Montréal participation to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network XIV Annual Conference

July 22, 2022

The XIV Annual Conference of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was held in Santos, a Creative City of Film, from 18 to 22 July, 2022.

Under the theme “Creativity, Path to Equality”, the role of creativity as a driving force for building inclusive and equal societies has been highlighted over the course of diverse sessions and workshops of the event.

Member cities were invited to highlight their respective experiences and good practices and illustrate the various ways in which cultural and creative industries are leveraged at the local level and through intercity collaboration to revitalize urban areas, from historical centers to urban surroundings. Participants in the Annual Conference were invited to exchange their views, experiences and initiatives on creating enabling conditions towards more inclusive and equal cities, in line with UNESCO’s global priorities. 

During the pandemic, cities worldwide have been on the frontline to respond to the crisis, highlighting their pivotal role in tackling contemporary challenges, but also in fulfilling the various opportunities that arise from their positioning as strategic platforms for innovation and creativity. This unprecedented context has opened a renewed dialogue regarding the substantial contribution of cultural and creative industries to recovery and development at both the local and global scale. In people-centered urban development, citizens represent a key and valuable resource for creativity and innovation. Therefore, it is of primary importance to nurture inclusive urban environments, so as to tackle different contemporary and emerging challenges with creative and sustainable solutions.

Accessibility and inclusiveness are two essential components to the concept of equality, notably when applied to how culture and creativity are incorporated in urban planning and regeneration. Improving accessibility to cultural activities, especially for marginalized groups and communities, helps strengthen cities’ economic and social fabrics. Leveraging creativity to reduce inequalities locally and involving city dwellers in cultural life equally, results in more sustainable cities, and thus creates a fertile ground for more creative initiatives to be implemented.

To provide a concrete example of how the equality, inclusion and wellness principles can be integrated into public policy on creativity, Montréal was invited to present the Montréal 2030 Agenda for Quality and Exemplarity in Design and Architecture to the members of the Cities of Design subnetwork. In adopting a broad, holistic definition of quality in design and architecture, the Agenda positions creativity and innovation through design as essential processes for successfully negotiating the green and social transition. 

After a two-year pause due to the pandemic, the XIV Annual Conference provided a renewed opportunity for representatives of all Creative Cities to reunite and take stock of what has been achieved, and what can be developed further through international cooperation, nurturing the power of culture and creativity for more inclusive and sustainable cities.