18 Global Cities Selected to Participate in the World Cities Culture Forum’s Leadership Exchange Program Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies & Google Arts and Culture

Thursday, October 29, 2020

18 Global Cities Selected to Participate in the World Cities Culture Forum’s Leadership Exchange Program Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies & Google Arts and Culture

NEW YORK AND LONDON – Cultural leaders from 18 cities will take part in the latest round of World Cities Culture Forum’s Leadership Exchange Program. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Google Arts & Culture, it will facilitate collaboration between cities facing common challenges and bring together urban leaders in creative fields to support culture and the global creative economy. 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.

Justine Simons OBE, Chair of the World Cities Culture Forum and London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “As we continue to deal with the devastating impact of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we work together to improve life in our cities. Culture and creativity have the power to accelerate our economic recovery and to unite our communities during these challenging times, and by bringing cities together from around the world we have a unique opportunity to learn from each other.”

Cities are laboratories for the development of creative solutions to some of our planet’s most complex challenges, including social and racial inequality, climate change, overcrowding, and the housing crisis. Particularly as cities face a global economic downturn and a steep decline in tourism related to COVID-19, cultural projects can serve as the testing ground for solutions that bring communities together, elevate creative thinking and improve the quality of life for residents.

The selected exchanges will address a range of issues facing global cities, many of which were heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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, 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.

Kate D. Levin, Arts Program Lead, Bloomberg Philanthropies, said: “By bringing together cultural leaders from city governments across the globe, the World Cities Culture Forum’s Leadership Exchange can inspire and drive problem-solving for the biggest challenges faced by cities. Despite the unique hurdles faced this year, institutions and individuals are meeting the moment and producing creative solutions that demonstrate how important culture will be for recovery efforts.”

Amit Sood, Director, Google Arts & Culture, said: “We are pleased to continue our support of this incredible initiative, in partnership with the Mayor of London and the World Cities Culture Forum. Projects like this are even more essential in times like these, where cultural innovation can enhance the sense of community and connection in cities around the world.”

Culture and the creative economies across the globe have been devastated by the pandemic with theatres, music venues closed, festivals cancelled, and thousands of livelihoods lost. For the past seven months, the World Cities Culture Forum member cities have regularly come together virtually sharing their experiences and lessons learned in real-time as they champion and support culture in world cities...

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