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Swansea bidding for UK City of Culture 2021

Swansea has entered the competition to become UK City of Culture 2021.

Swansea Beach

Swansea Council says a successful bid will provide a significant boost to the city's regeneration as it sets out a commitment to not only deliver a 12-month festival of world class arts and cultural activity, but also to create long-lasting benefits for residents, the economy and visitors to the city.

After reaching the shortlist for the 2017 title, the council believes it has the right partners and plans in place now and for the future to make an even stronger case for why Swansea should be the UK City of Culture in 2021.

It also says an outstanding programme, which can attract visitors from far and wide, will be critical to its success. This is why the council is currently considering the best way to develop the programme through a 'Team Swansea' approach involving the city's universities and ABMU, as well as a number of local businesses and cultural, media and sporting organisations.

Social media and websites will be coming soon to provide people with more information and encourage everyone to get behind Swansea 2021 and back the bid.

Creativity and digital innovation are at the heart of major plans to regenerate Swansea city centre in the near future, which support the rationale for the 2021 bid.

Plans for the city centre include a digital square, offering unparalleled access to information and research, as well as a new indoor arena with state-of-the-art digital capability. Other proposals include a digital district on Kingsway where creative industries will benefit from cutting-edge digital infrastructure.

A 'box village' is also planned for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David's innovation campus in SA1 to provide incubation space and co-working areas for start-ups and small businesses.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: "City of Culture status puts cities on the map, brings communities together to celebrate their heritage and diversity and leads to many millions of pounds being spent in local businesses through tourism and day visits. The status also attracts new investment to the successful cities as their reputation grows.

"Winning this title would give local people access to world class cultural activities on their doorsteps, including comedy, dance, film, opera, art, theatre performances and poetry, while also building a legacy for generations to come. Our rights to a cultural and artistic life are key to our policies, so this status would demonstrate that Swansea is committed to these rights now and in future."

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: "With limited resources, the success of the team in 2013 in getting us to the shortlist for City of Culture 2017 in a very short time demonstrates the support that there is in Swansea for this title, so we're grateful for the energy and drive the team brought to the process.

"Evidence from Glasgow and Liverpool, who achieved the European Capital of Culture status in 1990 and in 2008, as well as from Derry and Hull, the UK's 2013 and 2017 cities of culture, illustrates why we're bidding again."

Both Carmarthenshire Council and Neath Port Talbot Council are also backing the bid.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire Council Leader, said: "If Swansea was to secure UK City of Culture status in 2021, it would boost Carmarthenshire too. Not only would the status attract more tourists to discover all we have to offer here, but it would also give Carmarthenshire people even more opportunities to enjoy top class cultural activities in the South West Wales area."

Cllr Ali Thomas, Neath Port Talbot Council Leader, said: "On behalf of Neath Port Talbot, I'd like to wish Swansea all the very best for a successful bid. The whole City Region is already renowned for its contribution to culture across the world, but this status would give local people a fantastic contemporary programme of events to enjoy while also leaving a long-lasting legacy for future generations."

The initial bid must be submitted by the end of April, after which the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and their independent assessors will draw up a shortlist. Final bids will then be submitted by the end of September, with a winner set to be announced in Hull in December 2017.

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