May 21, 2024

The Baguio Creative City Council (BCCC) has launched on April 29 the series of consultations geared towards sustaining the city’s inclusion to the United Nations Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

The consultation focused on enhancing the training of local artists through international exchanges and of Baguio hosting national or global arts events to increase exposure of local artists to fellow artists.

The consultation also aims to train artists so that their skills and knowledge can be taught to budding artists as well as to next generation of artists.

Inclusion in the UCCN comes with responsibilities and commitments aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals of the creatives industry being part of a nation’s economic backbone.

CCBC Co-Chair Marie Venus Tan told the participants Baguio sustained its membership but cannot rest on its laurels as all creative cities are assessed every four years if it was able to implement its programs to improve the local creative industry. Baguio will be reassessed in 2027.

For the next round of assessment, Tan said sustainability plans should be aligned with Baguio’s recently-amended mission and vision, which is to be inclusive, livable and creative city by 2043.

A study commissioned by the National Economic Development Authority showed that by 2043 Baguio will no longer be a livable city due to urban decay.

City planners have crafted an action plan to prevent this from happening. Mayor and CCBC chairperson Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the sustainability plan is for the future generations who stand to benefit if the creative industry is able to help propel the economy, much like other industries in the Philippines.

Proposed plans to expand creative spaces in Baguio is by designating art spaces in the barangays and collaboration with those in the marginalized sector such as women in correctional facilities and children with special needs.

“Some of them are artistically inclined and we need to reach out to them,” Tan said.

To boost marketing, CCBC will tap various e-commerce platforms so that artists will be able to sell their crafts to a market outside of Baguio.

There will also be active and aggressive engagement towards high impact global creative platforms to help put products made by artists of Baguio in the global map. On December, Baguio will host the first global Ikat forum for weavers.

Ikat is a weaving style prominent in Southeast Asia.

Baguio will also be tapping into its sister cities for an artist exchange program and exposure trips abroad, Tan added.

Baguio is the first city in the Philippines to be included in the UCCN. In 2019, it was conferred the title of “creative city in the field of folk arts and crafts.”

After Baguio, the cities of Iloilo and Cebu were also included in the UCCN as creative cities in gastronomy and design. – Rimaliza A. Opina