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Cultural policy

World Cities Culture Forum and Bloomberg Philanthropies announce the second Leadership Exchange Programme

International leaders are invited to apply to the initiative which aims to advance cultural projects and explore the ways art can improve the quality of life for urban residents

Leadership Exchange Programme in Sydney Photo courtesy of WCCF

The World Cities Culture Forum, an organisation comprised of 38 international cities who have come together in an effort to bring the cultural sector into civic planning, has announced it will be accepting applications from participating cities to take part in their second Leadership Exchange Programme.

The forum, working with Bloomberg Philanthropies, first launched the Leadership Exchange Programme in 2018, with the aim to promote a dialogue between city leaders around advancing cultural projects and exploring the ways public art, local projects, policymaking and urban planning can improve the quality of life for residents.

“Global cities are very different, but these exchanges showcase how much they can learn from each other,” says Kate Levin, who oversees Bloomberg Philanthropies’s arts programme and who served as the commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs from 2002–2013. “The inaugural participants explored challenges including preserving affordable creative space, showcasing community cultural development, and indigenous arts. And everyone came away with new strategies, fresh perspectives, and an expanded network of professional colleagues across the public and private sectors.”

Levin adds that the programme is “designed to move beyond study to implementation, demonstrating the ways that culture can drive inspired, effective civic innovation. We love the mix of experimentation, best practices and connections that this exchange catalyzes, and are looking forward to seeing how the next group of participants uses this opportunity to improve their communities and the cultural sector broadly.”

The 2018 Leadership Exchange supported four exchanges between a total of nine cities. An exchange between Toronto and Sydney focused on indigenous placemaking through public art and urban design. Buenos Aires and London shared an exchange that focused on cultural accessibility through neighborhood policy and programming. London and New York had a cultural exchange that involved working with the London Waste and Recycling Board to promote creative reuse. And finally a large multi-city exchange between Amsterdam, Austin, London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto and Warsaw focused on cultural space development, advocating for local cultural hubs and identifying existing and potential spaces for artists to work.

Applications for the programme are available to participating cities starting today.