The 180 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.
180 cities from 72 countries, working together towards common objectives: placing creativity and cultural industries at the core of development plans.
Media Art Cluster
Austin, Braga, Changsha, Dakar, Enghien-Le-Bains, Guadalajara, Gwangju, Kosice, Linz, Lyon, Sapporo, Tel Aviv, Toronto, York.
In 2017 Toronto was recognized as a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts for its leadership in film, music, digital media and forms of cultural expression using technology.
With excellent higher education institutions, Austin has a reputation as a progressive city and attracts many creative professionals each year, many of whom have made the state famous with their songs, films, artwork, videogames, and innovations. With this, events like SXSW Music, Film and Interactive, Austin City Limits Music Festival and Fantastic Fest have now become perpetual fixtures in the city’s cultural calendar. Due it to importance, the creative economy has been recognized as a priority in the city’s 2012 Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, in which creative industries and smart grid technology – in particular gaming, digital media, and film – are considered as essential levers to Austin local economy. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Austin envisages integrating media arts into the public sphere by commissioning local artists currently working in new media to manage public arts projects and events developing CITISTART (Cities for Innovation, Trade, and Investment and Science, Technology and the ARTs), a local network aiming to develop existing creative industries and creating employment opportunities in the technology and creative sectors and establishing travelling exhibitions highlighting artists from other Creative Cities of Media Arts.
Since its foundation, the city has been at the forefront of the different periods of its history. Founded by the Celts in 300 BC was the administrative center of the Roman Empire, which later elevated the territory to the city. Hungry for new over time, the city became richer in diversity and more curious about the future. In recent years, Braga has implemented a strategy aimed at supporting the media arts and creative industries, nurturing an already thriving cultural ecosystem. It aims to generate employment opportunities, to promote and showcase emerging digital talents and strengthen the economic impact of the creative field. The city also launched a new media art residency and a start-up hub to provide further support to media arts thinkers and entrepreneurs through regular international roadshows. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Braga envisages valuing the history and memory of the city through artistic creation and the use of technologies and creating a Researcher Exchange Programme; a platform to promote the transnational mobility of researchers in the field of media arts.
Changsha is an innovation hub which significantly invests in its cultural and creative industries. By its cross-cutting and inclusive nature, media arts in Changsha have been an essential part of the rejuvenation of the urban landscape while supporting the preservation of its outstanding cultural heritage. Changsha Municipal Government actively works towards developing an environment for young people; one which encourages them to engage with the creative sector. The Sky City Education Centre offers training courses on digital lm, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Changsha envisages organising an annual, large scale event displaying the latest media trends and engaging other UNESCO Creative Cities and launching the Asian and African Youth Creative Talent Programme within the UCCN to support young creative talents.
Dakar is a modern city which, in view of pursuing its development, tends towards increasing its innovative capacity by strengthening the role of Media Arts in the range of expressive forms used by its cultural and social artists and actors. The city intends to make culture, creativity and innovation the driving forces of local development. Attached to a rich heritage and a tradition of openness, Dakar is a creative metropolis which hosts cultural events of great magnitude, including the World Festival of Black Arts and the Biennial of Contemporary African Art. The city has also a large number of cultural infrastructures: the Théodore Monod Museum of African art, the Arts Village, galleries including the National Gallery of Art, the Daniel Sorano National Theatre and the Grand National Theatre. These multiple infrastructures reflect the dynamism of Dakar’s artistic scene and its vibrant and diverse community of actors. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Dakar envisages supporting innovative and developmental local projects in the field of Media Arts and developing cooperation with the other cities in the Network in a concrete and inclusive project scheme. This should foster momentum behind bringing peoples together, particularly between the global North and South.
For the last 10 years, Media Arts have been the subject of a coordinated strategy in the fields of education, tourism, economy and the city’s cultural, artistic and social development. They irrigate and revitalize urban spaces through ambitious video-mapping projects and the outreach of the international biennial Bains Numériques which, with its wide range of artistic proposals, an international competition and professional meetings, transforms the city into an open laboratory. Enghien-les-Bains is also involved in partnerships and actions through the RAN, Network of Media Arts, initiated by the Arts Centre in 2007 and which today has around 40 members across the world, as well as numerous collaborative projects with Canada, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Africa. Bringing local actors together around a common strategy supporting digital creation and Sharing its expertise with other member cities and fulfilling its role of Coordinator in the Media Arts city group.
