Under the current global challenging situation, responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a shared objective for UNESCO and its stakeholders. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network provides an opportunity for cities around the world to stand together and undertake collective action.
In this regard, the Secretariat called on all member cities to share their innovative actions being implemented in response to this situation, particularly those through culture and creativity. Launched in mid-March, this initiative aims to facilitate the dissemination of useful information and collective knowledge to inspire effective action and measures in Creative Cities and many others around the world.
Facing the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the 246 members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network have been mobilized to further reinforce solidarity and collaboration within the Network. More than ever, the power of culture and creativity should be leveraged to cope with the evolving situation, and further aim to strengthen cooperation among cities and reinforce ties between people and communities.
Since the launch of the initiative, the UCCN Secretariat has received many valuable contributions from member cities in all seven Creative Fields across the world. These meaningful city-led initiatives highlight the mobilization of the cities’ cultural and creative capital in addressing COVID-19 through various aspects such as education, sciences and technology, social inclusion, assistance to professional and artists as well as the disadvantaged groups.
With a view to further enhancing cooperation between Creative Cities and providing effective and collective solutions to this unprecedented situation, the UCCN Secretariat has also provided its official support to initiatives in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which demonstrates a strong inter-city or international dimension, with direct involvement or collaboration with member cities and other cities from around the world. The initiatives that have been supported are listed below in alphabetical order.
Crafts and Folk Art
Areguá has launched a 6-month programme with the aim to revitalize the socio-cultural and economic activities of the city through virtual media and intercity cooperation.
The project covers a set of activities including:
One month online arts festival with artists from various backgrounds (music, dance, circus, etc.) coming from the Creative Cities from the region and beyond.
Dissemination of a livestream highlighting the different handicraft works and products, including interviews with artisans.
Develop a book in consultation with community members regarding ancestral food made with local products through local interviews.
Conduct community consultations and interviews regarding natural products and good cultural practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease.
Provide recommendations and implementation of bio-security measures to artisans to follow while trading with the public.
While promoting measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Areguá through these different activities to be implemented at both local and international level, also intends to create spaces of cultural visibility to revive the creative economy, and re-discover the rich culture of the city.
Crafts and Folk Art
Fabriano launched the special edition of the initiative ‘Panettieri d’Italia’ – Breads from Creative Cities, originally envisioned by the collaboration of Tucson, a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy and ITKI US. The special edition focuses on sharing the cultural heritage of bread and its significance for communities during the current outbreak of the pandemic.
The initiative brings together local Italian bakers to share videos of the local traditional breads recipes that everyone can easily reproduce. It is also aims to further help the safeguarding and the continuation of the traditional ancient recipes and techniques related to bread.
To further strengthen cooperation within the Network, all multimedia materials received from the bakers are collected into a unique online resource and shared with all UNESCO Creative Cities. Many Creative Cities have supported the initiative from countries such as Australia (Adelaide), Poland (Krakow), Mexico (San Cristobal de Las Casas), and the United States of America (Kansas, Paducah, Tucson, San Antonio, and Seattle).
On the occasion of the International Jazz Day, Llíria turned its traditional street festival ‘El Desenjazz’ into a ‘Homage through jazz’ as a tribute to workers from the health, food, and security sectors, among others, who are at the front line to fight against the COVID-19 crisis. The initiative brought together virtually prominent jazz musicians from different cities and continents to compose a unique piece based on the classic ‘Work Song’.
Many UNESCO Creative cities of Music worldwide participated to this initiative, including Sevilla and Terrassa (Spain), as well as Brno (Czech Republic), Idanha-a-Nova (Portugal), Kansas City (United States of America), Kingston (Jamaica) and Praia (Cabo Verde).
Mannheim and Katowice in collaboration with Music Export Poland and the German festival - Enjoy Jazz, launched the social media campaign ‘weRculture’. The campaign aims to capture and spread a message of solidarity from artists - known and unknown - during the ongoing global pandemic.
Launched in the beginning of April, this collective action calls on international artists and creative workers to share a one-minute video message explaining why, more than ever, culture is of utmost importance. Artists and cultural practitioners from various cities in Portugal, Greece, Spain, Germany, Norway, Czech Republic, Italy and Chile, amongst others, have participated in the initiative.
Terrassa has launched the initiative ‘Young at Home Films’ to highlight how creativity and film literacy can be used worldwide to combat the pandemic.
Young creators from the Creative Cities of Film and elsewhere are invited to create and share a seven-minute video on various topics such as precautionary measures, physical distancing and palliative care, to be undertaken amidst the ongoing pandemic. To better assist and guide young participants, the city of Terrassa also provides useful tools such as online teaching materials and free video editing software.
As of today, the initiative has been shared within the Network and further disseminated in other Creative Cities such as in Bristol (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), and Yamagata (Japan).
Kindly note, the list of initiatives will be updated based on the ongoing evaluation.
More city-led initiatives launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are displayed below. The UCCN Secretariat thanks Member cities for sharing their culture induced initiatives that can inspire and spread a message of collaboration, solidarity and hope during these trying times.
* Disclaimer: The information on the various initiatives is directly provided by member cities.
Creative cities network mobilized against covid-19