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Photo: Juan Di Nella on Unsplash

Four major cities launch contest for cultural sector recovery

01 June 2021

by Sarah Wray

Berlin, Paris, London and New York have launched a competition to find solutions that will help their cultural and creative sectors recover from the pandemic.

They say the challenge can act as a “blueprint” for other cities around the world to support their own recovery efforts.

Priority areas include how venues can enable social distancing while maximising capacity, the use of adaptive infrastructure for events in temporary locations, and deploying data and technology to help businesses become more resilient.

The Creative Cities Challenge is being run through the Global Innovation Collaborative (GIC), an initiative launched in March between the four cities along with Bloomberg Associates, Nitrous and Microsoft.

Equity and sustainability

According to UNESCO, the cultural and creative industries generate US$2.25 trillion a year and employ 29.5 million people worldwide.

Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said: “Culture and creation have been particularly hard hit hard by the pandemic. As we see hope returning and Paris reviving, it is time to get back on track in both of these key sectors.

“This international creative challenge, open to innovation players from all over the world, will be a unique opportunity to share our ideas and think about the future of the cultural and creative sectors that are essential to the prestige of our cities.”

Solutions submitted for the competition should address new public health, legal, technological and social challenges brought about by the pandemic and could come from digital, technology and financial companies.

Rachel Loeb, President and CEO, New York City Economic Development Corporation, said: “New York City is home to some of the world’s most iconic arts institutions. Supporting our cultural and creative sectors is essential to restoring jobs and reopening our businesses. We look forward to bringing the creative industry back to life.”

The cities seek ideas which “reimagine systems” to make creative and cultural industry companies financially viable and able to adapt to changing consumer behaviour. Solutions could relate to in-person or virtual gatherings and may include new technological platforms and other digital tools.

All proposals must address environmental sustainability and advance social equity in these sectors.

Role for data

Clare Barclay, CEO, Microsoft UK, said: “Technology has the potential to vastly transform cities with data and analytics to improve decision-making and collaboration across industries.”

Submissions are open until July 20, 2021. They will be evaluated by an international jury of city and industry representatives on the maturity of the concept and evidence of success in early pilots.

At least two finalists from each city will be selected on September 8, 2021 and will be provided with support to further develop, validate and trial their solutions with cities. One winner from each city will be announced by the GIC in December 2021, and their solutions will be promoted by the cities and founding partners.

Image: Juan Di Nella on Unsplash

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