Exciting plans for an international festival and a trade mission to one of the world’s largest arts conferences were revealed this evening in a special event to mark the first anniversary of York securing its UNESCO City of Media Arts status.
In a launch event at the new Hiscox building in York, project leaders, Marcus Romer and Stuart Goulden, revealed ambitious plans for the inaugural ‘Mediale’ in 2017/18, a biennial festival involving 100,000 people over 20 days. The festival will bring together digital artists, schools and performers to create 25 new commissions including major light displays, interactive pavilions and exhibits that use the backdrop of York as a canvas for cutting edge technological displays. Also planned is a brand new internationally-recognised set of awards highlighting the world’s top digital artists as part of the festival. Over one third of the festival’s budget has already been pledged by local organisations and companies, with a fundraising programme now in place to source match funding and sponsorship.
The UNESCO City of Media Arts team has also secured funding for a UK Trade & Investment mission to Austin, Texas, for the renowned South by South West (SXSW) Festival, where representatives of York will meet with key global players in the media arts sector, and offer advice and guidance to the US city’s team who are also hoping to secure the prestigious UNESCO designation. The funding is part of the government’s support for the Northern Powerhouse, aiming to unite companies across the North to create a collective force to rival that of London and the South East, driving investment in the region and redressing the North-South economic imbalance.
By embracing its UNESCO City of Media Arts status, York will sit alongside Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull and Leeds in the Northern Powerhouse. Indeed, the globally-recognised UNESCO status, which joins York to a network of 69 connected cities in 32 countries across the world sharing expertise and knowledge, combined with the latest announcement of York Central securing ‘Enterprise Zone’ status - potentially unlocking £100 million of investment – will garner international attention to support the city’s economic development plans.
Today’s announcements have widespread support locally and nationally.
Local businesses and artists have also pledged their support by signing up for the new Guild of Media Arts, York’s first new trade guild for 700 years. This group of professionals from across the arts, culture and education sectors will be responsible for managing projects coming under the York UNESCO City of Media Arts banner, taking a focused approach to inspire a new generation of digital adventurers in the city and drive continued growth in the sector. The Guild is open to anyone in the city with a personal or professional interest in media arts.