17 July 2017
The Melbourne City of Literature Office has received a gold star evaluation from the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), receiving top marks against all assessment criteria.
Melbourne joined the UCCN in 2008, when it was designated the first and only City of Literature in Australia and the second of its kind in the world.
One of the main objectives of the UCCN is to function as a laboratory of ideas and innovative experiences, to capitalise on the full potential of culture and creativity for sustainable urban development. Member cities are required to produce a Membership Monitoring Report every four years to demonstrate their achievements in this area.
The Melbourne City of Literature Office submitted its first report this year, which was evaluated at the recent UCCN Congress in Enghien las Bans in France (a UNESCO City of New Media). The Office received an overall evaluation of 'excellent' with top scores in every category.
Several local initiatives were highlighted as best practice programming, including the Office's Travel Fund program which provided funding of up to $3,000 to help writers, editors, publishers, librarians and booksellers to seize professional development opportunities through national or international travel.
This program was the inspiration for a new travel funding program offered by the Myer Foundation through Writers Victoria.
Also commended was a partnership between the Melbourne City of Literature Office and the National Gallery of Victoria which assisted independent book publishers and sellers to attend the Art Book Fair.
Chair of the City of literature Network Justyna Jochym said, "Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature is a fantastic example of the Creative Cities mission: the incredible diversity of the sector, the thoughtfulness of the programming, the careful approach to building international relationships and the strategic work that the city has undertaken to bring Melbourne's literature to the fore and to reflect its multitudes on this global platform is inspiring to observe and learn from.
Melbourne is using UCCN to contribute to helping its writers and literary sector thrive and develop deeper international partnerships. It has done so in an exemplary way, and I am thrilled to see it recognized so notably for it."