Promoting creativity in the Arts, Crafts and Design for communities’ regeneration in historical cities

                                                              

Promoting creativity in the Arts, Crafts and Design for communities’ regeneration in historical cities

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Solution proposed by: 
A Mediterranean partnership of Greek-Italian Chamber – GIC, Social and Economic Research Centre for the South of Italy – CRESM, Superior Institute of Artistic Industries – ISIA, Valencian Institute for Conservation and Restoration of Heritage – IVC+r, Ass
In a Nutshell: 
The overall objective of this solution is the regeneration of communities inhabiting the historical cities in the Mediterranean Basin through the support of creativity in the Arts, Crafts and Design (ACDs), enhancing the cross-border cultural dialogue and cooperation among multiple stakeholders.
Where and When: 
Cities/ Countries: Athens/ Greece, Florence and Palermo/ Italy, Valencia/ Spain, Medina of Tunis/ Tunisia, Beirut/ Lebanon, Hebron/ Palestinian Authority. The solution has been implemented from 13/12/2013 to 31/12/2015
Challenges: 
The present situation of the creative sectors in the selected historical cities reflects the special conditions which apply as a result of international and local factors related to economic and spatial restructuring in the respective localities. The selection of the different historical Mediterranean cities was based on their representativeness of the different types of challenges faced by the inner city creative economies depending on their geographical context and stage of economic development. The selection reveals the evolution of the creative activities, from the stage that art and craft professions are still alive and production is present, which is the case in the Mediterranean south and reaching the stage where production has migrated in the periphery accompanied by diversification of creative industries. Some of the cities are in process of undertaking initiatives towards addressing these challenges to which the solution was built on.
Innovation: 
On one hand, the mix of partners brings an innovative approach to historic cities revitalization. Heritage specialists, urban planners and economists have worked together with creative sector members for the integrated combination of factors needed for the protection of historic urban fabrics and its regeneration, providing comprehensive experiences and knowledge that ensure the success in solving issues and addressing urban challenges. On the other hand, target groups and final beneficiaries through the interrelating tools and activities of the solution have benefited by the creation of a permanent network of cooperation between different communities and places across the Mediterranean, which did not have the chance to interact before. Consequently, they could have the opportunity to find innovative solutions in order to address common problems and challenges. MED Forum, ACDs Lab network, Observatory, Web-GIS Platform and Guide (solution’s main outputs), secure the sustainability of the solution, raise competitiveness and growth of the project’s target groups and final beneficiaries in an effective, realistic and innovative implementation strategy, improve their embeddedness in their environments, provide training and education, expand their perception and creativity in an innovative approach and enable access to new markets.
Concept: 
It is widely known that more and more cities have built their economic regeneration and urban revival on the creative and knowledge industries. Nonpolluting creative industries require nurturing and care in their first years to yield high return on investments. Then they can become leaders in employment, market growth and wealth generation, keeping the unity of the place alive. In the above context, the specific solution involves supporting contemporary creative Arts and Crafts (i.e. ceramics, jewellery, cloth, tapestry) and Design (i.e. fashion) – ACDs – to turn these into a leading economic actor that defines the character of historic city districts of Mediterranean cities and guiding their regeneration. Support involves various aspects related with the competitiveness of these enterprises like creativity, skills, organization of production and distribution networks, identity branding and promotion. The success of this effort is inseparable from the setting of the urban environment where ACDs are naturally located and operate. In this sense economic success of creative economies is linked with revitalization of historic city parts. Key to achieving this objective is the cooperation among multiple stakeholders involved in the creative industries and local government units. The network operates both within the context of each city as well as among localities and communities which face different challenges with the aim to generating synergies.
Description: 
The solution directly reflects the significance that is attributed to the role of cultural heritage as a tool for dialogue but also an economic plus. It is based on the acknowledgement that forms of artistic creation in Arts, Crafts and Design can reinforce the cultural exchanges and cooperation between urban communities and can become the vehicle for the regeneration of urban settings of historical cities and their economies. Looking at the intangible and tangible parts of the cities concerned, the solution tries to identify the crafts and creative activities that pertain to the history of the place and study its evolution until today. In addition, it has concentrated on bringing back these creative activities to market value at international level. Since the market dimensions have changed and competition is becoming global, there is a definite need to increase the size of the primary market of these ACDs. The use of the internet and new technologies provides all craftsmen and artists with access to a market that goes much beyond the traditional physical market of their cities. The interrelation among academia, ACDs and local government, as suggested by the solution can become a Mediterranean social investment, developing creativity and growth among the multicultural localities. The interrelating tools and activities of the solution allow the dissemination of its outputs to a wider audience, whereas it could be a model for the revitalization and growth of other non-participating Mediterranean historical cities. Therefore, the following results have already achieved: 1) Created sustainable urban strategies and pilot projects for the socioeconomic revitalization of historic cities, including programs for the regeneration of ACDs. 2) Created new permanent forms of cross-border cultural and economic cooperation and networking in the ACDs among participating localities. 3) Produced innovation through development of synergies, exchange of best practices, transfer of knowhow and infusion of new technology.
Impacts: 
Target groups and final beneficiaries had the opportunity to participate to technological upgrading activities, training for innovation, professional networking and promotion of their products. Technical level: In each city, the solution had a positive impact in terms of new technologies related to creativity in ACDs, on the promoting innovative ways for the upgrade of the urban environment of historic cities and on knowhow and experience transfer in the field of promoting a)innovative design methods and cross border artistic dialogue, b)marketing techniques and c)entrepreneurial strategies. Economic level: The solution has contributed to increase profits to private companies and commercial associations of creative activities/ enterprises located in the historical cities, job creation, sales revenues. Social level: Through the solution urban communities has recognized the critical importance of ACDs activities in the revival of their centers, the need to preserve the culture that these activities carry, and mainly the understanding that there is an alternative sustainable development for their city through the enhancement of productive sectors and their collaboration. Policy level: For the first time the involved cities have an alternative joint integrated strategy for revitalization of ACDs. Moreover, the solution has encouraged collaboration among multiple stakeholders including local and national authorities and the formulation of initiatives between the private and public sector. An essential concrete impact is the creation of an effective code of conduct, a set of principles and values that aims to encourage good practices by recognizing ACDs, which are meeting agreed requirements, as a stakeholder for the promotion of creativity and regeneration in historical cities.

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