Newport is a city with a proud cultural tradition and heritage.
We are the gateway to south Wales, with communities diverse and rich in culture, tradition and language.
We are also part of a wider region, formerly known as Gwent, where our past, present and future are inextricably linked. We share a social, cultural and economic history underpinned by our internationally recognised heritage.
The aim of our bid to become the UK City of Culture 2025 was to embrace the opportunity to highlight what our city and region has to offer and use it as a driver for change.
Despite not progressing past the expression of interest stage, the story for Newport is certainly not over.
The level of support received from partners and organisations large and small was overwhelming. It demonstrated just how passionate people are about our city and that by working together we can achieve even greater things.
The work already completed and the relationships that have been forged thanks to this process will be used as a springboard to further develop our cultural partnerships and wider offering in Newport.
From Roman and Norman settlements, an industrial heritage built on coal, iron and steel, a World Heritage Site, the advancement of democracy through the chartist and suffragette movements, to the birthplace of the NHS. Our unique geography and landscape, framed by our industrial and maritime heritage, has shaped our shared history and culture.
We want to celebrate all that we have to offer but also challenge and change people’s views to educate the world about our unique culture and our long history.
We want people to know about the fight for democratic rights here in Gwent. We want to tell the stories of people from around the world who have chosen Newport as their home throughout the centuries.
We will celebrate the estuary and levels, and the early people in whose footprints we follow and can still see preserved in the estuary mud today.
We want to promote and nurture our passion for music, art and homegrown talent – to hear poetry, performance and music emanating from our establishments large and small.
Theatre and art has a strong foothold in the city and region – professional presenting theatre, national dance, amateur theatre and companies with performance, education and community at their heart. But a new arts and culture subgroup will drive forward the offering and ensure better access and attractiveness for all.
Our sporting heritage and offering also plays a significant role for the city and region.
Newport International Sports Village houses the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales and has hosted Olympic and Paralympic teams and many world-class athletes.
We are home to the Dragons – one of the four professional rugby union regional teams in Wales and Newport County AFC, known as the Exiles compete in EFL League Two.
Wales’ top football players, coaches and keen youngsters develop their skills at the FAWs Dragon Park – our National Football Development Centre.
Ballet Cymru has its base in Newport. The studio boasts one of the largest dance areas in Wales and is used regularly by The Royal Academy of Dance and the Cecchetti Ballet Society
But possibly most importantly, grassroot sports are at the heart of our community engagement and development work – bringing together communities and generations.
Newport’s reputation for hosting major events including The Ryder Cup, The Nato Summit and Tour of Britain, has also led to it being chosen for the first ABP Newport Wales Marathon in 2018 and the British Transplant Games in 2019. Across Gwent we boast nationally acclaimed events including the Big Cheese Festival Caerphilly and Abergavenny Food Festival.
Newport’s city centre, like many, is searching for a new role in the post retail economy. We will use this initiative to change our spaces and to nurture a new shared commercial and community environment with a greater focus on creative industries, small and independent businesses, juxtaposed with city centre living.
Newport is already taking steps towards this goal through its regeneration, the location of tech business, developing business incubator spaces, a new city centre leisure provision and the redevelopment of the former market.
But we want to create a stronger platform for organisations with mutual interests to co-operate rather than compete for resources. To develop a shared programme of action, planning together to promote the importance of our cultural wealth to residents and the wider world.
Areas of focus
- Our diverse ethnic communities and language, including Welsh, and how participation and digital platforms can enable communities to come together to respect and celebrate all our cultures.
- Our historical identity and telling a story which is wider than Newport – boosting tourism and helping us regenerate the city and wider region.
- Our story of ‘industrial city to data city’ showing how we have responded to changes in industry while maintaining our rich historical identity – a blueprint for a modern city region.
- Arts, music, sport and media – recognising and promoting our excellence in literature and art and making it more accessible to all. Showcasing our rich musical past and supporting a new generation of creative people in music and media.
- Active travel and climate change – linking our heritage assets across the Gwent region with active travel routes – ensuring sustainability and access for future generations.
- Innovative education - developing new cross-sector partnerships, including exploring collaborations between science, technology, maths, arts and culture.
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