ADD2030 World Cities Culture Forum 2016-17

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
19 September 2016
Decision by: 
Jackie Mcnerney, Acting Head of Culture

Executive summary

The World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) was established in London in 2012.

Over the past 4 years it has expanded from 9 to 33 cities which all recognise the importance of culture in a successful thriving city. London leads the initiative with Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture & Creative Industries acting as Chair.  Approval is required to support attendance, appoint consultants to run the programme and attend events associated with the Forum.


That the Acting Head of Culture approves:

  • Expenditure of £25,000 on the World Cities Culture Forum 2016-17 programme including:
    • attendance of three Culture Team staff at the next World Cities Culture Forum event in Moscow in  October 2016
    • continuing contract with external consultant for management of the programme
    • and other relevant events/memberships

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The World Cities Culture Forum is the biggest global network of senior leaders from 33 city governments who are all championing the pivotal role of culture in cities. They realise that culture needs to be the golden thread running across city policy from education to regeneration, from housing to health.

Each year an unprecedented gathering of cultural officials come together to share ideas and knowledge about culture’s role in public policy in a world city context. The Summit is a chance to share successes, learn from mistakes and together build the arguments and evidence we need to re-position culture in global cities. London has hosted the summit twice (2012 and 2015) Istanbul hosted in 2013, Amsterdam in 2014 and Moscow is hosting from 5 to 7 October 2016.

Increasingly cities are using this powerful network to share ideas, ask for advice and work together on solutions on common problems.  London is currently in conversation with San Francisco about provision of artists workspace, New York about its ID/Culture card, Sydney, Vienna and Amsterdam about their initiatives to open up access to culture through culture passes.  We are also talking to Shanghai about opportunities for London’s cultural organisations to tour and find sponsors.

The  World Cities Culture Report published in 2015  is a vital tool to show the key role that culture plays in the success of cities.  It is the most comprehensive data on world cities that exists today.  It is an evidence base about the many and wide-ranging ways in which culture impacts on a world city and its inhabitants. The key theme of the Report is that Culture needs to be the golden thread running across city policy from education to regeneration, from housing to health. It shows that culture plays an integral role in shaping the world city’s identity, economy and public policy and has now been translated into 7 languages.

In 2016 a new report looking at financing culture will be published and work has also started on a report on employment to be published in 2017.

Current members are:

Amsterdam, Austin, Bogota, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Dakar Dubai, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, LA, London, Madrid, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Paris,  Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Shenzen, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna and Warsaw.

The GLA has committed to a 2 year contract with BOP Consultants to manage the day to day relationship with the cities until March 2017. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

During 2016-17, the WCCF will deliver another summit in Moscow from 5 to 7 October. With over 25 cities being represented by over 60 delegates.  The Summit will explore themes including:

  • How cultural leaders can influence the urban agenda beyond their role – working with regeneration, housing, health, education etc
  • How can cities work more strategically to link culture and climate change agendas
  • How can the creative power of culture function within the challenges of city bureaucracy
  • How can cities make space for culture
  • How can technology create inclusive, participatory  cities of the future
  • What next for culture in world cities

Following the Summit a policy briefing will be produced, summarising the key discussions and themes.

A new finance report, looking at different financing models for culture across the members will be launched by the end of 2016.

Increasingly the network are learning from each other and sharing best practice.  London in particular is working with other cities, since the arrival of the new Mayor who has put culture at the core of his administration.  Collaborations are also taking place eg

  • Amsterdam and New York co-organising a trade mission of Amsterdam artists to New York in September 2016
  • Sydney helping Toronto on developing their vision for their waterfront. 
  • Paris and New York planning a Tandem of cultural events in 2016

Other city networks exist covering related issues eg Global Cultural Districts Network and Eurocities.  The World Cities Culture Forum needs to work in partnership with these networks to expand and develop its work in the future.  Membership includes updates on initiatives happening in other cities and attendance at events to learn from other cities and present  London’s perspective – both successes and challenges.


2 x new partner cities signed on to programme

1 x annual summit planned and hosted in Moscow

1 x briefing  paper published and launched

1 x Finance report published and launched

Attendance at World Cities Culture Summit in Moscow

 Attendance at relevant summits to discuss the work of the Mayor of London, WCCF and learn from other network and cities.

Equality comments

The World Cities Culture Forum includes discussions on access to culture for all citizens and share examples of good practice.  The annual summits provide opportunities for expo sessions and in the past Moscow, Madrid, Singapore and Amsterdam have presented on the challenges they have faced in ensuring all citizens have the opportunities to access culture for discussion with other cities.

In Moscow this year, a session will be held looking at how technology can create inclusive, participatory cities of the future.

Other considerations

London founded the Forum in 2012 and is seen as the leader of the initiative with Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture & Creative Industries the Chair.  The Forum has gone from success to success growing from 9 to 33 cities in 3 years and the increasing conversations between cities sharing challenges and solutions.  If the Mayor did not continue to lead and fund this initiative, it would have significant reputational damage with other cities and partners. It would also have a negative affect on the Mayor’s priority to ensure London maintains its position as a world class city of culture.


Financial comments

The estimated cost is £25,000 and will be funded from the Communities and Intelligence Minor Programme Budget for 2016/17. 

Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. 

All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Announcement of next WCCF Summit in Moscow

17 May 2016

Fourth annual WCCF Summit in Moscow

5 -7 Oct 2016

Briefing paper published following Moscow Summit

December 2016

Publication of WCCF Finance Report

December 2016

Attendance at Global Cultural Districts Network

2-4 Nov 2016

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