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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 19:38 GMT 20:38 UK
Capital claims - European hopes
City Hall
Cardiff would be a focus of cultural attention for a year if it wins
In the second of a four-part series, BBC News Online asks what impact Cardiff winning the Capital of Culture race would have on the rest of Wales.

If Cardiff does secure the title, the city would enjoy a year in the cultural spotlight, attracting visitors from around the world.

The annual accolade was created in 1985 as a way of bringing European citizens closer together, and a victory would significantly boost Cardiff's profile.

It would not be the first time that Europe has been involved in the city - the European Union recently supported the Cardiff Bay regeneration, allowing the barrage to go through despite environmental concerns and providing around 7m funding towards it.

And the Wales Millennium Centre is also partly funded by the European Commission.

But what would be the wider implications for the nation?

Anything that enhances the prestige and influence and recognition for Cardiff is a recognition for Wales
John Davies, historian

A report from Cardiff Business School has estimated that being named Capital of Culture could bring up to 3,500 new jobs for the city, along with 660m new income.

It also predicts 320m investment for the rest of Wales - and organisers stressed that, although the festival would be Cardiff-based, its effects would be felt nationwide.

Events arranged already include joint projects with Clwyd Theatr Cymru and the Shakespeare Schools Drama Festival, as well as a scheme to build a sculpture trail on the A470 - the road which links north and south Wales.

Fast progress

Historian John Davies felt that a successful campaign would benefit the entire country.

"I think when Cardiff does have an accolade, such as if it does win the Capital of Culture, that will be a victory, or a kudos, for Wales as a whole," he said.

"Anything that enhances the prestige and influence and recognition for Cardiff is a recognition for Wales," he added.

Dr Davies said that Cardiff's cultural past did not match up to the other contenders for the Capital of Culture title, such as Bristol or Oxford.

Cardiff Bay roundabout sculpture (picture courtesy of freefoto.com)
Cardiff's cultural aspirations are evident across the city

But he argued that the creation of institutions like the National Museum, St David's Hall, the Cardiff Singer of the Year competition, the Millennium Centre and the Millennium Stadium showed dramatic progress.

"Although starting from less promising beginnings, the progress Cardiff has made over the last 50 years outpaces the progress that other perhaps originally more favoured places have made," he said.

Author Peter Finch, who wrote Real Cardiff, also supports the bid, and said the city's willingness to deal with Europe was one of its strengths.

"It has the backing of the Welsh cultural aspirations to Europe," he said.

He added it would be a popular place for visitors.

"Cardiff's population is small compared to other capitals - it is compact and you can mentally grasp it and it is a clean, open and bright city," he said.




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