Launched in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) aims to strengthen cooperation with and among cities that have recognised creativity as a strategic factor of sustainable development as regards economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects.
By joining the Network, cities acknowledge their commitment to sharing best practices, developing partnerships that promote creativity and the cultural industries, strengthening participation in cultural life and integrating culture in urban development plans.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to:
- Strengthen international cooperation between cities that have recognised creativity as a strategic factor of their sustainable development;
- Stimulate and enhance initiatives led by member cities to make creativity an essential component of urban development, notably through partnerships involving the public and private sectors and civil society;
- Strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services;
- Develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector;
- Improve access to and participation in cultural life as well as the enjoyment of cultural goods and services, notably for marginalised or vulnerable groups and individuals;
- Fully integrate culture and creativity into local development strategies and plans.
The objectives of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network are implemented both at the level of the member cities and at the international level, notably through the following areas of action:
- Sharing experiences, knowledge and best practices;
- Pilot projects, partnerships and initiatives associating the public and private sectors, and civil society;
- Professional and artistic exchange programmes and networks;
- Studies, research and evaluations on the experience of the Creative Cities;
- Policies and measures for sustainable urban development;
- Communication and awareness raising activities.
All 39 UNESCO Cities of Literature are committed to the pursuit of excellence at a local level, as well as working together to create lasting global partnerships and cross-cultural initiatives, on top of developing local, national and international literary links.
Listed in order of designation (we were second!):
- Edinburgh (2004)
- Iowa City (2008)
- Dublin (2010)
- Reykjavik (2011)
- Norwich (2012)
- Krakow (2013)
- Dunedin, Prague, Granada and Heidelberg (2014)
- Baghdad, Barcelona, Ljubljana, Lviv, Montevideo, Nottingham, Óbidos, Tartu, and Ulyanovsk (2015)
- Bucheon, Durban, Lillehammer, Manchester, Milan, Québec City, Seattle, and Utrecht (2017)
- Angouleme, Beirut, Exeter, Kuhmo, Lahore, Leeuwarden, Nanjing, Odessa, Slemani, Wonju and Wrocław (2019)
- Jakarta, Gothenberg and Vilnius (2021)
- Bremen, Buffalo, Hobart, Iasi, Kozhikode, Kutaisi, Lyon, Okayama City, Rio de Janeiro, Taif, Tukums (2023)
Australia has seven other UNESCO Creative Cities – Adelaide ( City of Music) , Launceston ( City of Gastronomy) and Sydney ( City of Film), Victoria has four Creative Cities! Bendigo (City of Gastronomy), Ballarat ( City of Craft and Folk Arts) Geelong ( City of Design) and of course, us!
Fostering Freedom of Expression
UNESCO is mandated to protect and promote freedom of expression, both online and offline. Its Constitution calls on Member States to advance mutual knowledge and understanding between peoples through the “free flow of ideas by word and image.”