Swansea Bay shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2017
SWANSEA BAY has been shortlisted in the race to become UK City of Culture 2017.
The region will now do battle with Leicester, Hull and Dundee in the home straight to land the coveted status after its bid was given the thumbs-up by an independent advisory panel.
Swansea Council is bidding for the status with support from Neath Port Talbot Council and Carmarthenshire Council.
A more comprehensive bid will now be submitted before the winner is announced towards the end of the year.
Cllr David Phillips, Swansea Council Leader, said: "The bid reflects our vision for Swansea Bay to become a hotbed of culture by focussing on the area's strengths, including our rich industrial heritage, thriving contemporary arts, award-winning scenery and world-class sports teams.
"We'll now work in close partnership with our neighbouring councils, as well as local arts and cultural organisations, to further strengthen the bid to ensure we have every chance of securing the title later this year.
"Landing this prestigious status would raise Swansea Bay's profile across the UK and lead to more jobs and investment."
If the shortlisted bid is successful, the programme for 2017 would include a festival for unsigned musicians, a high-tech history laboratory on the historic Hafod Copperworks site, and a children's pageant of drama, song, dance and design. It's also being proposed that the British Lions rugby squad for the 2017 tour to New Zealand be announced in Swansea Bay.
Cllr Nick Bradley, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: "Being shortlisted shows just how far have come as a cultural destination – it's a huge vote of confidence in our communities and ambition. The entire region can now embrace and back the bid because we've got so much to be proud of.
"Achieving this status would further put Swansea Bay on the map at a time when we're enjoying an already unprecedented profile."
Swansea Bay's bid has received the backing of stars including Michael Sheen and Russell T Davies. The Swans and the Ospreys have also thrown their weight behind the bid.
The City of Culture initiative is administered by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
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