Tag Archives: Unesco

The Network of Creative Cities got new members, also cities with strong heritage in literature

2017-11-04

Unesco, a United Nations organization, has an appealing initiative: Creative City. The organization wants to promote cooperation among cities that have introduced sustainable development as a key element into their strategies. In addition, if the city is supporting creative initiatives, it can be nominated into the Unesco Creative Cities Network. Literature is one of the seven creative themes that identify the network members.

city wall painting. photo by brillianthues
The Network covers seven creative fields: crafts and folk arts, media arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music. Recently, in October 2017, 64 new cities joined the network of creative cities. The total count is 180 cities in 72 countries.

Unesco has listed seven cities as literature-specific. They are:

Bucheon (Republic of Korea)
Durban (South Africa)
Lillehammer (Norway)
Manchester (United Kingdom)
Milan (Italy)
Québec City (Canada)
Utrecht (Netherlands)

Four out of seven cities are in Europe, but other than that, there are not many similarities between them. Lillehammer and Utrecht are not big cities, whereas the others are more or less large and busy cities.

Edinburgh joined the network of creative cities already earlier with literature as its key art form. The video below shows some literature specific activities and places in Edinburgh, but it also shows how wonderful travel destination the city is.

Unesco defines the creative city concept as follows:

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 116 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

New cities that recently joined the Creative Cities Network (other than literature-related) are the following:

Alba (Italy) – Gastronomy
Almaty (Kazakhstan) – Music
Amarante (Portugal) – Music
Auckland (New Zealand) – Music
Baguio City (Philippines) – Crafts and Folk Art
Barcelos (Portugal) – Crafts and Folk Art
Braga (Portugal) – Media Arts
Brasilia (Brazil) – Design
Bristol (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Film
Brno (Czechia) – Music
Buenaventura (Colombia) – Gastronomy
Cairo (Egypt) – Crafts and Folk Art
Cape Town (South Africa) – Design
Carrara (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art
Changsha (China) – Media Arts
Chennai (India) – Music
Chiang Mai (Thailand) – Crafts and Folk Art
Chordeleg (Ecuador) – Crafts and Folk Art
Cochabamba (Bolivia [Plurinational State of]) – Gastronomy
Daegu Metropolitan City (Republic of Korea) – Music
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – Design
Frutillar (Chile) – Music
Gabrovo (Bulgaria) – Crafts and Folk Art
[City of] Greater Geelong (Australia) – Design
Guadalajara (Mexico) – Media Arts
Hatay Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) – Gastronomy
Istanbul (Turkey) – Design
João Pessoa (Brazil) – Crafts and Folk Art
Kansas City (United States of America) – Music
Kolding (Denmark) – Design
Kortrijk (Belgium) – Design
Košice (Slovakia) – Media Arts
Kütahya (Turkey) – Crafts and Folk Art
Limoges (France) – Crafts and Folk Art
Łódź (Poland) – Film
Macao Special Administrative Region, China (Associate Member, UNESCO) – Gastronomy
Madaba (Jordan) – Crafts and Folk Art
Mexico City (Mexico) – Design
Morelia (Mexico) – Music
Norrköping (Sweden) – Music
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – Crafts and Folk Art
Panama City (Panama) – Gastronomy
Paraty (Brazil) – Gastronomy
Pesaro (Italy) – Music
Porto-Novo (Benin) – Crafts and Folk Art
Praia (Cabo Verde) – Music
Qingdao (China) – Film
San Antonio (United States of America) – Gastronomy
Seattle (United States of America) – Literature
Sheki (Azerbaijan) – Crafts and Folk Art
Sokodé (Togo) – Crafts and Folk Art
Terrassa (Spain) – Film
Tétouan (Morocco) – Crafts and Folk Art
Toronto (Canada) – Media Arts
Tunis (Tunisia) – Crafts and Folk Art
Wuhan (China) – Design
Yamagata City (Japan) – Film

Via Publishing Perspectives.

Fun and rewarding World Book Day 2017 experiences around the globe

2017-04-20

World Book Day 2017 is celebrated on Sunday 23rd April in thousands of locations across the globe. Also known as the World Book and Copyright Day, the purpose is the share the joy of reading (and why not writing, too) with other people. The story goes that the date was picked because in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died on that day.

