Conwy UK City of Culture bid kicks off on social media with promise to highlight Welsh language
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
A county’s bid to be the UK’s City of Culture has launched on social media after officially entering the race for the 2025 title with a promise to highlight the Welsh language.
Conwy county council announced it had submitted its expression of interest to the competition’s advisory panel on Tuesday.
A change in rules means that Conwy can compete despite having no cities – areas, cities or communities can now bid for the four-yearly honour, currently held by Coventry.
The authority’s leader Cllr Charlie McCoubrey said he wants to use the bid to make tourism and all-year-round business and highlight the Welsh language’s “huge repository of history and culture”.
He’s also claimed tourism needs “rebalancing” in the county with more respect for local areas and culture, plus better paid jobs.
The county already hosts more than 400 international, national and home-grown events each year and some major innovative digital performance projects planned, according to the bid team.
New social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been launched with the handle @Conwy2025 to celebrate the official start of the bidding process.
Cllr McCoubrey, who is fronting the bid, said: “Conwy 2025 will be the adventure of a lifetime. The county already has an unrivalled reputation for delivering world class events and being a world class destination.
“Conwy 2025 will create a spark within our communities which will lead to economic growth, wellbeing and connection.
“As we prepare to launch a new Culture Strategy for Conwy County, bidding for the prestigious status as UK City of Culture 2025 is a tremendous opportunity we are more than ready to deliver.
“Conwy 2025 will pioneer a community-driven approach. UK City of Culture is all about the residents, businesses and visitors of Conwy county.”
The bid is being backed financially by Penderyn Distillery, which recently launched a new production facility and visitor centre in Llandudno.
The “hub” of the application will be Conwy’s 13th-century castle and walls, a Unesco World Heritage site.
It’s understood the bid would use all the county’s historic and contemporary assets to try and sway the expert advisory panel, chaired by Sir Phil Redmond, which will be choosing the successful candidate.
The panel will be looking for applicants to “articulate a vision which uses culture to transform a place through social, cultural and economic regeneration, making it more attractive to live, work, visit and invest in”.
If Conwy is shortlisted judges will visit the county early next year on a fact-finding mission, with the winner announced in May 2022.
If successful the bid team is promising “a spectacular programme of events” to entertain visitors and locals.