Creative Cities

Home         Accreditation         Designation

Become a UNESCO Creative City

Why Apply?

UNESCO Creative Cities aim to strengthen international cooperation between cities that have recognised creativity as a strategic factor of their sustainable development. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. 

The cities which currently make up this network 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. 

Any city that joins the network must work to ‘preserve’ their unique creative field (e.g.Crafts and Folk Art; Design; Film; Gastronomy; Literature; Media Arts; and Music) through public initiatives, local development strategies, and better access to and greater participation in the city’s cultural life. Organisations wishing to apply to become a UNESCO Creative City must submit their application through the UK National Commission for UNESCO. Information on our UK process, including deadlines for the present cycle, is available in the sections below.

The Process

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) aims to strengthen cooperation with and among cities that have recognised creativity as a strategic factor of sustainable development. 

By joining the Network, cities acknowledge their commitment to sharing best practice, developing partnerships that promote creativity and the cultural industries, strengthening participation in cultural life, and integrating culture in urban development plans. 

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.

Step 1: Call for applications

The Call for applications is now biennial and exact dates vary. Cities are encouraged to start preparations well in advance. It is recommended that the interest is registered with us in order for applications to take full advantage of the advice and support provided. 

Only applications of the highest standard will be endorsed by us and submitted to UNESCO, who will in turn also review each application before inviting a city to join the UNESCO Creative City Network.

Step 2: Build your team

It is essential that the City Mayor gives full endorsement to the proposal, and it is advisable to create a management team within the local public authority which includes all relevant stakeholders such as creators, cultural and creative industries professionals, universities and academia, youth organisations, relevant NGOs and associations. The city will also need to decide which of the seven creative fields it wishes to cover.

Step 3: Expert Review

All proposals for this programme are evaluated by us through a peer-review process. We identify independent pro-bono experts in the relevant field to assess each application. These reviewers are guided by the criteria and guidelines set out by UNESCO, using their expert knowledge of the sector/issues in question, and we are guided by their recommendations on whether or not to endorse the application.

Step 4: Outcome

If relevant, feedback from the reviewers will be provided to the applicant to assist in completing the application to the highest standard. Differences in reviewer recommendations are reconciled by the UKNC Chair and the UKNC Director for Culture, who hold final authority on endorsement decisions. These decisions are final, although applicants are entitled to an explanation of any decision regarding their application. We reserve the right for our independent reviewers to remain anonymous.

Step 5: Submission to UNESCO

A letter of endorsement from us will be included with successful applications which are submitted by the applicant’s management team on the formal application form, by email.

Step 6: Awaiting the outcome from UNESCO

The UNESCO review can take several months. Ongoing support is provided by us during the period if required. We will continue to support successful nominations from the announcement of the outcomes.

Key Information

Make sure you read the important information below before you apply.

You must apply through the UK National Commission for UNESCO. Expressions of interest are welcome.

STATUS:   Closed for Applications



FOR WHO:   UK Organisations



This accreditation is currently closed for applications. If you have any questions, get in touch with the UK National Commission for UNESCO via our contact form

Begin your application

Make sure you have checked you are eligible for this accreditation before applying. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Submit your Expression of Interest     

Accreditation type: Creative City

Begin your application to become a UNESCO Creative City

Submit your Expression of Interest