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Seoul to host World Cities Culture Summit

Oct 31,2017
Seoul is hosting the World Cities Culture Summit (WCCS) from Wednesday to Friday, where some 100 experts on culture from 35 cities will discuss policies to encourage more citizen participation in the enjoyment of cultures to address some of today’s socioeconomic challenges.

“We will explore how culture plays its part in addressing the great challenges of the day from inequality, to sustainable growth, to the threat of climate change,” the WCCS Seoul states on its website. “This is a time for fresh thinking. How do cities enable the debate and discussion that citizens demand, enhance the lives of their inhabitants, and help fulfill the ambitions of their creative entrepreneurs?”

The forum is the sixth one organized and participated in by 35 member cities of the World Cities Culture Forum, which include Amsterdam, Bogota, Chengdu, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Istanbul, New York, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo and Warsaw.

This year’s summit, “Beyond the Creative City: New Civic Agendas for Citizens and by Citizens,” is organized and supported by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture BOP Consulting and Mayor of London.

“The WCCS will be focusing on how global cities can shape their cultural policies to ensure the happiness of the people,” said Seo Jeong-hyup, head of the Culture Headquarters of the Seoul city government. “The summit will be an opportunity for global cultural experts to chart the way forward on cultural policies and discuss some of the paradigms in cultural policies of Seoul together.”

Novelist Hwang Sok-yong will deliver the keynote speech, and the three-day summit will kick off Wednesday at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in eastern Seoul with welcoming remarks from Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.

The member cities will hold two workshops that day, one on how cultural policy makers can shape policies on climate change, during which members will discuss successful cases in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York and Seoul, and another will be on urban development and the creative economy, looking at successful cases in Austin, London, Sydney and Vienna.

Seoul will be presenting its case on upcycling, or creative reuse, especially in regards to the establishment of its public upcycling institute, the Seoul Upcycling Plaza, which opened in September.

On Thursday, member cities will hold three breakout sessions - one on culture and politics at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, one on culture and community at Nagwon Instrument Arcade and another on small-scale creative production at Sewoon Electronics Department Store, which was recently renovated.

The summit will conclude on Friday with a public session at the Seoul City Hall on how cultural policies can address some of the socioeconomic struggles of today, including congestion, inequality and climate change.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]