The city is known to be a meeting point for innovation and technologies, attracting state-of-art technology developers and creators. Guadalajara adopts a cross-sectoral approach of media arts as an innovative and interactive tool that adds value to other creative fields but also to the way that citizens experience the city. To name but a few, the Guadalajara Light Festival offers residents the opportunity to rediscover the city through video mappings, multi-media shows and interactive projections. Alongside this, the Cultural Festival Sucede promotes cultural diversity through artistic happenings throughout the city's public spaces. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Guadalajara envisages supporting local talents and advancing creative industries through initiatives, placing media arts at the core of their programmes and establishing a creative and innovation hub within the city centre, aimed at enhancing living standards and affirming Guadalajara's position as a hub for creative and digital industries in Latin America.
GWANGJU (South Korea)
Gwangju is a laboratory of innovation in the field of media arts. In this creative field, various initiatives bring together artistic tradition, democratic values and human rights, high-tech science and technology, which are key components of the city’s past and present. Thanks to its strong photonics industry and R&D district, the city has become a high-tech hotspot for science technology research. Its media-content industry, LED industry and design industry are also major forces in the development of Gwangju’s media arts industries. any cultural and artistic events are held in the city, such as the Gwangju Biennale, the Media Arts Festival and the Asia Culture Forum, all of which contribute to expanding new horizons in media arts. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Gwangju envisages sharing Gwangju’s cultural and artistic capacities as well as its accomplishments in the culture industry with the UCCN through establishing partnerships with other Cities of Media Arts and providing a space for creative talents and becoming a hub for cultural and artistic exchanges in the “National Asia Culture Complex”.
In the last 10 years, employment within the area has mainly been supported by the creative industries and ICT field. The City also supports the local art scene through its not-for-profit organisation Creative Industry Košice. As a member of the UCCN, the city of Košice is committed to positioning itself globally as a progressive city, using culture alongside digital technologies as a motor for sustainable development. Among the levers contributing to the development of media arts are various international projects and events, such as festivals White Night and Art & Tech Days, the international artist-in-residency-programme KAIR, the creative spaces of the DIG Gallery, Kunsthalle, Kasárne Kulturpark, Tabačka Kulturfabrik and Kotolňa. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Košice envisages establishing a Creative Centre as a global hub for media arts professionals and artists, providing them access to new technologies and enabling them to undertake collaborative projects and developing Art Portal; an online platform to systematically gather relevant artistic and creative content, and inform about current events of the international media arts scene, as well as exchange best practices from Creative Cities of Media Arts.
As a hotbed of media art, Linz establishes conditions for bright prospects and cultural, commercial and social innovation. Being a UNESCO City of Media Arts offers opportunities to initiate networks that enhance Linz’s attractiveness as a creative city in culture, science and business, nationwide and worldwide. Integration into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network promises to impart new impetus to Linz’s development and to positioning the city as a hub of the creative economy. Today, the city is concentrating on transforming a former industrial site located in the heart of the inner city into a centre of the creative economy: the Linz’s Tabakfabrik campus, with Creative Region, Linz and Upper Austria’s creative industries development company, at its core. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Linz envisages exploring synergistic benefits for the Network in conjunction with Ars Electronica’s worldwide activities and linkup to its wide-ranging global network and offering high quality education and training in media arts and media culture, including numerous collaborative possibilities for instructors and students.
