Following a record 20 bids, the eight longlisted locations are Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, Stirling and Wrexham County Borough.
For the first time this year each longlisted place will receive £40,000 to support the development of their proposals.
All bids were asked to explain how they would use culture to grow and strengthen their local area, as well as how they would use culture to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The winner will be announced in spring 2022 and will follow Coventry’s tenure as UK City of Culture 2021.
Dorries will also be hosting a roundtable with all unsuccessful bidders to discuss how best they can be supported.
The places will now work with a panel of experts and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to finalise their bids before the shortlist is announced early next year.
The competition is delivered by DCMS in collaboration with the Offices for Scotland and Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive. The longlist was recommended by an independent advisory panel that brings together a range of expertise from across the UK.
Dorries said, “Winning the UK City of Culture competition has a hugely positive impact on an area, driving investment, creating jobs, and highlighting that culture is for everyone, regardless of their background.
“This year’s focus is on levelling up access to culture across the country and making sure there is a legacy that continues for generations to come. I look forward to seeing what this brilliant longlist has in store as they continue in the competition.”
The City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel chair Sir Phil Redmond said, “The Expressions of Interest stage was introduced as an opportunity to encourage many more places to experience the benefit of coming together to define and share a cultural vision for their areas, and what the longlist demonstrates is the range and depth of cultural ambition across the whole of the UK.
“Also for the first time, each longlisted city will receive financial support to help them develop their vision. Each is different. Each has its own story to tell. All share a common aim: to demonstrate how culture can act as the creative catalyst for change. I am really looking forward to seeing how each story develops.”