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Interview - Icheon

General Questions
Describe very shortly what are the lessons drawn from your city since it has been designated City of Crafts & Folk Art?
Receiving global recognition for our city’s cultural potential has given our residents, especially those in culture and art, a sense of tremendous pride and has become a great force in collectively pursuing “Icheon, a Cultural City in the World,” which is one of the visions for the future of our city.
What is the value of the Creative Cities Network (CCN) membership to your city, especially in your specific domain? How does it contribute to the social and economic aspects of the city? What has your city gained from the network since the joining, or how has been the network beneficial to your city?
Being able to share advanced policies and diverse cultures of the world’s cultural cities has been the most valuable opportunity. Based on these experiences, Icheon will be able to develop into a true cultural city. Also, the attention received by Icheon’s cultural assets and potential from the world has influenced the PR and marketing of the city enormously.
Are there cities of the network whose experience has been particularly interesting for your city?
We are currently focusing on sub-network activities in the crafts sector. In particular, active exchanges are taking place between city officials and artists in Icheon, Santa Fe, and Kanazawa. Bologna, a creative city of music, is also showing special interest.
What has your city brought to the Network, as a member of the CCN? Are there cities that you have supported in some domain, in particular?
As a way to promote knowledge and information exchange between CCN member cities, we hosted "the Second Forum on UNESCO Creative Cities Network" in October 2010, in which eight cities including five UNESCO Creative Cities took part. In addition, we particularly have continuously supported active exchange each year in order to vitalise the sub-network of CCN in crafts.
In light of your concrete experience, why do you think networking for culture is important for the cities today?
One of the best ways to improve the current undesirable situation such as deepening social polarization and diminished human dignity is the keyword “culture.” As of global era, the emphasis is on unique urban competitiveness and city branding. Therefore, the promotion of “culture” can be the most ideal answer.
Technical Details
What does it take, namely in terms of budget and planning, to ensure an active role as Creative City, namely in your specific field and within your sub-network?
As a way to establish the CCN project as a core strategy for urban development and to draw up a specific plan in preparation for dramatic changes in the future political environment, we are doing our best to draw up the “2030 Icheon Creative City Master Plan” with a partnership between the government and private sector. 
What are the challenges and difficulties, both financial and organizational, the city had to go through to ensure its work as member of the Network?
In the case of changes in political environment, there is a possibility that the CCN project is deemed not to be a priority in urban development policy. Due to the invisibility of the positive effect on culture and arts, it is not easy to convince the benefits of CCN and raise awareness among citizens. 
What are the links between the local dimension of you commitment and your national government?
When implementing various projects (though they have to be of a certain size) for the promotion of local culture and art, the systems to support the local government has been established so that we can receive financial and administrative support from the central government.
Can you mention some particularly significant activities that have been implemented after the designation?
We made efforts to expand the base of its cultural global market to Europe and the USA We also organized the Creative City Policy Suggestion Committee led by the public.
What are the future projects of your city in order to consolidate its position within the CCN?
Systemise projects and policies regarding the Creative City by establishing the “2030 Icheon Creative City Master Plan” with a partnership between the government and private sector.
Launch "CCN of Korea" to strengthen ties between creative cities in Korea and develop network solidarity projects.
https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/sites/default/files/Icheon.jpgJin-sup Lee
UNESCO Creative Cities Network Coordinator for Icheon
Department of Planning and Audit, Icheon City Government