In the Australian city of Geelong, at the annual and virtual meeting of the UNESCO Design Cities Network members, the participants unanimously decided to entrust the 2022 yearly congress to Kaunas. The meeting, which creates an exchange, provides excellent opportunities to present Kaunas more widely and meet specialists who will consult Kaunas on social, environmental, cultural, and urban design issues, which will occur precisely after a year.
The Network of Creative Cities seeks to develop transnational partnerships between cities that have chosen creativity as their strategic development factor in creating sustainable and innovative cities. The network brings together the private and public sectors, professionals, communities, and institutions to share experiences, resources, and knowledge with other network members and foster the growth and emergence of local creative industries.
The event in Geelong provided an opportunity for communities from all 40 design cities to participate and learn about the many projects in the network of creative cities. This year's theme was REIMAGINE, RENEW, REGENERATE, inviting design experts to share and talk about projects that have raised cultural, creative, social, and sustainable initiatives and looked at new challenges or opportunities.
During the meeting, Kaunas submitted a proposal to organize next year's annual network meeting in Kaunas. "Although the format of conferences and the organization of international meetings are in many cases beneficial for a small group of people, this annual Congress of Design Cities can become especially important and successful for Kaunas and its guests. We have been in the UNESCO Network of Design Cities since 2015, but the city neither showed initiative nor participated in other projects for a long time. As a result, we are in a network where we are not known, where we are rarely noticed, and where we have not yet shown our potential. Therefore, this annual congress is an excellent opportunity to raise our heads and display our talents and professionalism to the network members, get acquainted with the design sector, and show Lithuania's attractiveness and creativity through Kaunas city and district. Also, Kaunas benefits by gaining experience from highly active cities in the field of design, learning from successful projects implemented in the world, and establishing economic, cultural, and social contacts with potential partners or customers from abroad." said Gediminas Banaitis-Skrandis, project curator of Kaunas 2022.
The meeting of the UNESCO Design Cities Network will take place at the same time as the International Assembly of Design Networks "Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022", which will also be attended by such global design networks as ICoD (International Council of Design), BEDA (Bureau of European Design Associations ), EIDD (Design for All Europe), will present a comprehensive program and provide an opportunity to learn about the specificities of a multicultural city. "The International Assembly of Design Networks is a unique occasion where the largest organizations in the design sector meet simultaneously in a joint event. This is an opportunity that no member of the invited organizations would want to miss because it will be the first such design Olympics," added G. Banaitis-Skrandis.
During next year's meeting, participants will be involved in Kaunas Design Festival, Lithuanian design exhibition "From Temporary to Contemporary", Landscape Design Festival "MAGENTA", and other projects developed with other partner cities. This is a considerable achievement for Kaunas and its future, which will open wider opportunities, become the beginning of international project ideas and reveal the city through innovative and creative activities.