Srinagar as creative city

Source: By Bashaarat Masood: The Indian Express

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Srinagar as a part of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

With this, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir has entered the club of 295 creative cities network across the world. After Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Varanasi and Jaipur, Srinagar is the sixth Indian city to achieve this distinction.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is a project launched by UNESCO in 2004 to “promote cooperation among cities which recognized creativity as a strategic factor in their urban development”. According to UNESCO, the cities designated as creative cities work together towards a common objective of “placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level”.

On 8 November 2021, UNESCO designated 49 cities as part of the creative cities network. With this, the total number of creative cities in the world has reached 295 across 90 countries.

UNESCO designates the creative cities in seven fieldsCraft, Folk Art, Media Arts, Film Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music. The Srinagar city has been designated the creative city in the field of Crafts and Folk Arts — only second city in India in this category after Jaipur. While Mumbai has been honoured in the film category, Chennai and Varanasi have been made part of UCCN for their music. Hyderabad is a UCCN city in the gastronomy category.

Every year, UNESCO seeks applications for various cities across the globe for putting them under its UCCN project. The applications in India are routed through the Ministry of Culture.

“This year four Indian cities — Kolkata, Gwalior, Indore and Srinagar — had applied to the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry, however, found the applications of Kolkata and Indore incomplete and only forwarded the ones from Srinagar and Gwalior,” J-K’s Director Handicrafts Mehmood Ahmad Shah said.  “While the norm is to announce two cities from each country, only Srinagar city was designated as part of UCCN by UNESCO this year”.

The Srinagar city had applied in 2018 also but the application was rejected then. Shah says the UCCN tag would not only give global recognition to the Srinagar city but also help it in international funding, tie-ups with craft universities and pitching craft as a product.