UK City of Culture 2021: Swansea 'disappointed' to lose bid

Media caption,
Stars had backed the Swansea city of culture bid

Swansea's "cultural conversation" will continue despite it missing out on being crowned UK City of Culture 2021, the team behind the bid has said.

Those behind the bid said they were disappointed but thanked supporters and said investment in the arts would continue for residents and visitors.

This includes the development of an indoor arena, set to open in 2020.

Tracey McNulty, head of cultural services at Swansea council who coordinated the bid submission, said: "Of course we're disappointed, we had a strong bid, with credible partnerships and ambitions, and we wanted recognition for that - who wouldn't?"

She added: "We are not throwing the baby out with the bathwater - there is no cliff edge - we return to our cultural plan and continue to build arts and creativity, community health and wellbeing, fun and play, into our regeneration strategies, planning policies and communities."

Swansea council leader Rob Stewart said just being shortlisted for the title meant the city had been showcased throughout the UK and beyond.

He added: "But the journey doesn't end here. We'll now be looking to continue to build on the great work, energy, good will and enthusiasm of the bid to strengthen our status as Wales's capital of culture in coming years."

Image caption,
People in Swansea were disappointed to hear the city had lost out to Coventry

Jane Simpson, director of publishing label Galerie Simpson who was also part of the Swansea 2021 team, said despite the loss, it was "still a city of culture", as evidenced by all those who supported the effort.

"Swansea has been talking culture for months and that conversation will continue. We keep on keeping on," she added.

Artist Marc Rees, who was also part of the 2021 team, said the bid process had created a unity and cultural conversation in the city, which he hoped would support the development of the arts scene in future.

Media caption,
Artist Marc Rees says activities planned as part of the bid should still go ahead

After the result was announced, many people took to Twitter to express their disappointment.

Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi tweeted: "Absolutely gutted... but congratulations #Coventry2021!"

Actor Tony Maudsley, who plays Kenneth in the ITV comedy Benidorm, wrote: "Swansea is possibly one of the friendliest cities I've ever been to.

"I nipped out to do a bit of shopping this afternoon and met some of the loveliest people ever. We'll keep a welcome in the hillside (and they certainly do)."

Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris tweeted: "Congratulations Coventry! A little sad that we missed out on the title but a well deserved win for team Coventry."

The culture title is awarded every four years and Coventry will be hoping to emulate the success of Hull, which is UK City of Culture this year. The title is estimated to have boosted Hull's economy by £60m.

Other places in the running for the 2021 title were Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland.

Image source, Swansea Council

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