City of Culture: Multi-million pound plans for Welsh bids

Oystermouth, Mumbles, Swansea Image copyright Getty Images

Two Welsh cities hoping to become the UK City of Culture are planning multi-million pound programme if they win.

St Davids in Pembrokeshire and Swansea both hope to inherit the title from Hull in 2021.

The Swansea bid team said it wanted to match the £33m spent by Hull, while St Davids has a £20m programme in place.

City of Culture is awarded by the UK government every four years - providing the winner with an opportunity to raise its profile and draw investment.

In Hull's case, the council put in about £3.5m with the rest coming from local and central government, the Arts Council, Lottery funding and businesses in the city.

The winning city also gets to host high-profile national events such as the Turner Prize for contemporary art and Radio 1's Big Weekend.

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Image caption St Davids city centre

The Department of Culture Media and Sport is considering 11 bids for 2021 and the shortlist of four is due to be announced in July.

An independent panel, chaired by Brookside creator Phil Redmond, will then assess the final bids before a winner is chosen at the end of the year.

St Davids' bid is being led by Pembrokeshire council.

Chief executive Tegryn Jones told the Eye on Wales programme: "I think we've got a number of themes. The background of pilgrimage is very strong amongst those. Another obvious aspect is the coastline and the natural environment.

"There are fantastic opportunities to put art in the landscape. One of the ideas is to have a cycling cinema, where people turn up on their bikes and power the film by using their bicycles."

Swansea made the final shortlist before losing out to Hull in the 2017 competition.

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Image caption Swansea's Guildhall

The council's head of cultural services, Tracey McNulty, said: "We have a bit of a history of people who took risks and lead to world-first innovation. Also we have this stunning landscape but we've also got areas which are facing deprivation.

"We're really playing with that 'lovely, ugly' Swansea that Dylan Thomas describes."

Hull estimates being UK Capital of Culture helped unlock £3bn of capital investment in the city.

The £33m was spent on such things as education, volunteering and legacy as well as a 365-day programme of events.

Martin Green, director of Hull City of Culture 2017, said: "One of the things that we've clearly seen in this city is that pride has hit the roof.

"Proud cities are confident cities. And confident cities can do anything they like."

  • Eye on Wales, BBC Radio Wales, 12:30 BST, Sunday

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