Entertainment & Arts

Great Exhibition of the North shortlist announced

(clockwise from top left) Blackpool, Bradford, Newcastle-Gateshead, Sheffield Image copyright BBC/Steve Partridge/Geograph
Image caption The four shortlisted bidders will find out if they have won in the autumn

Four towns and cities have been named on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) shortlist to host the Great Exhibition of the North.

Blackpool, Bradford, Newcastle-Gateshead and Sheffield will vie to host the two-month exhibition in 2018.

A DCMS spokeswoman said the event, which will receive £20m in funding, would showcase the "creative, cultural and design sectors of the North".

The winning bid will be announced in the autumn.

Five further towns - Halifax, Harrogate, Scunthorpe, St. Helens and Whitehaven - submitted "strong" bids to the DCMS but were unsuccessful, the spokeswoman said.

'Important legacy'

She added that the department would work with those locations to "ensure as many people enjoy and benefit from the exhibition as possible".

The winning bidder will receive £5m from central government, with a further £15m being contributed to a legacy fund to attract further cultural investment in the North.

Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock said the event would be "a unique opportunity to celebrate the creativity of northern England" and that he was "thrilled" to have received "so many innovative bids".

"Whichever is successful, this exhibition will leave an important legacy to benefit the whole country," he added.

The Great Exhibition of the North board will now examine the shortlist before a final selection is made by ministers later in the year.

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