Learning Cities

Lifelong learning to empower and unlock potential

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities consists of over 350 cities in 76 countries which are united in their determination to promote lifelong learning and, through it, sustainable development in their cities. UNESCO defines a learning city as a city that: effectively mobilises its resources in every sector to promote inclusive learning from basic to higher education; revitalises learning in families and communities; facilitates learning for and in the workplace; extends the use of learning technologies; enhances quality and excellence in learning; and fosters a culture of learning throughout life.

Explore the UK’s UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities


Belfast believes that Lifelong Learning plays a powerful role in creating a more equal, just and inclusive society. Belfast Learning City is working to raise the aspirations of its citizens, and in particular, those of its citizens that face multiple barriers in accessing learning. Everyone will have a part to play in this city. Over the coming years, it will create a learning culture for the city of Belfast that recognises and values all forms of learning.


Bristol is a great place to learn. Its schools are better than ever and its universities are world-class. However, it is also clear that Bristol is a city of contrasts and not everyone has the same opportunity to learn and prosper. Bristol Learning City wants everyone to be proud to learn throughout their lives, and is committed to creating and promoting learning opportunities for everyone.


Derby’s ambition is to deliver a successful sustainable future where its residents are supported to realize their full potential. Membership of UNESCO GNLC is pivotal in delivering on this ambition. As a member of the GNLC, key stakeholders within Derby will work together to deliver an annual Festival of Learning that will seek contributions from communities across the city to share further and encourage lifelong learning.

Derry City and Strabane Region

As a learning city, Derry City and Strabane Region want to increase participation in learning in all citizens by creating learning networks with local neighbourhoods, businesses, community groups, schools and colleges. All stakeholders will take ownership of the learning city brand; by continuing to work collaboratively, they will be able to create a connected learning city which provides learning opportunities for everyone.


Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city with a thriving economy and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning and cultural policies since 1999 when Glasgow launched itself as a learning city.

Glasgow’s vision is to have a world-class city with a thriving and inclusive economy where everyone can flourish and benefit from the city’s success. This vision means a growing economy that creates jobs and investment, builds on Glasgow’s position as a world-class city to tackle poverty, poor health and improves neighbourhoods. Glasgow believes in the transformational power of lifelong learning to empower citizens and build a prosperous city where all Glaswegians have access to development opportunities and celebrate learning across the lifespan.



Home to diverse and vibrant communities with strong identities and a rich cultural heritage that centres on textiles and music, Kirklees is known for its high-quality education provision and enduring strengths in advanced manufacturing and engineering.

The city’s 2030 Vision adopts a place-based approach, enabling everyone to build the skills, knowledge and confidence to take part in shaping the places where they live, work and play. There is a focus on early years and adult and community learning, quality and inclusive education, and vulnerable children.


Manchester is a thriving and diverse city, known as a ‘city of firsts’ in recognition of its innovative history dating back to the Industrial Revolution. Manchester is an international and outward looking city with learning at the heart of Manchester’s thriving and inclusive community, and is embedded in its history, schools, colleges, libraries, and universities.


Lifelong learning across the city is led by the Manchester Adult Skills Network, a strategic network consisting of public and civil service departments, universities, housing, training providers and more who collectively represent, engage with, and advocate for, Manchester’s residents.


When it comes to learning Swansea Learning City does don’t do ‘standing still’; they never have. As a learning city, they have a thirst for continual innovation, research, development and improvement. Swansea Learning City is creating an entrepreneurial culture that develops the regional economy and create a sustainable quality of life for all. Swansea will address barriers to participation, narrow the gap between rich and poor, enhance social cohesion and develop a thriving knowledge economy.


Wakefield District is ambitious for itself through art, culture, and ethos of lifelong learning, enabling bright futures in a progressive city for its residents, sharing experiences and bringing communities together under the banner of ‘Freedom Through Learning’.

The partners who represent ‘Learn Wakefield District’ have a shared passion to ensure that all residents and businesses encourage, engage, and celebrate learning for life, learning for work and learning for learning’s sake.


The City of Wolverhampton believes the key to personal, community and regional growth lies in the transformative power of learning to improve prosperity for all – learning of all types, at all levels and for all reasons. Wolverhampton Learning City is putting learning at the heart of its plans for the city to fulfill its citizens aspirations, create a more effective and skilled workforce, and engage adults in learning to improve health and wellbeing.