Danish officials receive Civic welcome at Guildhall

A large group of senior cultural managers from Denmark have arrived in York to talk about the role of culture and creativity in our communities. They received a formal welcome on 17th April by the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Carr, in the Guildhall’s Council Chamber. The speakers responding were His Excellency the Danish Ambassador to the UK, Rene Dinesen; the Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Simon Mellor; for HM Government, Anna Nsubuga and the Director of Development, Region Midtjylland, Kim Kofod Hansen.

The Mid Jutland European Region of Culture was established as part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017. It consists of the 19 municipalities in the Central Denmark Region.

The Study 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 Cities 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 in many ways, from health to planning, from tourism to social care. The joint focus of Viborg and York on creativity, digitalization and sustainability makes this a highly relevant visit at a time where working with technology is essential in all fields, not least in culture.

York’s newly refurbished Guildhall was a splendid setting for a series of meetings taking place over three days, and facilitated by the generous support of the University of York. Working sessions saw the visitors receive presentations from leading figures in York’s creative sector, about the role of culture and creativity in addressing 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.

Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts and the York organiser of the Study Visit says ‘this was an excellent opportunity to talk about the conditions for the success of culture and creative industries in York, and to share ideas about the opportunities for the creative economy in our two countries.’

Kim Kofod Hansen, leader of the delegation and Development Director of Region Midtjylland, said ‘although this was a very short visit, the opportunity to visit cultural organisations, hear about strategic priorities at national and regional level, and to hear about the realities of working life in the creative sector in York, was invaluable. You can be sure many of us will return.’

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, said: “It was really rewarding to meet with colleagues from Denmark this week, to share knowledge and discuss key initiatives and innovations in culture in both York and Denmark. The visit very much supported the Culture Strategy’s focus on raising the city’s profile internationally, through the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.” 

Note: The Guild of Media Arts was established in 2015 to support and promote the creative sector and to act as the Focal Point for York as a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts, working with City of York Council and Make It York.

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