Dublin City Council Culture Company are representing Dublin as part of the URBACT ACCESS network.
With our vision of Dublin as a city where culture connects everything and everyone, Dublin City Council Culture Company are delighted to collaborate with seven other European cities to explore how we can harness culture as a powerful agent for change in the places where we live.
All over the world, cities are rapidly expanding and changing. By 2050, 68% of the world’s population are expected to live in urban areas. The case for Culture has proven social and economic benefits in cities and urban communities around the world. However, for many, the benefits of arts and culture are still out of reach.
Eight European cities – Amsterdam, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn and Vilnius – will collaborate on inclusive cultural policies to open up culture to all citizens in a newly established network named ACCESS. The aim is to bring about a real shift in cultural policymaking in Europe and as a result ensure access to culture for all citizens.
Diversity both a strength and challenge
The varied social, economic and ethnic backgrounds in cities, as well as different religions and lifestyles, provide an ideal breeding ground for innovation. However, cities are also facing growing social, economic and geographic inequalities. Isolation and political polarization, often caused by a lack of understanding between different groups, are major societal problems. The ACCESS network believes culture has the ability to facilitate greater understanding of individuals and their lives, increase empathy towards others and develop an appreciation of the diversity of human experience and cultures.
Cities as a driving force
The ambition of using culture as a driving force for a more diverse, tolerant and integrated city is not new, but it has never been elevated to an international partnership of urban authorities of this caliber. The eight partner cities represent a wide variety of sizes, views, histories and political structures, but also share a fundamental commonality on a national level. As capital cities, we face similar responsibilities and challenges concerning our central roles as national economic drivers; in creating social and cultural identities; as the most populous cities of our countries and through our anchor positions in (inter)national urban networks.
The importance of cultural policy
Current local cultural policies and strategies fail to reach or provide benefits to everyone and as a result, there is unequal access to the cultural offer of our cities. The aim of this collaboration is to gain a better understanding of our communities so that we can develop effective inclusive engagement in culture throughout our cities by focusing on the following three main policy challenges: gathering knowledge, data and information; spreading cultural activity across the city and widening participation.
Through the ACCESS network, eight European cities are committed to opening up culture to all citizens, ensuring under-represented voices are included across cultural activity throughout the city. The ACCESS collaboration is an URBACT III project and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. URBACT’s mission is to enable European cities to collaborate and develop integrated solutions to common urban challenges.
For more information, see: https://urbact.eu/
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