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Swansea Thrilled to be Shortlisted for 2021 City of Culture

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The City of Culture title is regarded as one of most prestigious accreditations an area can boast, with current titleholders, Hull, frequently reporting the economic benefits the title has brought them. From a larger number of tourists to increased levels of investment, it is understandable why the cities of Wales are eager to put their names forward.

Swansea bay

It has been announced that Swansea has made the 2021 shortlist, thrilled to join Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland in the running.  With the results set to be announced in December, the Swansea team behind the bid say they have learnt their lessons from previous applications, having lost to Hull four years ago.

Film director Kevin Allen, who wrote Swansea-based Twin Town in 1997, said he was “thrilled” with the decision. 

“I'd be very surprised if we hadn't [made the shortlist] to be honest if you looked at what we were up against and what we've got to offer,” said Mr Allen, who is part of the bid team.

“We got close to the last one with Hull. I think we only didn't get it last time because it was such a last-minute bid. This is going to be very thorough and the work starts now.

“We've got a lot of work to do. Regardless of whether we get it or not, in the end it will be worthwhile because it's kick-starting lots of great initiatives.”

If successful, Swansea would be given the chance to host a variety of high-profile events, including festivals, art and theatre performances. In addition, it would also have access to a £3m Heritage Lottery Grant.  

“The role that people play is really up to them,” Mr Allen added. “It's up to us to encourage and develop channels of communication – break down the barriers of perception and conception.

“The perception of culture to some people is scary and it's all about literature and the arts council and stuff like that but it's not. I say that openly.

“I farmed for eight years of my life. I learned about the culture of the field. I have respect for people who see art in everything.

“It's not about being snotty, it's not about being a snob, it's not about being highly intellectual.

“It's about being considerate with each other and communicating and developing ways of enriching our lives and making our communities better. It's all culture.”

Meanwhile, the team behind the unsuccessful St David's bid said they were “disappointed” not to have made the shortlist.