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Dunedin to be represented at UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Dunedin to be represented at UNESCO Creative Cities Network meeting

Dunedin (Friday, 23 June 2017) – Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull and City of Literature Director Nicky Page travel to France next week to represent Dunedin at the 11th Annual Meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

A highlight of the meeting in Enghien-les-Bains will be the Mayors’ Forum where Mr Cull will present on Dunedin’s Arts and Culture Strategy Ara Toi Otepoti as an initiative which embeds creativity into the city’s strategic framework and decision-making.

Mr Cull says the presentation is an opportunity to promote Dunedin’s creative strengths on an international stage.

“Dunedin is fortunate to enjoy a wealth of arts and culture, and we have a strong history of nurturing and celebrating creativity,” he says.

“Our Arts and Culture Strategy and UNESCO City of Literature status further emphasise our cultural strengths to an international audience, not just for cultural tourism but also for attracting new residents and students to our prestigious tertiary institutions by emphasising what a creative place Dunedin is to live.”

Mr Cull will also take the opportunity to invite UCCN members to a Creative Cities symposium planned to take place in Dunedin from 28 November until 1 December 2017, in partnership with the University of Otago’s Centre for the Book and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

The symposium programme is still being finalised. However, keynote speakers will feature from around the world and across the creative streams, followed by a day of workshops to seed cross-stream project ideas and collaborations for delegates to progress once they return home. Around the symposium there will be cultural events and exhibitions.

Mr Cull says that as well as engaging with other Cities of Literature in Enghien-les-Bains, the meeting is an opportunity learn from and collaborate with cities from the other UCCN streams.

“For example, I will be having talks with representatives from Shunde, a Creative City of Gastronomy, who are looking for opportunities to collaborate in the area of culinary education. Shunde is in the heart of the Cantonese Guangdong province, which is where Dunedin’s early Chinese settlers originated from so this is an opportunity to further strengthen those ties.”

Ms Page says the UCCN meeting comes hot on the heels of the iconic Bologna Children’s Book Fair in April, where Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature won a complimentary stand. The 116 Creative Cities were all invited to compete for one stand valued at nearly $10,000 by Bologna UNESCO City of Music, and Dunedin’s proposal was selected.

“The Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature display generated significant interest at the Fair in both Dunedin’s designation and the city’s wealth of wonderful children’s authors and illustrators. After the Fair the Dunedin books were donated to the famous International Youth Library in Munich. As a result of the partnership, Bologna UNESCO City of Music is one of several Creative Cities with which further exciting collaborations are planned,” she says.
“The UCCN meeting is a valuable opportunity for me to speak face-to-face with colleagues from other creative cities I am in regular email contact with about projects.”

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is currently formed by 116 members from 54 countries covering seven creative fields: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music, and media arts.

Dunedin became New Zealand’s first UNESCO Creative City when it was designated a City of Literature at the end of 2014, joining the likes of Edinburgh, Prague, Krakow and Melbourne.

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