Poland’s cities of Krakow and Katowice, Creative Cities of Literature and Music respectively, jointly hosted the annual meeting of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network from 12 to 15 June in 2018. It was for the first time that the organization’s annual meeting was co-hosted by two cities.
More than 350 delegates, including 40 mayors, representing the 180 cities of UNESCO Creative Cities Network attended the meeting under the main theme “creative crossroads” encouraging links between various creative sectors of creative cities.
Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Krakow, Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice, and Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, opened the meeting (12 June, 9am to 10.30am). Maria Francesca Merloni, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Creative Cities, and the poet Tyehimba Jess presented their views as artists on the development of cities during the opening.
"Culture and the creative industries represent real levers of economic, social and environmental development,” declared Ernesto Ottone R. “By mobilizing very diverse cities, from metropolises to smaller towns, the Creative Cities Network serves above all as a space for exchange and for the sharing of experiences to invent the city of tomorrow. It offers a unique platform to support and enhance local and international actions undertaken by the Network’s members to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The 12th Annual Meeting provided participants with an opportunity to exchange and share ideas and experiences on themes such as creativity and culture for a better quality of life in cities, the impact of digital arts on work and production, necessary changes in consumption and manufacture in the face of environmental challenges.
Launched in 2004 to promote creative and sustainable urban governance, the Creative Cities Network numbers 180 cities in 72 countries focusing on any of seven areas of creativity: crafts and popular arts, digital arts, design, film, gastronomy, literature and music.
Next year’s UCCN meeting will be hosted by Fabriano, UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts.
Tongyeong Municipal Boys and Girls Choir visited Kanazawa, Japan to perform in the Spring Green Music Festival from 2 May to 5 May.
Hosted by the city of Kanazawa and Ishikawa Ongakudo, Kanazawa Spring Green Music Festival is annually held during the Golden Week in the beautiful spring season. Focusing on classical music performances, as many as about 170 concerts of other various musical performances and community engagement events take place at venues across the city. 2018 edition of the Festival was held from 28 April to 5 May.
The Tongyeong Children Choir, all wearing pastel toned Hanbok, presented their choral work of Korean songs and folk songs on the stage of “ A Chroral Day” n 3rd of May at Koryu Hall of Ishikawa Concert Hall. About 210 students , the member of 7 chors in Kanazawa also participated on the stage. Tongyeong Municipal Boys and Girls has been the first choir group from oversees in the Kanazawa Festival since the launce of “A Chroal Day” in the Festival.
During their brief visit, the Tongyeong Boys and Girls also performed in other 4 different venues including ANA Crown Plaza Hotel lobby and Hotel Nikko Kanazawa lobby. The citizens of Kanazawa welcomed the kids from Tongyeong and enjoyed the songs they made in harmony.
The most fascinating part of this tour was that homestay activity to make teenagers engagement more interesting and meaningful was added, thanks to the support of Ishikawa Ongakudo. As families relevant to Ishikawa Ongakudo kindly hosted the teenagers from Tongyeong at their homes, they had indelible moments during their visit, apart from singing on the stage in Kanazawa, Japan.
As music ambassador of Tongyeong, Tongyeong Municipal Boys and Girls Choir went on their first overseas trip to Hamamatsu, UNESCO Creative City of Music on the occasion of the World Music Festival in Hamamatsu 2016. Two years later, the Choir made debut in the Kanazawa Music Festival.
Tongyeong has cooperated with Kanazawa, UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts through exchange of professional artists; Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa performed in the Tongyeong International Music Festival 2016 and Tongyeong Festival Orchestra performed in Kanazawa in April of 2018. Tongyeong Children Choir’s visit is one of a number of projects which will bring the two cities closer together.
The city of Tongyeong strongly believes in the benefits to children of experiencing musical excellence and cultural heritage. It is hoped that in the future, favorable opportunities for student engagement will be generated in further cooperation with other creative cities.
An unveiling ceremony of a stone monument was held on 3. November, the day of remembering the 22nd year of Isang Yun’s death at the Isang Yun Memory Hall. The ceremony was organized to mark the reopening of the hall with a new name.
