Swansea absolutely ‘thrilled’ by making 2021 UK City of Culture shortlist

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The group behind Swansea’s proposal to become the UK’s City of Culture for 2021 has said they have learnt lessons from missing out to Hull just four years ago.

The city has been shortlisted together with Coventry, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland, but a bid by St Davids in Pembrokeshire failed to get through.

The City of Culture for 2021 winner will be broadcast in December.
Film director Kevin Allen, who penned Swansea-based Twin Town in 1997, said he was “”thrilled””.

“”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,”” declared Mr Allen, who is a member of the bidding 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. Irrespective of whether we get it or not, in the end it will be worthwhile because it’s starting lots of great enterprises.””

It is the second time that Swansea has been nominated for the title, the city lost to Hull in the contest for the 2017 prize.

The team behind the 2021 bid had formerly said it hoped to host a series of events which play on the “”‘lovely, ugly’ Swansea that Dylan Thomas describes.””

The city now has until the end of September to put forward a final bid before the winner of the third City of Culture is awarded by the government of the UK.

If they win, the city, which is set for a £500m rejuvenation, would hold a succession of cultural events, including festivals, art and theatre recitals, following in the tracks of Derry/Londonderry and the 2017 title-holder Hull.

It would also give the city of Swansea 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.””

In the meantime, the line-up behind the unsuccessful bid by St Davids said that they were “”disappointed”” not to have quite reached the shortlist for the tight competition.


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