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Swansea Bay - covering Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath and Port Talbot - has been announced as one of four cities on the shortlist to become UK City of Culture 2017.
The other three cities are Dundee, Hull and Leicester. All four will be expected to submit a final bid by the end of September, with a winner announced in November.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey says cities will benefit from taking part in the bidding to become 2017 Capital of Culture.
"It tends to bring together cultural organisations together with the city council, together with local communities"
"I would certainly say the winning bid shouldn't be one that's a top-down bid written in the city council office. It should be one that engages the whole of the local population".
Swansea is one of 11 cities to put its name forward to become the UK City of Culture in 2017.
Swansea Bay - covering Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath and Port Talbot - will have until 30th April to submit a bid.