Although the hall was built near the site of the birthplace of Isang Yun to remember the late Tongyeong-born world-renowned composer in 2010, it could not be named after Isang Yun but as Docheon Theme Park due to the heated , protracted ideological dispute relating to him.
Isang Yun is the first and most important Asian composer, who achieved international acclaim in the Korean music history. His tarnished reputation was officially restored in his home country, but he is still not appreciated as much and as for what he should be due to ongoing prejudice and political differences.
Last August, a civil group in Tongyeong known as Golden Wave submitted a proposal to the city council to bring the right name back to the hall. Later, the council supported the proposal and voted unanimously to rename the hall, making changes to the regulation on the management and operation of the hall.
The memorial hall finally regained its title back. This event adds historic meaning to the celebration of the centennial of Isang Yun as the city of Tongyeong, together with Tongyeong International Music Foundation, and other related organizations, are all collaborating with a number of festivities in his honor.
The tide has turned more favorably towards him as seen in the country’s recent political developments. The changing political climate along with the momentum of his 100th anniversary has brought more attention to the life and feats of the late composer. Isang Yun was never able to return his home country, but his music returned. The Tongyeong International Music Festival and the Isang Yun Competition will continue to keep alive his legacy.
The Korean Notional Commission for UNESCO in cooperation with the city of Tongyeong hosted “2017 UNESCO Creative Cities Network Workshop” on 21. November at the Grand Ballroom of Standford Hotel & Resort in Tongyeong.
Officials of the Korean cities appointed as UNESCO Creative Cities gathered together with experts in the field of culture and urban development to attend the workshop featuring three sessions of ‘UNESCO Creative Cities and Sustainable Development,’ ‘Korean UNESCO Creative Cities Activities,’ and ‘the future direction of the Creative Cities Network.’
For the session titled ‘Korean UNESCO Cities Activities’ arranged to share their UCCN activities both at local and international levels, the Tongyeong city presented a variety of projects that have been done in 2017 in order to celebrate the centenary of Isang Yun, who is foremost in its recognition by UNESCO as a city of music.
The UNESCO Creative Cities network workshop has been held for 3 years, serving as a comprehensive platform to share success stories of sustainable urban development among the Korean UNESCO Creative Cities and to discuss how to make use of the Network with the presence of those who are specialized in the culture and urban development. This kind of national sub-network also offers an opportunity to consolidate working relationships among the Korea cities and enable them to coordinate their activities.
At this annual gathering, the UCCN officials of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO emphasized the importance of understanding the vision of the Network towards incorporating the objectives of the UN 2030 Sustainable Goal Agenda and New Urban Agenda.
Tongyeong hosted the 8th General Assembly of Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia-Pacific Cities(TPO) from October 18th to 21st of 2017. TPO is an international network of Asia-Pacific Cities established since 2002 for the purpose of promoting tourism in the Asia-Pacific region. It is currently comprised of 85 cities, and 45 non-profit and non-government organizations in the Asia-Pacific countries.
Tongyeong, successfully developing its city brand as UNESCO Creative City of Music, invited people to discuss ways to attract more tourists by strengthening city’s brand image and enhancing their charms, featuring the theme “City Brand and Tourism.”
As a host city, Tongyeong initiated the idea to hold a music concert in cooperation with the member cities to present a perspective that cultural creativity and artistic excellence could also provide great momentum for a city’s long-term direction towards attracting more visitors. This performance project was pushed forward by inviting representative art troupes from the member cities. As a result, an Asia-Pacific traditional music/dance concert of 7 groups was staged at the Blackbox of Tongyeong Concert Hall on October 19.
The performance groups who gladly took part in this collaborative project were Seungjeonmu Preservation Society from Tongyeong(South Korea), Gentak Laras Khatulistiwa from Jakarta(indonesia), Scenic Area Art Group from Dujiangyan (China), Heike Odori Preservation Society from Shimonoseki(Japan), Gema Warisan Budaya (GWB) from Ipoh City Council(Malaysia), Shawan Ancient Towns from Guangzhou(China), and Bong Sen Traditional Music and Dance Theater from Ho Chi Minh City(Vietnam).
The delegates all enjoyed an array of the cultural performances - such a good opportunity for the member cities to understand each other’s artistic excellence and appreciate traditional value and cultural diversity.