• Solent University, East Park Terrace, Southampton, SO14 0YN
  • Arts and Culture

We have ambitious plans to put Southampton on the map, working across culture, festivals, events and tourism.

We want to help foster social, cultural and economic benefits for the city and showcase Southampton as a great place to live, work, visit and play. To do this, we are engaging with communities and working alongside a wide range of partners on programmes that will share Southampton’s stories, showcase the city’s culture, and preserve its heritage.

We want to ensure that our work reflects the needs and aspirations of the city’s diverse communities and we understand that lasting change can only be achieved through collective effort. Co-creation is a guiding principle for our programme, and sustainability, equality, diversity and inclusion are key threads that run through everything we do.

We are excited to be working with our founding partners; Southampton City Council, University of Southampton, Solent University, GO! Southampton, Paris Smith and Mayflower Theatre, who have been key to establishing Southampton Forward.


Southampton Culture Trust led the 2025 UK City of Culture bid and after an extraordinary few years, Southampton was one of 4 short-listed cities whittled down from 20 initial bids. We take immense pride in being the first ever finalist from the south coast.

Throughout the bid, Southampton came together like never before and we undertook the biggest community consultation ever held in the city. We wanted to sustain the momentum and translate some of our plans into reality. With the support of a Place Partnership grant from Arts Council England and the commitment from city-wide partners, we were able to plan for the next 3 years and beyond.

We have now emerged as Southampton Forward, to put culture at the heart of the city’s growth. We want to share the stories of our diverse communities and put Southampton on the map.