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World Cities Culture Report 2018

Major international report highlights a new direction for culture in world cities

'Oluwarantimi' by Polly Alakija with MOE+ Architects (c) Tayo Adeoye

​Last week, our World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) - a network of senior city officials championing culture in 38 cities around the world - published the World Cities Culture Report 2018.

Produced in partnership with the Mayor of London, and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, this is the most comprehensive research ever undertaken about the state of culture in major cities worldwide. The report is based on extensive data and practice research to reveal how these 38 major global cities are in the vanguard of policymaking.

Building on our ongoing research into the role of culture in cities (on the civic level here, and national level here), the report explores how the context of a changing world order, increasingly divisive national politics and crises of national identity in countries around the globe is met with new approaches from local governments in world cities.

Recognising that cultural investment over the last 20 years has sometimes unintentionally contributed to social pressures in global cities, the report finds that urban cultural policy is shifting towards more egalitarian and citizen-centred models.

The report showcases a wide range of innovative cultural practice and demonstrates a growing inclusivity, with culture open to a greater range of people, practitioners, art forms and new spaces. Some notable mentions include:

  • In Hong Kong, Rome and Moscow, mobile arts venues and libraries are used to bring culture closer to citizens in every corner of their cities, particularly those areas with traditionally lower engagement with arts and culture
  • A number of cities are working with migrants and refugees to provide cultural opportunities to marginalised groups, from support to refugee artist residencies in Paris to Brussels, to offering film screenings to refugees in parks, asylum centres and people’s homes
  • London has established the world’s first Culture at Risk initiative – a hotline for venues at risk of closure due to rising rates, increasing development and shifting populations, and has been involved in saving 300 venues, from grassroots music venues to LGBT+ spaces
  • To respond to the needs of a growing ageing population Amsterdam’s Age Friendly Cultural City programme focuses specifically on cultural provision for the city’s older residents.

The full report is available here.


Through the World Cities Culture Forum we see that our member cities are committed to promoting the common values of openness and inclusivity – and that culture is an essential part of how to make these values tangible for citizens.

- BOP Co-Founder, and Director of the WCCF, Paul Owens

This report demonstrates the power of culture to bring communities together around the world. From film screenings for marginalised groups to mobile cultural venues putting culture on everyone’s doorstep, we have seen culture spark innovation, power economies and allow us to celebrate who we are.

In London we have seen how investing in culture unites communities and gives young people positive opportunities to achieve their full potential. By putting cultural policies and ideas at the heart of how we lead our cities, we can ensure that they remain welcoming and inclusive places to work, to play and live.”

- Chair of the WCCF, and London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE

Image credit: ‘Oluwarantimi’ by Polly Alakija with MOE+ Architects (c) Tayo Adeoye