Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay (covering Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath and Port Talbot) have made the shortlist to be named UK City of Culture 2017.
The announcement today by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey follows a meeting of the independent advisory panel chaired by TV screenwriter and producer Phil Redmond during which eleven bids were considered (see our previous story).
Ed Vaizey said: "I want to congratulate the four shortlisted cities who have made it this far, and indeed all eleven cities who put time and great effort into submitting bids. The events in Derry-Londonderry over recent weeks highlight just how much of an impact being ‘City of Culture' can have. It brings together communities, encourages economic growth, and inspires social change and the shortlisted cities should be very proud of the bids they have put together so far."
The four shortlisted cities will now be invited to submit a final bid by the end of September. The panel will then meet again to decide a winner which will be announced in November.
The City of Culture initiative was established by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the back of Liverpool's success as European Capital of Culture in 2008.
Phil Redmond, Chair of the independent advisory panel added: "It was incredibly difficult to decide on a shortlist as all the bids recognised the power of culture to bring about social change and offered innovative and interesting programmes. In the end the panel thought the four short listed cities offered plans that were ambitious, realistic and would not only deliver for their communities, but would also maintain the momentum created around the success of Derry-Londonderry.
"I want to thank all eleven cities for the time and commitment they have put in to their bids and look forward to hearing more from Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay later on in the year."