The critical importance of culture in a city’s success will be at the top of the agenda when cultural leaders and officials from more than 35 major cities across the globe head to Moscow for this year’s World Cities Culture Summit from 5-7 October.
It comes at a time when the reputation of culture has never been higher. Its economic value is increasingly recognised, as well as the quality of life and social benefits it brings to people living and working in them. From the billions it generates through tourism, the creative industries and other sectors, to the artists, performance venues and other cultural spaces helping to regenerate our cities, there is little doubt of culture’s significance.
However, across the world, the success of cities is creating its own challenges for culture and creativity.
Factors such as population growth, the demand for housing and the premium on property prices is resulting in a lack of affordable artist studios and creative workspace. In some cities, live music venues, small theatres and other cultural spaces are finding it increasingly difficult to survive. Funding for culture is a perennial issue and is often lower down in the list of competing priorities, which range from building new homes to financing transport infrastructure.
Justine Simons OBE, Head of Culture for the Mayor of London and Chair of the World Cities Culture Forum, which organises the summit, said:
‘Culture is a golden thread that runs through our cities, adding to their character, but also being the catalyst for ideas and innovation that are at the heart of successful cities. But as cities grow there are serious challenges and the World Cities Culture Summit is working on practical solutions to ensure talent and creativity don’t get forced out.’
Moscow, which is hosting the fifth World Cities Culture Summit, has seen its reputation as a major cultural capital dramatically increased in recent years, but it still faces serious challenges.
Moscow summit will seek to tackle the sophisticated issues of financing cultural institutions, projects and individual artists. Also delegates will discuss how different population groups can get more involvement into world cities’ cultural life and how cities’ culture can be used to developing awareness and urgency around climate change.
Alexander Kibovsky, Moscow Government Minister, Head of the Moscow Department of Culture:
‘We are delighted to be hosting the fifth World Cities Culture Summit in Moscow. For 5 years we’ve been transforming Moscow’s cultural life and changing the way we manage it. So it would be a valuable opportunity for us to share our experience with other world cities.’
Vladimir Filippov, Head of the Summit Organising Committee, Deputy Head of the Moscow Department of Culture:
‘When we visited the Summit last year, the agenda was very relevant to Moscow’s culture. So we came up with an idea to bring the World Cities Culture Summit to Moscow to share our recent years’ achievements and challenges and together discuss the agenda that is relevant to every member-city.’
Paul Owens, Managing Director of BOP Consulting, which manages the World Cities Culture Forum on behalf of City Hall said:
‘Moscow takes culture seriously. In recent years it has pursued ambitious new policies in a range of areas from social inclusion to regeneration to public space. The Summit will be an opportunity for our host city to showcase these policies and their results and for the other cities to learn from Moscow’s experience.’
The fifth World Cities Culture Summit takes place in Moscow from Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 October 2016.