Recently, London, Ontario was host to the 2011 Creative City Summit. According to the website at www.creativecity.ca, it was chosen because of its “variety of unique cultural and heritage attractions”. When I read that London was going to be the site of this summit, I suppose the first thing that popped into my mind was “What exactly IS a creative city?”. In all of the news articles I read about the summit, that seemed to be a question that needed to be asked and yet nowhere did I see it being addressed.
A survey of readers done by the London Free Press found that most of the 600 people who responded to the question “Is London a creative city?” answered no. http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2011/05/11/18136256.html And yet, the impression of many of the delegates to the summit, disagreed. In Diana Tamblyn’s blog http://www.dianatamblyn.com/2011/05/real-london.html she tackled the subject as well and as one of those who commented on her post said, they felt the question was ambiguous. This person said that in their view, London is not a creative city but Londoners are creative people.
I suppose this topic has been on my mind for the past few weeks because, as I’m sure regular readers have noticed, I’ve been doing a lot of exploration, in particular of the cultural, historical, and artistic sides of my city. What I have found has been quite enlightening. Of course, I was aware of places like the art museum, Eldon House, and Fanshawe Pioneer Village, but I’ve been learning about so much more, so many creative pieces and people and stories behind them all that I never knew existed before. And I’ve lived here since 1972! My impression after attending some of the special events around town is that London IS a creative city, but perhaps isn’t very good at sharing its creativity with its citizens. Many of the sights I have seen and the stories I have learned recently seemed like some of London’s best kept secrets and that’s such a shame. Sadly, much of what I’ve been introduced to, are things that no one else knew existed either and yet, they were often something that many of us had passed by on a frequent, maybe even daily basis! So, is it that we are not a creative city or is it that we are too busy or too focused on our lives to notice the creativity around us?
What do you think? What do you think makes a city a creative one? What elements are needed? Is your city a creative city? What makes it one or what is it lacking? I’d love to hear your views!