Tech capital Bengaluru becomes 1st Indian city to join global 'culture' forum
Bengaluru, which was always known as the tech capital of India, may well become a cultural hotspot as well.
Even as the city in February acquired its first major private art museum, the Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), an international body, the London-headquartered World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) has recently made Bengaluru a member of its global network of cities. The forum focuses primarily focuses on incorporating culture in rapidly growing urban centres.
WCCF, which was founded in 2012 by Justine Simons, London’s deputy mayor for culture and the creative industries, has 40 cities already as part of their global consortium.
Bengaluru happens to be its newest and 41st member. According to Simmons, what stood out about Bengaluru is its commitment to an “inclusive and globalised culture”. Media reports quoting Simmons said that there is “real ambition and drive in Bengaluru around the culture story.” And that this is an opportunity for Bengaluru to weave in the cultural story alongside the tech story.
The other cities in the forum include New York, Beunos Aires, London, Paris, Tokyo and Dubai among others. A release from WCCF said that city leaders in Bengaluru will work alongside counterparts from more than 40 cities to ensure that culture is placed at the heart of the city’s growth and investment.
Unboxing BLRe, which is a not-for-profit initiative aspiring to create a new narrative around the city (known for its infamous traffic snarls) through multimedia properties, will work closely with the forum. Unboxing BLR was co-founded in April 2022 by Prashanth Prakash, founding partner of Accel India and Malini Goyal, a journalist, who are both based in Bengaluru.
Culture and growth of cities
WCCF principally works on the premise that culture is an essential ingredient in the success of cities, to bring together communities and help to drive economies. All the cities under the WCCF are passionate about the transformational power of culture. ”We look forward to working with the city of Bengaluru to support its growth as a creative capital,” said Simmons on the WCCF website.
While Prakash, chairman of UnboxingBLR Foundation said Bengaluru, in many ways, represents an aspirational India. There is a lot of culture to the city that is not being talked about like a vibrant design and theatre community and several museums, he told the media.
Also, in his statement on the WCCF website, he said, “Bengaluru already has the right to claim its place as a global city, the most diverse in India.”
A city festival in Bengaluru is slated to be held in December.
How WCCF works
The cities in this global culture Forum collaborate via a programme of events including themed symposia, regional summits and workshops. An annual World Cities Culture Summit is also held, hosted on a rotating basis by partner cities. This unique gathering allows city leaders to share ideas and knowledge about the role of culture as an organising principle for the sustainable city of the future.