Exeter has been named a UNESCO Creative City of Literature..
The UNESCO Global Creative Cities Network is a global network of cities working towards the joint mission of placing creativity and cultural industries at the core of their urban development to make their cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable. Made up of 246 Members, UNESCO Creative Cities specialise in seven fields: Crafts & Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts.
NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR CULTURE AT THE UK NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR UNESCO, HELEN MACLAGAN, SAID:
“Many congratulations to Exeter on becoming a UNESCO Creative City. Winning UNESCO accreditation is a real accolade, reflecting the strength in depth of your communities in the area of literature. A UNESCO Creative City is not a one-year-only title, but represents a lasting commitment and a long-term opportunity to benefit from membership of the global UNESCO family, working in partnership with colleagues around the world.”
CLLR RACHEL SUTTON, LEAD COUNCILLOR FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND CULTURE, SAID:
““I am absolutely thrilled with the news – it is a huge honour for Exeter that will unlock exciting new opportunities for everyone in the city to engage in culture.””
Exeter is emerging as a scientific and creative hub, and its 2040 Strategy Plan sets out a bold vision, with Good Health and Wellbeing the top UN Sustainable Goal (SDG 3), leveraging the city’s key cultural assets to promote individual and collective health across society. The aim is to make Exeter an inclusive and healthy city of readers, raising the profile of Exeter’s writers internationally, enriching their practice via new global partnerships, and sharing outputs with the wider network through the engaged research into living better through literature.
Although Exeter is a small city, located in the south west of England, the steering group also represents the ambitions of the rural areas surrounding Exeter, (located as it is on a ridge and a river), including the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark. Exeter also has strong links with Africa, and co-produces the Africa Writes Festival to promote African literature to UK readers.
Exeter joins the UK Network of 10 other Creative Cities: Edinburgh, Norwich, Nottingham and Manchester (Literature), Glasgow and Liverpool (Music), Dundee (Design), Bradford and Bristol (Film), York (Media Arts). Exeter is well placed to become a strong addition to the Creative Cities Network and will make a valuable contribution to the existing Creative Cities of the UK, and globally.
Becoming a UNESCO Creative City does not just celebrate the City’s creative output, it also means that Exeter must have plans in place to improve access to and participation in cultural life across the city, especially for marginalised or vulnerable groups and individuals.
Exeter hopes to use literature as a way to reduce inequalities and barriers, and promote inclusivity.
DON JINKS, DIRECTOR OF EXEXTER CULTURE, SAID:
“This is so positive for Exeter. The bid made much of the city’s wide variety of historical assets. But it is actually much more about culture supporting the well-being of everyone in the city today, including those who may not currently see themselves engaging with culture.”
Settled 2,000 years ago, a centre of international trade in 1700’s, the City is emerging as a
scientific & creative tech hub. Its 1,000 year old Cathedral houses The Exeter Book, a C10th anthology inscribed into UNESCO’s UK World Memory. Exeter stands at the gateway to the South West region: its writers past and present enrich the world’s literary canon. Exeter University is recognised among the top most international in the world; its public library pioneers a new business model UK wide.