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18 Global Cities to Participate in the World Cities Culture Forum’s Leadership Exchange Programme

The World Cities Culture Forum is excited to announce that cultural leaders from 18 cities have been selected to participate in the second round of the Leadership Exchange Programme with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Google Arts & Culture.

Leaders from Amsterdam, Austin, Barcelona, Chengdu, Lagos, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Milan, Montreal, New York, Paris, Stockholm, Sydney, Vienna, Warsaw, and Zurich have been selected to participate in seven collaborative exchanges that address challenges to the creative and cultural sectors. Many of these challenges, such as inequity and financial stress, were heightened by COVID-19, making the Leadership Exchange Program a unique and timely opportunity for leaders in creative fields to collaborate on finding innovative solutions.

The selected exchanges will address a range of issues facing global cities. These include supporting culture as an expression of democratic participation, providing equitable access to affordable creative space, addressing at-risk cultural venues, models of cultural funding that embrace diverse artforms, and use of data in mapping access to arts activities, and ensuring inclusion in the cultural Olympiad, a program of cultural events that accompanies each Olympic Games.

For the past seven months, the World Cities Culture Forum member cities have regularly come together virtually to share their experiences and lessons learned in real-time. As travel restrictions in the near-future are still unknown, the exact structure and timing of Leadership Exchanges will be determined collaboratively and will include digital convenings as well as in-person meetings as possible. Over the next two years, the Leadership Exchange Program will support the following exchanges between 18 cities, with information sharing and inclusion of the larger network membership:

  1. Arts biennials to encourage civic participation: Warsaw and Lagos will bring together their two Biennales to explore different strategies to encourage engagement with pressing urban issues, including culture as a space for freedom and imagination, as well as a tool to support participation in society.
  2. Neighborhood-based arts and culture policies: With a focus on their respective Cultural Quarters policies, the Lisbon and Montreal exchange will share how cities can support and strengthen culture in neighborhoods, ensuring engagement with a broad cross-sector of partners.
  3. New funding models for culture: Vienna and Zurich will collaborate to explore new forms of cultural support for diverse forms of art, including innovative funding mechanisms and new ways of promoting arts participation among a wide range of communities.
  4. Access to affordable creative space: Austin, Sydney and Melbourne will exchange strategies for increasing equitable access to long-term, affordable creative space, and grow the capacity of the creative community.
  5. Cultural equity and inclusion at the Olympics: With Paris and Los Angeles hosting the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, the exchange will focus on cultural equity and inclusion across aspects of the Olympics and Cultural Olympiad.
  6. Cultural mapping and data: Amsterdam, Austin, Barcelona, Chengdu, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Montreal, and Stockholm will share and develop solutions to support mapping cultural assets, activities, and participation in their cities. This exchange will develop shared learnings on the methods, challenges, objectives and ethics of data collection, as well as using data to strengthen evidence to support culture in our cities.
  7. Addressing Culture at Risk: based on London’s innovative “Culture at Risk” scheme, London and New York will share strategies on how to support cultural organisations and venues at risk of closing, as well as explore broader definitions of informal culture that is at risk and how policies and programs can build equity into cities’ efforts to support these important cultural assets. The exchange will share findings and innovations as a model for other WCCF cities facing a similar crisis

The inaugural Leadership Exchange Program, which took place between 2018 and 2019, supported four exchanges between 9 cities. These exchanges addressed issues such as ensuring affordable space for artists, recycling discarded materials for use as art supplies in schools and non-profits, promoting local culture in neighborhoods, and celebrating and engaging marginalized communities. For more information on the outcomes of the previous exchanges click here.

Keep up to date with the development of the exchanges across social media by following #WCCF_leadership.