World Cities Culture Forum Announces Cities for Leadership Exchange Program

The World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) has announced its selection of 18 cities from around the world to participate in its second Leadership Exchange Program. The program, designed to support culture and the “global creative economy,” pairs leaders from cities for peer-to-peer learning in order to share ideas and approaches that can be replicated in other cities.

This year, the collaborative exchanges will focus on some of the cultural challenges that have been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. These challenges include: providing equitable access to creative space; supporting democratic participation; addressing at-risk cultural venues; and, identifying new avenues of cultural funding. The program is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Google Arts & Culture.

The seven collaborative exchanges which will take place over the next two years include:

  • Civic engagement – Warsaw, Poland and Lagos, NIgeria will assess their arts biennials to explore how culture can be used as tool for civic engagement;
  • Arts and cultural policies –  Lisbon and Montreal will exchange information on their cultural quarters policies to better support culture in neighborhoods;
  • Funding models for culture – Vienna and Zurich will look at innovative funding mechanisms and new ways of promoting arts participation;
  • Access to affordable creative space – Austin, TX; Sydney and Melbourne will examine how to increase equitable access to long-term, affordable creative space;
  • Cultural, equity, and inclusion at The Olympics – Paris and Los Angeles will be  hosting the 2024 and 2028 Olympics, and their exchange will focus on cultural equity and inclusion across aspects of the Olympics and Cultural Olympiad;
  • Cultural mapping and data – Amsterdam; Austin, TX; Barcelona, Spain; Chengdu, China; London; Los Angeles; Milan; Montreal and Stockholm 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; and,
  • Addressing culture at risk – London and New York will seek to develop strategies on how to support cultural organisations and venues at risk of closing.

Justine Simons, Chair of the World Cities Culture Forum said: “Culture is a golden thread that runs through our cities, defining their character and acting as the catalyst for ideas and innovation. But as cities grow there are serious challenges and the World Cities Culture Forum is working on practical solutions to ensure talent and creativity can flourish. The Leadership Exchange Programme is a brilliant opportunity for global cities to learn about each other’s great projects and adapt them in a way that will improve their own cities. We’ve seen excellent examples of this already and I know the new exchange initiative will really help to accelerate collaboration.”