Ode to Stirling is centrepiece of city's culture bid submission celebrations

Published: 02 Feb 2022

A large light projection is displayed on one side of the National Wallace Monument in Stirling, showing the words Clapping Hands in white light

Projections on the National Wallace Monument took place on 2 February

Lines from a collective poem by the people of Stirling celebrating their home city were projected onto the National Wallace Monument on Tuesday 1 February.

The Monument came to life at dusk, with an immersive light show featuring spectacular moving imagery overlaid with verse created by the local community.

The digital showcase marked the official submission of Stirling’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025; with entries from the eight longlisted cities due to be submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on Wednesday 2 February.

Stirling is the only remaining Scottish city in the running for the prestigious title.

Kevin Harrison, Manager of Scene Stirling, which represents the city’s arts and cultural partners, said: “We’re marking this major milestone in our bid journey with a unique experience that celebrates the passion and creativity that can be found in abundance here in Stirling.

"Back in December we invited people to send in their twenty-five words for 2025 and the citizens of Stirling were quick to embrace this creative challenge. We received over one hundred entries from communities across the area, from Fallin to Thornhill.

“What has shone through is the huge pride and deep affection people feel for their home city, communities and the local landscape.

“Emotions are running high. We know what a massive difference winning would make to our communities, our creative sector and our economy. We want the world to see how special Stirling is and just how much this means to us.

“We’re ready to deliver real social change for all of Stirling with a cultural programme that makes the arts open to all and creates a meaningful legacy for the city, the rest of Scotland and beyond. We want Stirling to become internationally renowned for its arts inclusivity.”

Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer added: “Stirling’s bid stems from the passion for culture that flows through our communities, so it’s only fitting that we celebrate the creative spirit of our people in a memorable way as we reach this key stage in the competition.

“There was a fantastic response to this imaginative and collaborative project with people of all ages across Stirling channelling their inner creativity and putting into words what culture means to them.

“The final result is an inspiring and uplifting poem that illustrates the diversity and dynamism of Stirling’s current cultural scene and a desire and belief that we can do so much more.

“Our ambition is to harness this creativity, talent and energy as a catalyst to unleash Stirling’s full cultural potential so we can improve lives of people in our communities and indeed across the whole of Scotland.

“Projecting the thoughts and hopes of Stirling’s people onto one Scotland’s national treasures is a powerful, visible statement that Stirling is ready to seize this exciting opportunity for the whole nation.”

A group of four primary school-aged children are standing in a row holding signs in support of Stirling's bid for City of Culture. They're facing a camera operated by a man. Next to him is a woman in a brown coat standing off-camera, watching the children

Stirling school children showing their support for the bid

The poem will also feature on the cover of Stirling’s bid submission, putting local voices at the heart of the city’s campaign to bring UK City of Culture to Scotland for the first time.

Entries for the twenty-five words for 2025 poetry project were woven together by Stirling Makar Laura Fyfe, who commented: “It has been an honour to craft the entries into one collective poem that reflects the passions, hopes, dreams and desires of the people of Stirling.

“The project was an opportunity to create something special together and to focus on what we love about this amazing place where we live.

“Stirling’s rich heritage and stunning landscape feature strongly in the poem, but there is also a real sense of hopefulness and excitement about the next chapter in Stirling’s history.”

Stirling’s bid has attracted the backing of Scotland’s leading arts, tourism, heritage and business organisations, as well as over 240 businesses.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Becoming the UK City of Culture 2025 would be an outstanding achievement for Stirling and Scotland.

“Stirling is an impressive destination, bursting with history and culture as well as new events and experiences - with more developments on the horizon through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

“Winning the title will help create opportunities for tourism and events across the region and aid the industry’s recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At VisitScotland we fully support the bid, which shines a light on Stirling’s strengths and ambition as a destination of choice for both locals and visitors.”

Iain Munro, Creative Scotland Chief Executive said: “Culture and creativity are the lifeblood of our communities, supporting health and well-being, jobs and local economies and that’s why we are pleased to support Stirling’s bid for UK City of Culture 2025.

“Stirling’s ambitious bid demonstrates how culture supports a fair and equitable recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and helps communities to determine their own cultural lives. Creative Scotland’s Place Partnership in Stirling, SceneStirling, has supported cultural organisations in the city to come together and grow the local cultural sector and we are excited at the potential for further cultural growth, building on strong foundations. We would like to congratulate all involved in the bid, and wish Stirling good luck in the competition.”

Alison Turnbull, Director of External Relationships and Partnerships at Historic Environment Scotland said: “As a key player in the Stirling Culture and Tourism market, we’re delighted to Back the Bid for Stirling 2025.

“Stirling has long played a key role in Scotland’s story and it’s skyline is dominated by the world famous silhouette of Stirling Castle, however beneath that strong image of a castle which is many ways was built as a platform to host and celebrate culture, there’s a city that’s very much alive with art and culture and encouraging new talent – be that in the theatre, music or the visual arts, and we very much wish the team well on their bid to become the next City of Culture.”

Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Attaining City of Culture status would be a fantastic asset to the businesses and people of Stirling. Such status enhances a city’s reputation on an international scale and can attract investment and visitors from across the globe.

“We have seen from the past just how successful this can be from an economic perspective, where cities have seen significant boosts in jobs, investment and visitors due to the increased attractiveness of being a City of Culture.

“A successful bid would be a tremendous feat for Stirling, which would also see the rest of Scotland benefit were the bid to be successful. Therefore, we urge more businesses from across Scotland to get behind and support the bid.”

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will announce the cities shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2025 in March with the winner set to be declared in May 2022.

Back Stirling’s bid at Stirling2025.com and share your support with the hashtag #Stirling2025 on social media.

Media contacts

Lesley Wilkinson 07826522517 lesley.wilkinson@stirlingpr.com

Mark Henderson 07468 470007 media@stirling.gov.uk