European Capital of Culture Conference in Florence

Florence hosted the first European Capital of Culture Conference on November 5th and 6th, 2019.

The summit aimed to celebrate and bring together for the first time representives of the European cities that have been declared capitals of culture since 1985, when the initiative was first launched, including future award winners. Among those present were Italy’s Minister for Cultural Heritage, Alberto Bonisoli, and the European Commissioner for Culture, Education, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics.

The goal of the event was to take stock of the experience and benefits that the Institute of the Capital of Culture has brought to the process of European integration and, from time to time, to the cities themselves. Representatives were present at the conference from Florence, Porto, Dublin, Turku, Santiago de Compostela San Sebastian, Matera, Sibiu, Cork and Brussels.

The conference, which started by presenting two works created for the occasion by Emilio Isgrò, took place in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio. It also included a fascinating cultural debate between Eike Schmidt, Director of the Uffizi Gallery, James Bradburne, Director of the Pinacoteca di Brera, and Cristiana Collu, Director General of the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. There were also thematic seminars held between experts in the sector focussing on the economic aspects of culture as a driving force for economic growth, for example to the creative industry; challenges and opportunities for cities of art with regards to contemporary tourism; the need to protect heritage; and the benefits of dialogue and cultural policies for social integration.

At the end of the event, a declaration was signed that - in underlining the importance of culture as an indispensable tool for dialogue, growth, identity and cohesion, as well as economic growth - proposed a shared strategy that recognises culture as a growing priority in the European public agenda, both in terms of policies and in terms of resources, at all levels, from local to supranational.

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