Srinagar Designated World Craft City by World Craft Council

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • What is World Craft Council (WCC)?
  • What is UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN)?

Why in News?

Srinagar has become the fourth Indian city to be recognized as a ‘World Craft City’ by the World Craft Council (WCC), following its designation as part of the UNESCO Creative City Network (UCCN) for crafts and folk arts three years ago.

Jaipur, Malappuram and Mysore are the other Indian cities that have previously been recognised as World Craft Cities.

What is World Craft Council (WCC)?

  • About
    • The World Craft Council (WCC) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization affiliated with UNESCO. 
    • Established in 1964, it aims to promote the preservation, protection, and development of traditional crafts and foster economic development through crafts.
  • World Craft City Recognition by WCC
    • World Craft City recognition by the WCC is an esteemed designation given to cities that excel in the promotion and development of traditional crafts and artisanship. 
    • This recognition acknowledges the city's commitment to preserving and promoting its unique craft heritage and supporting local artisans.
  • Significance of World Craft City Recognition
    • International Prestige: The recognition elevates the city's status on a global platform, enhancing its reputation as a center of excellence for crafts.
    • Economic Benefits: This designation can boost the local economy by attracting tourists, investors, and buyers interested in authentic crafts, thereby increasing market opportunities for artisans.
    • Cultural Preservation: It highlights the city's dedication to preserving traditional crafts, ensuring that these cultural practices are passed down to future generations.
    • Support for Artisans: The recognition often leads to increased support for local artisans, including funding, training, and opportunities for international collaboration and exchange.
    • Promotion of Innovation: It encourages innovation within the craft sector by blending traditional techniques with modern designs, fostering creativity and sustainability.
    • Enhanced Visibility: The city and its crafts receive greater visibility through international media coverage, exhibitions, and events associated with the WCC.
  • Criteria for Recognition
    • To be recognized as a World Craft City, a city typically needs to demonstrate:
    • A rich tradition of crafts and a significant population of skilled artisans.
    • Active promotion and development of craft traditions.
    • Commitment to preserving cultural heritage and supporting sustainable practices.
    • Evidence of innovation and creativity in craft practices.
    • Strong community involvement and support for the craft sector.

What is UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN)?

  • About
    • The UCCN was created in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. 
    • It now includes 350 cities in over a hundred countries.
    • It was launched to promote UNESCO’s goals of cultural diversity and strengthen resilience to threats such as climate change, rising inequality, and rapid urbanisation.
  • Aim
    • The network is aimed at leveraging the creative, social, and economic potential of cultural industries.
    • It encourages a culture of creativity in urban planning and solutions to urban problems.
  • Objective of the CCCN
    • It allows member cities to recognise creativity as an essential component of urban development, notably through partnerships involving the public and private sectors and civil society. 
    • It envisages to develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector. 
    • These cities have to achieve the UN agenda of sustainable development.
  • Areas of action
    • The objectives of the network are implemented both at the level of the member cities and at the international level, notably through sharing experiences, knowledge and best practices. 
    • There are professional and artistic exchange programmes, research and evaluations on the experience of the creative cities, among other activities.
  • The annual conference of network cities
    • A highlight of the network is the annual conference of mayors and other stakeholders of network cities.
    • This offers a unique occasion to strengthen ties between creative cities from across the world.
    • The last conference was held in Santos, Brazil, and this year’s conference was in Istanbul. The next conference will be held in July 2024 in Braga, Portugal.
  • Responsibilities of members
    • Every four years, member cities are required to submit a Membership Monitoring Report.
    • This report is presented with an aim of demonstrating their steadfast commitment towards the implementation of the UCCN Mission Statement. 
    • They present an action plan for the following four years, providing insights into their achievements and lessons learnt, as well as the impact of the designation.
  • Indian cities in the network

Apart from Kozhikode and Gwalior, Varanasi (music), Srinagar (crafts and folk arts) and Chennai (music) are part of the network.

Q.1. What is UNESCO?

UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting international cooperation in education, science, culture, and communication. UNESCO's mission includes fostering global peace and sustainable development through initiatives that promote cultural diversity, preserve heritage, support education, advance scientific knowledge, and promote freedom of expression.

Q.2. What is World Craft City?

"World Craft City" is a designation conferred by the World Craft Council (WCC) upon cities that demonstrate excellence in promoting and preserving traditional crafts and artisanal practices. Cities recognized as World Craft Cities are acknowledged for their commitment to cultural heritage preservation, economic development through crafts, and innovation in craft practices.

Source: Srinagar gets tag of ‘World Craft City’, fourth from country | UNESCO | The Hindu