the people of Derby to maximise the plethora of talents they hold, and in turn, encouraging the city to realise its full potential.

Shaun Barker, Footballer

I am proud to get to spread Creative Musical Magic across the city of Derby. Derby is home to masses of talent and creativity. As a musical director, singer and artist for the UK’s first Hip Hop School ‘Baby People’ I know the uniqueness, potential and specialities our city has to offer.

Zee Mehdizadeh, Singer/Songwriter/Vocal Coach/Creative Director

Derby has a rich and vibrant history with Dance music, something I’ve been very lucky to be a part of. Derby's Dance music scene means a lot to people of all ages.

I’m excited to support the bid so Derby can truly showcase what it has to offer

Corey Bell, DJ

Derby is the place I proudly get to call my home.

It is a mightily strong identity. The birthplace of a revolution responsible for catapulting the modern world into a brand new age of innovation.

A Derbeian wears a pride that is uniquely enriched. Our one-football-club-city mentality unites us all. Our advances in engineering are world renowned. Our contribution to aerospace achievements during wartime were groundbreaking. Our outstanding natural beauty. And our often overlooked arts scene.

A more than worthy recipient of the City of Culture crown; we are the hosts of an incredibly vibrant live music scene every night and the world’s ale capital. Our numerous neighbouring villages and towns, each packed with charisma and charm, are home to some of the country's finest exports - Mr John Smedley would’ve told you that.

Ultimately in Derby being proud is a given because of the history we inherit, and more importantly, the future we strive to build.

Ewe Rams!

Jack O'Connell, Hollywood Actor

My heart is in Derby, always has been and always will be. I am Derby born and bred and I love our city. I feel lucky and privileged to live and work here. Having been involved in the arts and culture within the city throughout my life I can confidently say that I am proud of what we achieved, but we have so much more to offer. I have been in the fortunate position to work within and lead many collaborative projects in the city where business, education, statutory services and the voluntary sector have come together to co-produce and create exciting project outcomes. This is because we have a wealth of creative individuals in the city with the desire to grow and develop it further. We as a city have so much potential to become a shining beacon for culture.
I’m backing our bid for city of culture 2025 for exactly this reason. Being the city of culture will be the catalyst to allow our very diverse communities to come together to celebrate our cultural heritage and devise new and exciting collaborative works and project to move us into the future with a real sense of pride in who we are.

Louise Curd – Director of Lifelong Learning YMCA Derbyshire

I was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and have lived and worked in 10 cities and 5 countries in my life.

I chose Derby to be the home of my business start-up not only because it’s just the right size, it’s well-situated minutes away from the gorgeous Peak District, and that it offered a good standard of living.

I chose Derby because of the people. People who are genuine and generous, people who wear their hearts on their sleeves, and are passionate about their city. People who are industrious and innovative, People who come together – people who don’t quit. People who are welcoming to those who are different from themselves, people who celebrate diversity and culture, people who are inclusive – people who have welcomed me.

Derby is a wonderful city packed with passion, culture, ambition, and potential. I’m proud to be a part of #TeamDerby and wholeheartedly support the bid of Derby to become City of Culture 2025!

Lesley So, Business Owner of So Good Kombucha