Urban Age Debate Virtual, October 13, 2021

Urban Age Debate 4: Changing Cultures

How are cultural institutions reframing the relationship between the museum, the community and the city?

Key Takeaways / Debate Recording / Trailer

Over the past three decades investment in cultural infrastructure – new performing arts centres, museum extensions and whole cultural districts – has become a familiar tool in urban strategies, place-making and branding around the world. Moreover, cultural organizations both large and small have sought to define themselves as much as community anchors, generators of social capital, promoters of social cohesion, as they have as hubs of artistic innovation or conservation.

But the context in which cultural organizations are operating today is changing rapidly, and this will in turn, affect how they contribute to the quality and texture of urban life going forward. The short-term effects of Covid 19 and longer-term pressures of climate change, combined with new tech-enabled possibilities of remote working, are changing how we live, work, socialize, and travel, stimulating a new interest in more localised lives centred around resurgent town centres and neighbourhoods.

Additionally, digital programming accelerated by Covid 19 is creating new audiences and constituencies for arts organizations that are divorced from any specific urban context. Meanwhile, much of the built legacy is in highly specified formal configurations, such as classical concert halls, proscenium opera houses, and galleries situated in large urban centres that are not easily adaptable as art forms themselves and audience desires morph and change.

Supported by knowledge partner GCDN – Global Cultural Districts Network, the fourth Urban Age Debate brings together emerging and established policy makers, academics, and culture bearers from diverse geographic and social backgrounds to rethink the collaboration between the city, community as well as culture today and over the next decades. “Changing Cultures: How are cultural institutions reframing their relationships with audiences, the community and the city?” will be moderated by Adrian Ellis, Director of AEA Consulting and Chair of the Global Cultural Districts Network.

Our speakers are:
Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive of the Southbank Centre
Gabriella Gomez-Mont, Founder of Experimentalista
Andreas Görgen, Head of the German Foreign Office’s Culture and Communication Department

If you have any questions about the project, please contact Elisabeth Mansfeld.