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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

As a civic university located in the heart of the city, we’re delighted to be backing Southampton’s cultural renaissance. 

In March 2022, the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced Southampton alongside Bradford, Durham and Wrexham as being shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2025, a proud moment for the city and region. While it was a disappointing outcome for Southampton we send our congratulations to Bradford for winning this title and wish them the best of luck on their City of Culture 2025 journey.

“I want to personally thank the people of Southampton, our friends and neighbours and our myriad of local, regional, national and international partners who have given their unwavering support. We are naturally very disappointed but know that we gave the process everything we could have and that the bid has brought us together like never before. I would like to thank Southampton City Council, Solent University and the University of Southampton for continuing to support the Southampton 2025 Trust and ensuring that culture remains at the centre of our city and wider region.”
Claire Whitaker OBE, Southampton Bid Director

Even though this news is disappointing, we look forward to continuing to work with our partners and the local community in promoting Southampton’s cultural heritage. 

On this page you can discover more about:

Created by Solent’s very own Asten Holmes-Elliott, discover what City of Culture means to the people of Southampton.

Watch the Southampton UK City of Culture launch film

Supporting Southampton’s cultural renaissance

Solent joined Southampton City Council and the University of Southampton in being city partners of the bid. As well as shaping the direction of the bid we were also actively getting involved at a grassroots level, providing support to the city’s bid team and our wider communities, including:

  • Hosted the UK City of Culture 2025 bid team at our East Park Terrace campus. 
  • Identified City Ambassadors from our community of Honorary Doctorates and alumni.
  • Provided strategic insight and governance to the bid with our Deputy Vice-Chancellor, being a trustee of the Southampton 2025 Trust. 
  • Seconding two colleagues from our Department of Art and Music to support with local community engagement. 

Benefits to our communities

The UK City of Culture bid process and title provides many benefits to our communities. Here are just some of the reasons we’re backing the bid:

  • Catalyst for inward investment for Southampton and the central south.
  • Drive civic pride in our communities.
  • Enhanced community infrastructure and networks.
  • Research and knowledge exchange opportunities for our academic and student communities.
  • Real-world live briefs and projects for our student community.

Our contribution to Southampton’s cultural scene

As an anchor institution with a rich heritage in arts and culture, we are at the heart of Southampton’s cultural scene. From mobilising our pool of creative talent through volunteering and knowledge exchange, to hosting key civic events on campus, we play a leading role in driving Southampton’s cultural renaissance.

Here are just some of the ways we contribute to Southampton’s cultural scene and how you can get involved.   

Showcasing creativity through exhibits and events

Professor Peter Lloyd, Kate Maple and Don John with one of the benches created for the Bench project

Solent Showcase Gallery team are always out and about making a difference in the community, working with up-and-coming national and international artists.

Discover more about their work

We host a variety of public engagement events and exhibits on campus, including our end of year degree shows which you can take a look back at here.

Our partnership with Winchester School of Art also sees our students exhibit their final year work at the Alfred Arcade, a former shopping centre in Old Northam Road. Take a look back at previous exhibits.

Celebrating sporting talent

From basketball to sailing, we’re home to over 30 different sports teams, many of which perform in national leagues representing Solent and Southampton across the UK.

Discover more about our sports teams

Our Team Solent Kestrels is recognised as one of the leading community basketball clubs in the UK. With home games played within our Solent Sports Complex there’s plenty of opportunities for the local community to come onsite and support their local team. Check out the team's recent successes and upcoming matches on the Solent Kestrels website.

Team Solent Kestrels in action. Image credit Luke Simcock

Taking centre stage

Solent’s long been at the heart of Southampton’s performance and music scene, organising festivals and providing the springboard for some of the UK’s top talent in music and performance. Alongside those performing, many of our alumni have gone on to work within the sector, working behind the scenes on audio, technology and visual effects.

Our academic and student community were the driving force behind SmileFest, which has now evolved to a city-wide celebration of music.

Solent's Students' Union is also home to the Live Events Society, who support a number of live events and performances across Southampton. Our Solent Productions team also provide live broadcast of events including Southampton Pride and the ABP Southampton Marathon.

Supporting small business and enterprise

As a member of GO! Southampton we’re working with partners to help regenerate our retail districts. Our RE:SO store, the UK’s only student managed retail outlet, sells a range of merchandise designed by Solent students and staff. Located within the Marlands on Above Bar Street, you can check out RE:SO’s latest ranges, opening hours before heading out.

Re:So storefront

Our Solent Business School also plays a key role in supporting local enterprise and offers a range of programmes to support future leaders at every step of their career.

Research and knowledge exchange

Our academic community has extensive experience of undertaking research projects that explore the challenges faced by our cultural communities.

Discover more about our Culture, Media, Place Group

Working in partnership

Working in partnership is at the core of who we are at Solent and we are proud to be the official partner of several flagship events within the city including the ABP Southampton Marathon and Southampton Pride.  

City ambassadors connected to Solent

Many of our alumni community have gone on to build successful working lives within the cultural sector, both here in Southampton and across the globe. From setting up their own freelance business to helping shape industry, our alumni regularly give back to the University, helping to inspire our current students.

Our Honorary Doctorates also play a key role in supporting the University and student community. Over the year’s we’ve recognised the talents and contribution of leading professionals within their fields and regularly welcome them back on campus to provide guest talks. We’re delighted that the following Honorary Doctorates were ambassadors of the bid.

Craig David, Honorary Doctor of Music

Jenny Packham, Honorary Doctor of Design and Solent alumna

Lawrie McMenemy, Honorary Doctor of Sport

How to get involved

If you would like to discover more about working with Solent University, please  email us.

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