Creative Cities Meet in ​Reykjavík

Wed 22 Sep, 2021

Earlier this month members of the global Creative Cities Network met in ​Reykjavík for the first time since Covid changed the world, to discuss challenges, opportunities and aspirations.

Reykjavík hosts first-ever hybrid UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature meeting Reykjavík UNESCO Creative City of Literature' celebrates its ten-year anniversary in 2021. Hosting the Cities of Literature Annual Meeting made this milestone birthday very special, and organising a hybrid meeting on this scale was highly educational. It will benefit both the network and Reykjavík City generally as we further develop this new way of working together globally. As always, the Reykjavík team came out of the conference with new ideas, new connections, and further plans for cooperation and this international meeting was also highly valuable for the local literary community.‘ Kristín Ingu Viðarsdóttir, Project Manager, Reykjavík UNESCO Creative City of Literature

Reykjavík UNESCO Creative City of Literature welcomed 31 representatives from 21 Creative Cities of Literature for the hybrid Creative Cities of Literature Annual Conference (6 to 10 September), and the same number of delegates took part remotely from Creative Cities of Literature around the world. The theme of the Conference was Conversation and Inspiration – Reconnect in Reykjavík, focusing on the need for Cities to reconnect after a time of relative isolation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cities shared what they had learned and offered best practice for recovery and equity of opportunity in communities, and planned residencies, future collaborations, and mentoring and cooperation within the growing Network.

‘The UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature have used the time during the global pandemic to explore new ways to support readers and writers in our communities, knowing the connection afforded by literature is needed more than ever in these isolating times. Our annual meeting in Reykjavík allowed us to share what we have learned with one another and to discuss how we can strengthen our collaborations globally through the virtual tools that have become commonplace. To do so in a beautiful city like Reykjavík, where we had the opportunity to see in person the work being done by writers, artists, creators, programmers and so many others, brought home how vital that work can be.’

John Kenyon, Executive Director, Iowa City UNESCO Creative City of Literature and Creative Cities of Literature Network Lead

Reykjavík’s anniversary year had in fact commenced with a book gift for all children in the City celebrating their first birthday, along with reading tips for their parents.

"As our cities face the unprecedented challenge of recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, it's more important than ever that we work together to improve life in our cities. Culture and creativity have the power to accelerate our social recovery and to unite our communities during these challenging times, and by bringing cities together from around the world we have a unique opportunity to learn from each other. A key focus at the meeting was work being done to support recovery, resilience, and sustainability for the creative community in each city, as well as working to effect positive change in the context of important issues such as the global climate crisis. We actively progressed our priority areas: to improve pathways for writers, commit to translation projects and collaborate on future library projects and book festivals.”

Sandeep Mahal, Director, Nottingham UNESCO Cities of Literature

About the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN): Created in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network gathers 246 cities from over 80 UNESCO Member States that have positioned culture and creativity as strategic enablers for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the local level. The Network covers the seven creative fields of Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. Thirty-nine UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature from 28 countries are currently members of the Network and collaborate actively and closely to promote the power of literature for sustainable and inclusive societies.

For more information on the UCCN, please visit:

To learn more about the UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature Network:

This post is tagged in

​Reykjavík Iceland UNESCO

Be in the know. Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep bang up to date with what's new at Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature. Subscribe to our newsletter, and you'll hear all about the latest news, job opportunities and literary events.