Against a backdrop of a changing world order, increasingly divisive national politics and crises of national identity in countries around the globe, the World Cities Culture Report 2018 highlights a change in approach from local governments in world cities. Recognising that cultural investment over the last 20 years has sometimes unintentionally contributed to social pressures in global cities, the report finds that urban cultural policy is shifting towards more egalitarian and citizen-centred models.
Chair of World Cities Culture Forum, and London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “This report demonstrates the power of culture to bring communities together around the world. From film screenings for marginalised groups to mobile cultural venues putting culture on everyone’s doorstep, we have seen culture spark innovation, power economies and allow us to celebrate who we are.
“In London we have seen how investing in culture unites communities and gives young people positive opportunities to achieve their full potential. By putting cultural policies and ideas at the heart of how we lead our cities, we can ensure that they remain welcoming and inclusive places to work, to play and live.”
The report showcases a wide range of innovative cultural practice and demonstrates a growing inclusivity, with culture open to a greater range of people, practitioners, art forms and new spaces.
- In Hong Kong, Rome and Moscow, mobile arts venues and libraries are used to bring culture closer to citizens in every corner of their cities, particularly those areas with traditionally lower engagement with arts and culture
- Projects in Montréal, San Francisco and Melbourne, have been developed in collaboration with, and in recognition of, indigenous populations to celebrate and fully acknowledge the cultures of First Nations
- A number of cities are working with migrants and refugees to provide cultural opportunities to marginalised groups, from support to refugee artist residencies in Paris to Brussels, to offering film screenings to refugees in parks, asylum centres and people’s homes
- London has established the world’s first Culture at Risk initiative – a hotline for venues at risk of closure due to rising rates, increasing development and shifting populations, and has been involved in saving 300 venues from grassroots music venues to LGBT+ spaces
- Stockholm’s cultural administration has teamed up with media company Consigo on a project called Tactsenze, enabling the visually impaired to learn an instrument, an example of social inclusion through technology
- To respond to the needs of a growing ageing population Amsterdam’s Age Friendly Cultural City programme focuses specifically on cultural provision for the city’s older residents.
The report documents emerging cultural trends and flagship cultural projects taking place in cities across the world. It also measures cultural infrastructure and consumption across 45 distinct indicators on a city by city basis.
Image: Design Museum, London. Image courtesy of Greater London Authority