New report includes data on transformative cultural projects from Austin and 34 other global cities
Cultural and civic leaders from across the globe, including a representative from the City of Austin Economic Development Deparment’s Cultural Arts Division, recently gathered in San Francisco for the launch of The World Cities Culture Report 2018, the most comprehensive assessment, to date, of the impact of culture on cities. The new report demonstrates how local governments are responding to global challenges with inclusive cultural policies that bring people together to tackle social problems. It also outlines the ways in which culture creates jobs, increases tourism, gives young people positive opportunities, and improves health. As a member of the World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF), Austin—one of only four U.S. member cities—is prominently featured in the document.
The 2018 report details how local governments around the world are responding to challenges with cultural policies that are open to a greater range of people, practitioners, art forms and spaces. It also contains information on how cities are using culture to address access to education, social divisions and a rising cost of living, as detailed in the following examples:
- Austin is addressing its lack of affordable live and work space for artists by increasing the availability of creative spaces through partnerships with public schools (Village of the Arts), churches (Arts in Sacred Places), and by providing financial support to organizations facing rent hikes or displacement (Art Space Assistance Program). The City also participated in the WCCF’s 2018 Leadership Exchange Program to explore urban affordability for the creative sector and establish global best practices for retaining and growing affordable creative spaces.
- Projects in Montréal, San Francisco and Melbourne, have been developed in collaboration with, and in recognition of, indigenous populations to celebrate and fully acknowledge the cultures of First Nations
- To respond to the needs of a growing aging population, Amsterdam’s Age Friendly Cultural City program focuses specifically on cultural provision for the city’s older residents
The World Cities Culture Report compiles data which paints a detailed picture of the cultural institutions and resources in each city, such as the number of public libraries, museums, art galleries, live music venues and heritage sites. This information will enable cities to protect and support their existing culture, as well as helping new venues and spaces to flourish.
The launch of the 2018 report coincided with a three-day summit of the WCCF in San Francisco. The conference is an annual event hosted by member cities on a rotating basis. The theme of the year’s conference was “Culture and New Technologies Transforming World Cities” which explored the opportunities and challenges facing cities as culture and technology become ever more intertwined.
The World Cities Culture Forum
The World Cities Culture Forum is a leadership network of 38 global cities. Senior city officials championing culture in major cities around the world share research and best practices, advancing the vital role of culture in their cities. The Forum publishes the most comprehensive compendium of data and policy reports and convenes members through a programme of events including themed symposia, regional summits and more recently a leadership exchange programme supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Google Arts and Culture. These activities feed into the annual World Cities Culture Summit which is hosted on a rotating basis by member cities
The City of Austin Cultural Art Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin. For additional information, visit www.austincreates.com.