CAVA promotes cross-cultural collaboration at the 2023 World Cities Culture Forum in Chengdu, China

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A Chinese woman interviewing two European men and two Chinese men on stage at the World Cities Culture Forum.

The World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) is the leading global network of civic leaders from over 40 creative cities across six continents. It provides a way for policymakers from cities around the world to share research, innovations and intelligence that explores the vital role of culture as an organising principle for the sustainable city of the future. Richard Koeck, Professor at the Liverpool School of Architecture and Director of CAVA | Centre of Architecture and the Visual Arts, was invited to give a keynote speech.

This year’s gathering of city leaders took place in Chengdu, China – a city with nearly 22 million inhabitants, a strong cultural offer that included two UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a growing lifestyle, digital and music sector. The forum was organised by the Chengdu Municipal People’s Government in collaboration with the World Cities Culture Forum and City Ideas. Justine Simons OBE, Chair of the World Cities Culture Forum and Deputy Mayor of London, gave a virtual welcoming speech to Chinese and international delegates.

Delegates ate the World Cities Culture Form sitting and watching the debate.

WCCF keynotes were delivered by international leaders in the arts, design and digital sectors from several countries, including China, Australia, Korea, and Germany. The UK was represented by, for instance, John Howkins, chair of City Ideas and member of the United Nations Advisory Committee on the Creative Economy; John Newbigin, founder and chair of Creative England and Special Advisor to the UK Culture Minister. The WCCF explicitly recognises the role of creative industries in the development of cities and urban cultures, which is why Professor Koeck was given the opportunity to be invited and get involved. 

A Chinese river by night, a bridge is illuminated, a modern city is visible behind.

CAVA, situated at the School of Architecture, has a global reputation for developing industry-linked, digital, location-based innovations that can transform our engagement with spaces, buildings and urban spaces. Professor Koeck was therefore invited to give a keynote as part of the WCCF’s Film & Digital Innovation Salon, held at a historic site in the city centre. As a representative of the University of Liverpool, but also of the wider UK’s creative R&D sector, he highlighted the need for and the value of cross-cultural collaborations in the creative industries.

To emphasise this point, Professor Koeck reported that the global family entertainment centers (FEC) market was valued at $30.9 billion in 2022, and is projected to reach $88.7 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 11.5% from 2023 to 2032.(Source: Allied Market Research) – which has a significant impact on city economies and provides plenty of reason for innovative architects, designers and digital entrepreneurs to get involved.

“Location-based experiences is one of several areas of growth that demonstrate how emerging digital creative technologies are creating new opportunities for architectural researchers and the profession to be involved in the shaping of future hybrid spatial experiences.”

Prof Koeck also showed the results from a recently completed AHRC-funded collaborative project that produced the concept and prototype for a cutting-edge, location-based immersive experience, designed for a family audience in China, which CAVA produced in partnership with Goldsmiths, the Shanghai Theatre Academy and the UK’s premier animation studio Aardman, click here for more information.