Since the 2021 City of Culture bid was announced, with Coventry crowned winner, there has been little mention of Stoke-on-Trent's hard-fought two-year campaign.
Now, we may not have won, but the City of Culture drive has given a major boost to The Potteries regarding art, music, planning, infrastructure, and exposure. And surely that can't be a bad thing?
Well, no, it's not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.
In fact, the City of Culture initiative gave Stoke-on-Trent's cultural offerings a national platform, with MPs singing its praises in Parliament. Not only this, but the bid helped increase the profile of local artists, writers, musicians and makers.
As a result of the publicity and a host of positive investments, the city and its surrounding places have gone from strength to strength in the past two years, prompting progress in a multitude of areas while attracting fresh waves of visitors to the city.
Not only this, but it has given Stoke-on-Trent the chance to prove that the pottery industry is still thriving, evolving to be more inventive and creative than ever before.
We're back on the map and we're here to stay. It's easy to get down in the mouth about the result, but as City Centre Partnership chairman Jonathan Bellamy explains (speaking to The Sentinel):
“Our UK City of Culture bid should not be taken in isolation but in context. The context of a city centre which is already attracting new national restaurant brands and businesses, unique local independent shops and cafes, a Hilton hotel, and an increasingly creative Appetite arts programme on its streets."
So, there you have it: our City of Culture 2021 bid was well worth pursuing, and it has already sparked its fair share of tangible benefits - so, if you are a little deflated by the result - cheer up duck, this is only the beginning.
For more on Stoke-on-Trent's continued improvements, read this piece on the big things planned for Hanley's cultural quarter.