Kozhikode and Gwalior: India’s Latest UNESCO Creative Cities

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On World Cities Day, UNESCO announced the addition of 55 new cities to its Creative Cities Network, marking a significant expansion of this global initiative. Among the newcomers, Kozhikode and Gwalior from India received distinctive titles, positioning them as hubs of culture and creativity. Kozhikode earned the prestigious designation of “City of Literature,” while Gwalior secured the title of “City of Music.”

Recognition for Creative Commitment

UNESCO’s decision to include Kozhikode and Gwalior in the Creative Cities Network underscores their strong commitment to fostering culture and creativity as integral components of their development strategies. These cities have showcased innovative approaches to human-centered urban planning, contributing to their selection.

Diverse Network of Creative Cities

With this latest inclusion, UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network now comprises 350 creative cities from across the globe, spanning over 100 countries. These cities represent seven diverse creative fields, which include Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.

Kozhikode’s Journey to City of Literature

Kozhikode’s journey to becoming a City of Literature began in 2022 when the Kerala Institute of Local Administration proposed the idea. The Kozhikode Corporation swiftly acted on the proposal and collaborated with the University of Prague in the Czech Republic. Prague was the first city to receive the City of Literature title in 2014, making it a valuable mentor for Kozhikode.

Thorough Preparation and Fulfillment of Criteria

Kozhikode’s preparations for the City of Literature title involved a comparative study with Prague, conducted by Ludmila Kolouchova, a research student from the University of Prague. Her findings highlighted Kozhikode’s rich literary landscape, boasting over 500 libraries, more than 70 publishers, and serving as a host for events like the Kerala Literature Festival and various book festivals.

Creative City Annual Conference

The newly designated creative cities, including Kozhikode and Gwalior, have been invited to participate in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network annual conference, scheduled from July 1 to 5, 2024, in Braga, Portugal. The conference will focus on the theme “Bringing youth to the table for the next decade,” emphasizing the vital role of the younger generation in shaping the creative future of these cities.