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Swansea picked to take part in European culture programme

Swansea is one of 11 cities across Europe that's been picked to take part in an innovative cultural exchange programme.

Map of Europe

The city is the only one in the UK set to participate in a pilot project to explore the role of culture in sustainable cities, that's been jointly devised by Culture Action Europe and the United Cities and Local Government's Committee on Culture.

This programme will enable better local and European understanding of the connection between culture and sustainable development in participating cities though collaboration between the public and private sectors. Pilot measures will be introduced in each participating city, which also include Galway in Ireland, Lisbon in Portugal and Maastricht in the Netherlands. 

Exchanges, evaluation and peer learning all form part of the programme, which will enable Swansea to follow in the footsteps of examples of best practice across the continent.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: "Our city is steeped in cultural heritage, so it's vital culture plays just as important a role in future, with projects like the city centre regeneration and university expansions meaning Swansea will soon undergo the biggest changes to its landscape in 60 years.

"Integrating culture in the conception and practice of development is important because it ensures the involvement of local people. Sustainable tourism, heritage-based tourism and cultural and creative industries are powerful drivers of the economy that generate green employment, stimulate local development, foster creativity and tackle poverty.

"Introducing pilot measures here and learning from examples of best practice across Europe will enable us to further embed culture and creativity at Swansea's heart in future."

Other cities taking part in the pilot project include Gabrovo in Bulgaria, Izmir in Turkey, Namur in Belgium, Pecs in Hungary, Terrassa in Spain, Timisoara in Romania and Lodz in Poland.

"We're also working with partners at a local level to create a new plan for culture, to ensure we have the vision, mechanisms and partnerships in place to embed meaningful outcomes from the pilot programme's themes, " said Cllr Francis-Davies. "These themes include cultural rights and participation, heritage, diversity and creativity, education, learning, employment and skills, economy and social inclusion, planning and high-quality public spaces, as well as infrastructure, information and knowledge."

Consultation and engagement events will be held throughout the autumn and winter, starting with a workshop for stakeholders following a presentation later this month. This will include a test on how well Swansea is doing against each theme so that priorities can be agreed, helping inform a works programme in future that could last up to 20 months. 

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