Spain’s Nine UNESCO Creative Cities
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network, (UCCN) which was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities where creativity has been defined as a key driver of sustainable urban development now boasts 9 Spanish cities in its 246 city global network.
The UN initiative aims to work “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.”
The creative areas covered are: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.
Of the nine Spanish cities presently in the network : Llíria and Seville are in the field of music; Barcelona and Granada in literature; Dénia and Burgos in gastronomy; Bilbao in design; and Terrassa and Valladolid in cinema.
Sevilla – Music
Sevilla is recognised as one of Spain´s great centres of creativity and musical activity, which reflects centuries of musical tradition and influence on a global scale.
Sevilla is a musical city and can be heard everywhere.
From symphonies, operas and public spaces dedicated to music, to foundations, youth organizations, schools and conservatories: the city offers all of its residents a way to become involved in creating and appreciating music. The city continues to support the industry at every level.
Its most famous music festival, the Bienal de Flamenco, showcases a musical genre that was recognized as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.
Bilbao – Design
Renowned for its rich industrial past, the Basque city has experienced a sweeping social, cultural and economic transformation as it moved to a post industrial age.
Creativity, design and culture are central to the city’s development strategy, owning to their important role for the development of the local communities, but also as a driver of the economic and social transformation.
Thanks to public and private support and extensive social involvement, Bilbao has become a reference point in such fields as architecture, industrial and interior design, new technologies, fashion, audio-visual, videogames and crafts.
This has allowed Bilbao to transform itself into a creative, dynamic and vibrant city.
Granada – Literature
Granada, the first Spanish-speaking UNESCO City of Literature, has a long history of being home to renowned poets, writers and intellectuals.
This tradition has made the city a reference in terms of literary production in the south of Spain and in the management of activities related to the art of speech since the 1970s.
Granada’s public and private institutions, publishing houses and solid network of bookshops provide spaces and synergies for a vibrant programme of literature-related activities.Hundreds of literary events are held in the city every year. The creative industries are one of the most dynamic sectors in Granada and have the largest rate of growth.
Burgos – Gastronomy
Burgos is internationally known for the caves of the Sierra of Atapuerca, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000, that have made the city an international hub for studies on human evolution. As a Creative City of Gastronomy, Burgos is leading on a pioneering study in gastronomic evolution.
Based on experimental studies on the consumptions of food energy by the human body, the Human Motors project, run by the National Centre for Research on Human Evolution, aims to raise awareness, at the local and international levels, on the linkages between food and human evolution. To this end, the University of Burgos (UBU) also joins forces with several programmes on food science, vanguard gastronomy, food safety, biotechnology and nutrition, by developing the design of new food with special characteristics aiming to improve cardiovascular health.
Dénia – Gastronomy
Situated at the eastern tip of Spain, Dénia is a Mediterranean port city with an ample space for traditional fishing. The gastronomy and food industries are the main economic drivers of the city, with more than 500 enterprises generating 2,500 direct jobs. Dénia’s vision of gastronomy particularly focuses on the emergence of innovative models of local food ecosystems.
The gastronomic sector draws inspiration from the Mediterranean diet and concepts such as Slow Food by promoting healthy food based on local resources and products with the goal of ensuring more sustainable development.
Dénia also emphasizes the importance of transversal approaches, as well as multistakeholders cooperation, to promote gastronomy by developing a wide range of activities and events involving both local and international actors.
Barcelona – Literature
Since the 19th century, Barcelona has been universally recognised as a publishing centre for Spanish, Latin American and Catalan literatures. The sector adds a 1.2 billion Euros value to the regional economy and has been consolidated both at the local level and at the international level.
The sector of literature in Barcelona maintains its international dynamism through the organization of a wide array of international book fairs. Programmes are undertaken to increase literacy and literary curiosity for the general public and specific audiences.
Barcelona has also a rich experience in international cooperation and commitment to placing creativity at the core of its urban policy agenda, by working toward an inclusive development approach based on economic feasibility, social equity, environmental responsibility and cultural vitality.
Terrassa – Film
With its first film screening held in 1887, Terrassa had already begun to establish itself as one of the pioneer cities in Spain for the film industry. The city set about consolidating its film industry in the first few years of the 21st century through the development of an educational ecosystem with audiovisual training and the building of the Centre for Conservation and Restoration of the Catalonian Film Archive.
In addition to being one of the most important centres of audiovisual creation in Spain, Terrassa is the location of the Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals (ESCAC) and the Catalonia Audiovisual Park, a major production centre composed of a number of film studios, an incubator for the creative industries and an enterprise cluster.
Lliria – Music
Today, music is a fundamental part of Llíria’s cultural identity, and the city is internationally recognized for its music scene. The city has a long-standing musical history tracing back as far as to the 3rd century BC.
Throughout the year, Llíria hosts a variety of music events including the International Festival of Heritage, Gastronomy and Music. This popular festival combines music with local gastronomy and Llírian heritage, providing a platform for artists, as well as showcasing regional cuisine. The city also holds a number of competitions aimed at music professionals and young artists, encouraging new and emerging performers.
Valladolid – Film
For more than 60 years, the Valladolid International Cinema Week (SEMINCI) has placed the city at the heart of international independent cinema. The city offers a programme of creative activities that seeks to inspire people vocationally, provide support for independent cinema, and foster the exploration of new cultural horizons, with the aim of using cinema to educate, integrate and generate wealth and equality.
Valladolid Film Office, created in 2014, seeks to raise the profile of the seventh art in the city by supporting film-making activity. Likewise, the University of Valladolid has been organizing summer courses in cinema aesthetics for 50 years.