UNESCO has announced that Lyon has become the first city in France to join UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. It is also the first city to be declared a City of Media Arts. The nomination was decided and announced by UNESCO director general Koïchiro Matsuura.
The press release issued on the occasion notes that the Creative Cities Network, launched by UNESCO in October 2004, is designed to promote the economic, social, and cultural development of cities in both developed and developing countries. “By providing a world platform that presents cities’ local cultural assets, the Network helps member cities access a wealth of know-how, information, and experience in order to further the development of local cultural industries and the recognition of its member cities at world level.”
Cities applying to the Network seek to promote local creativity and share common interests like cultural diversity with UNESCO. The Network focuses on launching public and private partnerships that encourage creativity through municipal policies.
Lyon’s application was examined by a panel of experts from various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) specialized in cooperation between cities and media arts. “Famous for its Nuits Sonores and Fête de la Lumière, Lyon was selected for its special profile and its longstanding experience with digital tools in the field of culture. Lyon is home to companies that are particularly innovative in the area of digital games. Its public sector devotes up to 20% of its funds for culture to media arts. Its project based on new initiatives and cooperation with other cities of UNESCO’s Network was particularly appreciated within the framework of the evaluation.”
UNESCO’s network connects creative cities in the fields of literature, cinema, music, crafts and folk art, design, media arts, and fine dining. Nine other cities already belong to the Network: Assuan (Egypt) and Santa Fe (United States) in the field of crafts and folk art; Montréal (Canada), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Berlin (Germany) in design; Popayan (Colombia) for fine dining; Edinburgh (United Kingdom) for literature; Bologna (Italy) and Seville (Spain) for music. Some twenty other cities in the world have already applied and are being evaluated.
Cultural Expressions and Creative Industries