1 November 2017
It’s where the ute was born, where mechanical refrigeration was pioneered and now Geelong’s design credentials have been internationally recognised with the news that the city has been designated as a UNESCO City of Design.
Announced in Paris on 31 October, Geelong was one of 64 international cities to be inducted into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Creative Cities Network. While the cities differ geographically, demographically or economically, all place creativity at the forefront of future planning.
The designation recognises the design history of Geelong and surrounds, from the region’s Aboriginal heritage to its history in textiles and wool production; automotive design and manufacturing to designs that have revolutionised surf culture. It also celebrates innovations currently being made across the region in advanced manufacturing and virtual reality.
The bid to UNESCO was led by the City of Greater Geelong in close partnership with Geelong’s Deakin University and the Australian Centre for Innovation and Design, with support from the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.
In addition to showcasing the region’s history, the application demonstrated how design is being used to shape Geelong’s future. Key projects featured include the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, the Geelong Performing Arts Centre Redevelopment and cultural precinct and the Mountain to Mouth contemporary songline, as well as the world-class design education facilities such as Deakin University’s virtual reality cave and Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training building.
The designation puts Geelong in the company of cities of design around the world including Beijing, Montreal, Berlin and Singapore. Other newly inducted cities of design include Dubai, Cape Town, Istanbul and Mexico City.
In addition to design, the latest announcement from UNESCO’s Creative Cities network recognises cities that commit to innovation and creativity as key drivers of sustainable and inclusive urban development, in creative fields ranging from film to music, literature, crafts and folk art, gastronomy and media arts.
Now comprising 180 cities in 72 countries, UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network recognises cities across the globe that place creativity at the forefront of future planning. The designation will open up opportunities for Geelong to collaborate with other design cities and cities across the creative cities network.
Geelong is Victoria’s second UNESCO Creative City – with Melbourne designated a City of Literature in 2008.