MP Geraint Davies urges everyone to get behind Swansea Bay's bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2017
CREATIVITY and excellence in the arts and business will be at the heart of Swansea Bay's bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2017, according to a local MP.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Geraint Davies said there was " enormous cultural momentum" in the region which would carry on through the battle to win the prestigious title.
Swansea Bay — which includes Carmarthenshire, Neath and Port Talbot — is up against Dundee, Hull and Leicester in the race for the crown.
The Swansea West MP said: "People will know Swansea Bay from people such as Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, Russell T Davies, who wrote Dr Who, the people from Gavin and Stacey — the list goes on.
"Of course, Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea 100 years ago next year, so there will be a great celebration there then. I spoke with the Minister about the need to amplify that globally. We will have a reception to which ambassadors will be invited.
"We hope that Swansea Bay city will be open for business now and into the future to celebrate literature, music and dance. There is enormous cultural momentum in Swansea.
"People will be aware of the beautiful sands of the Gower beaches and of its sporting excellence — Swansea City are now in the Premier League, which means that billions of people will now know about Swansea.
"To that known name, we are attaching these cultural brand values.
"We also have thriving universities at the cutting edge of various technologies. People have mentioned 3D printing, but there is also Tata Steel, which is working with multi-layered steel that insulates new buildings in a way that creates heat. On top of that, we have an enormous amount of tourism.
"Swansea Bay is a hub of cultural activity. The second university, the Met, is at the forefront of 3D animation, computer graphics, glass staining and so on."
Eleven cities initially entered the UK wide cultural competition, with the four finalists being named last week.
Swansea Council is now working on a detailed bid to be submitted to the judging panel, which will announce the winner in November.
Among the ideas already being pencilled in for 2017 are a festival for unsigned musicians, a high-tech history laboratory on the historic Hafod Copperworks site, and a children's pageant of drama, song, dance and design.
It's also being proposed that the British and Irish Lions rugby squad for the 2017 tour to New Zealand be announced in Swansea Bay as part of the year of celebrations.