Cities of today are becoming vibrant spaces for experimentation, with ‘Creative Cities’ and ‘Capitals of Culture’ emerging across Asia and Europe as dynamic centres of creativity and innovation. Furthermore, cities are significant in brokering inter-regional, cross-sectorial and inter-generational understanding.
Cities: Living Labs for Culture? – 8th ASEF Public Forum on Creative Cities in Asia and Europe (24 November 2015, Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, Korea), explored the theme of cities as living labs for culture. It provided a platform to discuss the role of the arts and culture in shaping sustainable, balanced and inclusive cities.
The results of the Forum were presented at the 1st Senior Officials’ Meeting (2 February 2016) in preparation for the 7th ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM CMM7) (22-24 June 2016). The 8th ASEF Public Forum was credited in the Chair’s Statement of the ASEM CMM7. ASEM Ministers of Cultures recognized the strategic contribution of the 8th ASEF Public Forum in setting the stage for the ministerial discussion and “providing the platform to seek the role of arts and culture in shaping sustainable balanced cities”.
Key messages of the Forum included the need for increased ownership by local communities, and for cultural leaders to develop a greater appreciation of other sectors (business, health, etc.). The introduction of formal programmes to re-invigorate mid-career cultural leaders was also encouraged, as well as the creation of spaces for self-reflection and assumption-testing.
The Public Forum was organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea and Gwangju Metropolitan City. It was organised in the framework of the Asia Culture Forum (ACF). It was held at the newly inaugurated Asia Culture Center (ACC). Has been held with the support of Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO); Gwangju Convention & Visitors Bureau; International Conference on Cultural Policy Research (ICCPR); Korea National Commission for UNESCO; the Association of Asian Culture Studies; and Chonnam National University.
Panel discussions were held on four key issues facing cities in Asia and Europe:
- Culture and policymaking in the city: how to make culture accessible to all?
- The Capital of Culture model: a catalyst for cultural development in the city
- What role for cultural institutions in shaping Creative Cities?
- Cities: leadership and creativity incubators?
The report of the Forum and the programme with brief profiles of the 15 panelists are available in the section of this web page.
The Forum in Gwangju marked the launch of Cities: Living Labs for Culture? – Case Studies from Asia and Europe, a compilation of essays and 27 case studies that drawn upon the experiences of 40 cities from across Asia and Europe. It also allowed for the introduction of Creative Responses to Sustainability (Korea Guide), authored by Yasmine OSTENDORF and published by ASEF, which maps cultural initiatives across the country engaging with social and environmental issues.
The Second Edition of the publication has been released in May 2016, which now includes the also the 8th ASEF Public Forum report.
The 8th ASEF Public Forum is part of a long-running dialogue series on policy issues of mutual interest and social relevance for Asia and Europe. Past Experts’ Meetings and Public Forums have taken place in: Amsterdam, Netherlands (2014); Hanoi, Viet Nam (2013); Yangon, Myanmar (2013); Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2012); Melbourne, Australia (2011); Seoul, Korea (2011); and Amsterdam, Netherlands (2010).