Kanazawa, Ghent and Bradford, designated as UNESCO Creative Cities
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, on the 8th of June named the city of Kanazawa (Japan) as “City of Crafts and Folk Art”, Ghent (Belgium) as “City of Music” and Bradford (UK) as the first “City of Film”, as part of the Organization’s Creative Cities Network.
The city of Kanazawa boasts an outstanding history and heritage relating to traditional crafts and folk art. The city’s efforts in linking traditional crafts aesthetics and techniques with modern technology in a spirit of creativity and innovation are very significant. The city’s financial and infrastructural commitment to enhance the interest and awareness of traditional crafts among new generations was also highly appreciated. Kanazawa is expected to give an exemplary effect to other cities by sharing its experience on how to foster the linkage between traditional craft and contemporary industry and nurture a sustainable crafts environment.
The city of Ghent was foremost acknowledged for its reputation as a well-established centre for music with a rich tradition and inclusive approach to culture. The city possesses a complete infrastructure of creative and performing activities, with an impressive number of concert halls, education facilities and research centres. There is a solid support given to a variety of music genres, through a wide range of festivals and organizations. In addition, training and research activities are considered of core importance to the city with diverse education possibilities for local young artists, enabling them to develop their interest and career in the music field.
Bradford is one of the rare cities that forge their cultural identity and integrity through the medium of cinema. Film has a central role in the city’s development and regeneration scheme through concrete plans where it is used as a cultural tool in harmonizing community relations and maintaining balance between creativity and economic development. The cinema connections in the city are both historical and continuous with efforts to preserve, promote and enrich the heritage of film as well as to develop constructive links between society and media. The city’s profile as a multicultural centre for film with a diversity of outreach initiatives for different ethnic groups with strong links to Asian films was also appreciated.
As usual, the Director-General took his decision after having consulted different panels of experts.
UNESCO established the Creative Cities Network at the end of 2004 to support social, economic and cultural development. The cities that join the network promote their local creative scene, share their experience with a wider audience, and create new opportunities, especially in collaboration with other member cities, to drive joint development results for creative industries. The development of partnerships between the public and private sectors is a key feature of the network.
With Kanasawa, Ghent and Bradford, the Creative Cities Network now has 19 members.