The city of Lyon and the Lyon Metropolis invest heavily in the development of the digital economy and creative industries. The metropolis of Lyon, which is leading the project for its future prospects, foresees the emergence of 100 new start-ups a year within 3 years and the creation of 15 major companies in high-growth international markets within 10 years. For the Media Arts, the city supports various initiatives, from the Festival Mirage dedicated to Media Arts to the Festival Nuits Sonores, or the Fête des lumières, the city’s major event with more than 3 million visitors to each edition, which for the last few years now has hosted the works of digital artists. The Municipal Library of Lyon’s creation of the Digital Library of Lyon (NUMELYO) and the establishment of the digital platform Numeridanse by the Maison de la danse are among the main projects carried out. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Lyon envisages cooperating with Media Arts festivals at the international level, hosting artists from other cities in the network, developing digital libraries and organising meetings on developments in cultural policies with regards to the digital revolution.
In Sapporo, Media Arts are not confined within the walls of art museums. Rather, they thrive throughout the city, expressing Sapporo’s cultural diversity. Thanks to digital media and their democratizing effect, the inaccessibility that has traditionally existed in cultural expressions such as music, publishing and broadcasting is being dismantled and the means of expression are becoming widely available to the general public. The city is home to the Sapporo Concert Hall “Kitara”, reputed to be Japan’s best in terms of acoustics as well as the Sapporo Art Park, a vast artistic space including, among other facilities, the Sapporo Art Museum. As the birthplace of Hatsune Miku, an internationally popular Vocaloid singing synthesizer software, Sapporo has a high concentration of leading creators of contemporary Japanese youth culture. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Sapporo envisages engaging in global exchange with other cities and encouraging creative pursuits by fostering domestic enterprises and further developing the media arts. Media arts-based urban revitalization projects and industrial promotion initiatives applicable to other creative cities will be promoted.
Tel Aviv-Yafo has a unique economy thanks to a large concentration of start-up companies in fields such as the media arts, making it one of the world's leading “start-up cities”. Home to most of Israel’s artistic institutions, Tel Aviv is the country’s cultural centre. A number of factors have contributed to turning Tel Aviv into a centre of creativity, among them the city’s open attitude as well as its physical layout, enjoyable surroundings and civic support mechanisms and policies. The city’s technology ecosystem generates many technology-focused events, with hundreds of “meetups”, conferences, “hackathons”, competitions and other media arts gatherings every year. Currently, the city is pursuing a strategy to position itself as a global centre of technology and innovation. As a Creative City of Media Arts, Tel Aviv envisages learning from other cities’ experiences in channelling the resources generated by the technology and creative sectors to ensure that all segments of society benefit from the creation of a better, fairer and more sustainable future as well as sharing the city’s ideas and experiences in fostering entrepreneurship and creativity with other cities working to develop their own creative ecosystems.
As a Creative City of Media Arts, Toronto envisages embedding culture in the earliest stages of the City’s urban planning by supporting the retention of affordable, cultural space downtown for enhancing creative clusters, partnering with the Toronto Music Advisory Committee to promote music in media arts and develop opportunities for artists and audiences and pursuing the development of a physical hub for Toronto's film festivals to share information, volunteer networks and coordinate festival schedules where possible. Toronto benefits from a thriving education sector which enables and promotes the media arts through a variety of institutions, such as the Ryerson University's DMZ; the leading university-based incubator in North America. In addition, Toronto's dynamic not-for-profit sector is continually progressing in media arts through its exploration of new forms and its creation of spaces for marginalised and underrepresented communities. Media arts also features prominently in the city’s public art programme, notably Nuit Blanche Toronto; a city-wide celebration of contemporary art.
For two millennia, York has been a meeting point for ideas and creativity. Founded as a Roman fortress in 71 AD, York's world-class heritage continues to be its cultural centrepiece, attracting over seven million visitors per year. Over the past decade, York has championed investment in its cultural institutions, initiating several iconic activities such as the Illuminating York Festival and the revival of York Mystery Plays. Media arts are the engine of York’s continued development. As a UNESCO City of Media Arts, the city of York is mobilizing creativity to strengthen the local economy, increase levels of public participation in culture, renew investment in the city’s human capital and academic institutions and contribute to the quality of life. As a Creative City of Media Arts, York envisages constructing a Digital and Media Arts Centre, blending innovation, participation and industry, developing an international programme of cultural festivals showcasing media arts and organizing an annual awards ceremony recognising and rewarding creative talents from around the world.