City of Media Arts to welcome Danish officials to York for cultural visit

A large group of senior cultural managers from Denmark are coming to York, for three days in April, to talk about the role of culture and creativity in our communities. The Danish partnership European Region of Culture was established as part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 and it consists of the 19 municipalities in the Central Denmark Region. 

The visit comes thanks to a close relationship between York and Viborg in Denmark, which were both designated UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts, York in 2014 and Viborg in 2020. The UNESCO Creative City network spans the world, with cities collaborating on the creation of new artworks, research initiatives, and placement opportunities, and sharing ideas on how creativity can improve lives across many different disciplines, from health to planning, from tourism to social care. The joint focus of Viborg and York on creativity, digitalization and animation makes this a highly relevant visit at a time where working with technology is essential in all fields, not least in culture. 

“We look forward to visiting York with our partnership European Region of Culture. York represents important and successful experiences regarding ideas and creativity and is a role model in many aspects of the cultural and creativity industries. We have an ambitious partnership which right now has a strong and necessary focus on sustainability and digitalization from a cultural perspective and we want to reach out to and learn from the best. To us, York is the optimal place to visit,” says Kim Kofod Hansen, Development Director at the Central Denmark Region and chairman of the European Region of Culture.  

The Danish visitors will be welcomed in the Council Chamber by the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Carr, followed by an address by the Danish Ambassador to the UK, Rene Dinesen. There will be responses Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and from Anna Nsubuga, for HM Government. 

“After the Danish city of Aarhus was selected as European Capital of Culture in 2017, officials from Midtjylland have undertaken regular study visits to explore good practice in other cities. It is fantastic that they have chosen York for this year’s trip, and a testament to the close work between the creative sector in York and our colleagues in Viborg,” explains Owen Turner, Master of the Guild of Media Arts. “Through the Creative Cities network, we have undertaken a number of projects together, including the children’s project ‘Drawings of Hope’, the online artists’ collaboration Immersive Assembly, and we are working actively on the presentation of our shared Viking heritage.” 

York’s newly refurbished Guildhall will play host to a series of meetings, with the generous support of the University of York. Working sessions will see the visitors receive presentations from leading figures in York’s creative sector about the role of culture and creativity in addressing the issues such as the increasing impact of digital technology, how best to ensure that our urban communities are sustainable in cultural as well as economic and environmental terms, and the financial support needed for success.  

“There is a significant difference between the way local government works in the UK and Denmark, with projects that are grant- or privately-funded initiatives here coming under local authority control in Denmark, but the role of creativity – and particularly our expertise in digital technology – is a common thread across both countries,” adds Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts.   

“It’s the vision of the York Culture Strategy that by 2025 York is known as a city where outstanding, renowned heritage comes together with a cutting-edge contemporary approach to creativity, reflecting the city’s rich history and its status as the UK’s first UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. This visit very much supports and furthers the aims of the city’s Culture Strategy: it will be a great opportunity to share learnings, best practice, and discuss ways of working across culture, the creative sector, and beyond. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our visitors and having these interesting discussions together,” adds Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York. 


NOTE: The Guild of Media Arts is York’s membership organisation for the creative sector. The Guild is the Focal Point of York UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts 

Contact: Organiser – Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts E: M: 07920 450201  

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising  
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

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