City bids for Unesco Media Arts recognition

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York has launched a bid to be recognised as a City of Media Arts by Unesco.

If the bid is successful it will only be the second city in the world to receive the accolade which would recognise the city’s creative side. The city wants to become a Unesco City of Media Arts and join the global Creative Cities Network.

The bid for accreditation, which is due to be formally submitted early next year, is being led by York Council in partnership with local business leaders and institutions.

Unesco City of Media Arts status, currently only held by Lyon in France, would include membership to the Creative Cities Network, a global network of culturally-significant centres across a range of creative fields, including literature, design, and film. Members of the network include Edinburgh, for literature, and Bradford, a city of film.

Council bosses say York’s cultural assets including the annual Illuminating York festival, together with the growth of media arts industries, make it an appropriate time to apply for the title.

Coun Sonja Crisp, the council’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said yesterday: “We believe York has strong credentials to become the world’s second Unesco City of Media Arts and it comes at a time when significant investment is going into our creative industries.

“The award of Unesco status would have lasting benefits for us all.

“It would act as a catalyst for further investment in media arts, retain talent developed in the city and add to York’s diverse appeal to residents, tourists, and businesses.

“The title also provides an excellent opportunity to boost York’s international reputation as a thriving centre for creative, media and digital production and participation, and would open up exciting new exchanges with other leading creative cities.

“Our bid forms part of a broader vision to put creative industries at the heart of York’s social, economic and cultural development, and the city’s quest to become a leading international city.”