Unesco has a web page where you can register your own book or copyright -related event. There is also a map where you can view events taking place on the World Book Day. One place with a large number of events is Conakry, Guinea because it has been designated the World Book Capital 2017 by Unesco.

The best way to find even small events is to browse the event calendar of your home town. The usual suspects are libraries and bookstores.

H-P VIrkki interveiew at the Ebook fair in Helsinki, FInland
One of the most memorable World Book Day events for us took place in Finland a couple of years ago. Possibly the world’s first Ebook Fair was organized and streamed live via the Internet to book lovers who could watch interviews of authors at their homes and in offices. One of the interviewed authors was H-P Virkki who talked about his book Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts.

Here are a few moments from past World Book Day events.

Go to DOnostia/San Sebastian

World Book Day in San Sebastian, Spain. Photo by Go to Donostia/San Sebastian.

North Ireland. Photo by Northern Ireland Executive.

A map of most popular books by country was created by backforward24:
Literature world map by backforward24

Literature map of Europe (backforward24 at imgur):
Europe literature map backforward24

Five new Unesco World Heritage sites located in Europe

2016-10-12

If a destination has been granted the honor of being included in the Unesco World Heritage List, it usually means that the site worth visiting and exploring. Recently, we were traveling in central Spain, and on a chilly morning we arrived in a town called Avila. We hadn’t done any research because we intended to drive through the town. There was, however, something interesting on top of the hill in the town center. Closer inspection revealed that a large ancient town was located inside a kilometers/miles long stone wall. A magnificent travel destination, and a Unesco World Heritage site since 1985.
avila, spain. a walled city
In 2016, five new sites in Europe were granted the title World Heritage Site by Unesco. They are:

Antequera Dolmens Site (Spain) – in Malaga region.
Archaeological Site of Ani (Turkey) – a medieval city on the Armenian border.
Archaeological Site of Philippi (Greece) – in north-eastern Greece.
Gorham’s Cave Complex (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – the site is in Gibraltar.
Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 28 sites located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, western Serbia, western Montenegro and central and southern Croatia.

Antequera Dolmens by Feli Garcia

In other parts of the world, the new (nominated in 2016) World Heritage Sites are:

Antigua Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites (Antigua and Barbuda)
Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar (India)
Archipiélago de Revillagigedo (Mexico)
Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape (Chad)
Hubei Shennongjia (China)
Khangchendzonga National Park (India)
Lut Desert (Iran (Islamic Republic of))
Mistaken Point (Canada)
Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Micronesia (Federated States of))
Pampulha Modern Ensemble (Brazil)
Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay – Mukkawar Island Marine National Park (Sudan)
The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: Refuge of Biodiversity and the Relict Landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities (Iraq)
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (Argentina)
The Persian Qanat (Iran (Islamic Republic of))
Western Tien-Shan (Kazakhstan) *
Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (China)

To be included on the Unesco World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. The ten criteria are:

1) to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
2) to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
3) to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
4) to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
5) to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
6) to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance;
7) to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
8) to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
9) to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
10) to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Barcelona, Spain selected as the city of literature 2016 by Unesco

2015-12-21

Each year Unesco, a United Nations organization that focuses on development of education, science and culture, nominates a number of cities for different fields of culture that constitute the Creative Cities Network. For instance, film, music, media arts, gastronomy, design, crafts and literature get their own global capitals. For 2016, the City of Literature is Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain.

barcelona la rambla on sant jordi, by nuria

La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain occupied by book lovers during Sant Jordi. Photo by Nuria.


Cities can apply Unesco for nomination. Barcelona focused its application on the city’s heritage in publishing literature in two official languages of Catalonia: Spanish and Catalan. The city also has a lively publishing scene and it is renowned as the place where the World Book Day was invented.

Barcelona already has plans for 2016 for a program that promote literature and literary trade in the city. Some already agreed activities are:

Villa Joana – Casa Verdaguer Literature (Verdaguer House of Literature) in Vallvidrera will open after renovation.
Additional subsidies to libraries.
Activities to promote the work of editors.
Sant Jordi day – The World Book Day started in Barcelona, and special celebration are planned.

La Vanguardia reported the news.