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UNESCO recognizes 10 new cities with City Of Music designation

This year, the UNESCO City of Music designations have more than doubled the list of cities to be recognized by the organization. 10 cities around the world have received new designations as cities of music under the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. These include:

  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal
  • Katowice, Poland
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Liverpool, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Medellín, Colombia
  • Salvador, Brazil
  • Tongyeong, Republic of Korea
  • Varanasi, India

UNESCO’s Creative Cities program was started in 2004 as an initiative to unite cities from across the globe through creative industries. This policy-driven initiative involves stakeholders at all levels of government. The larger network currently includes 116 cities, covering seven creative fields — crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music, and media arts. Cities apply for their specific field, and cannot hold a designation in more than one category.

According to UNESCO, this network aims to “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.” This can be done through sharing best practices and knowledge, pilot projects, artistic exchanges, or research, among other things.

The network is designed to encourage cooperation among cities that value investing in creativity. Applicants prepare detailed proposals that commit their municipalities to sustained programs that assist in developing these creative industries both within their home territories, and through international cooperation. Some factors that are included in applying for a designation include: historical importance of the city, potential contribution of the cultural and creative assets of the city, and expertise of the city in organizing events and initiatives at the local, national, and international level.

As this list has grown, it is noticeable that there are currently no North American cities holding a music city designation. In the wider network of creative cities, no Canadian cities have been designated, and only three US cities have qualified in other sectors:  Austin for Media Arts, Detroit for Design and Tucson for Gastronomy.  As a result, the field is wide open in North America to claim this UNESCO designation.

Learn more about UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network here: http://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/content/call-applications

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