TWO Southampton universities have pledged their support for Southampton bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.

University of Southampton and Solent University have today announced they are to support the UK City of Culture 2025 bid by signing up to become official partners.

A virtual signing to cement the partnerships took place today and both universities will work to make bidding to bring UK City of Culture 2025 to Southampton a part of their ambitions in the coming year.

President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Mark E. Smith said: “The University of Southampton is proud to pledge our support for the bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, we already support arts in the city through our concert hall and art gallery, our outreach programmes and of course hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

"As the lead organisation in the Southampton Cultural Education Partnership we are engaged in research into the city’s arts and cultural impact, this bid will allow us to further put our world leading research expertise to work for the benefit of the city."

Both of the universities have already played a part in the bid, with students from Solent University creating the Southampton 2025 launch video and University of Southampton leading on the research and evaluation of the consultation phase of the bid.

The universities will also use the efforts to win UK City of Culture 2025 as a way to engage students in the city’s heritage and as a catalyst for greater engagement with the people of Southampton.

The bid will help link the cultural aspirations of the city with two of the largest institutions who promote the city around the world.

The formal launch of the bid to win City of Culture status in 2025 was in early October.

Solent University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Stanton said: “As a civic university, Solent has strong links with the community, and our pool of creative talent is already helping to enrich resident and visitor experience.

"The UK City of Culture bid is an opportunity for us to come together, inspire wider learning in the community, and increase access to education, while promoting Southampton’s profile as the powerhouse of the central south region."