About the Creative City:
Jinju is a city in southeast of the Republic of Korea with a population of 360,000 and is recognized as one of country’s leading cities of arts and culture. In the crafts field, three items of Gyeongnam Intangible Cultural Heritage are included namely: wooden furniture-making, ornamental knife-making and metal crafts, as well as Jinju’s silk industry, which has 1,000 years of history. Jinju has 185 manufacturers practicing traditional crafts and 54 enterprises in the silk industry. As of 2017, the crafts and folk art field accounted for about 1.5% of the local economy. The total sales of related compxanies are about US$ 76 million, of which US$ 34 million is for crafts and folk arts
and US$ 42 million for silk. In addition, the economic effect of local festivals amounts to US$ 16 million.
Based on these cultural assets, Jinju has developed its creative tourism industry by holding over 10 art and crafts festivals every year, including the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival, Jinju Mask Dance and Drama Festival, and Jinju Silk Fair. In order to encourage artists’ creative activities in the crafts and folk art sector and to contribute to the cultural diversity mission of the UCCN, Jinju has initiated a World Crafts and Folk Arts Biennale. A preliminary event, the World Folk Arts Gala Show, was held in 2018 and the first biennale was held in May 2019, focusing mainly on folk arts. However, for the 2021 biennale, crafts and folk arts are forseen to be the central attraction.
As part of its grassroots culture policy, since 2017 Jinju has offered “dutbegy” dance and sword dance classes to its inhabitants. The city has also been supporting Saturday Performances at Jinjuseong Fortress since 2007 to promote the city’s folk-based performing arts industry. Many citizens and tourists have visited the fortress to enjoy these performances. Furthermore, Jinju provided a total of US$ 4.7 million to open the Jinju Woodcraft Training Center in order to support the popularization of traditional crafts and support its practitioners.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art, Jinju envisages:
- achieving sustainable urban development by presenting a creative city model based on folk arts and performing arts industries;
- promoting cultural diversity by hosting Jinju World Crafts and Folk Arts Biennale, thereby introducing crafts and folk art from developing countries to the international stage;
- realizing an urban-rural balanced creative city model by reducing cultural gaps between urban and rural areas, to strengthen the cultural rights of marginalized groups and promote social inclusion;
- promoting cooperation and exchange among the Creative Cities by publishing an international magazine highlighting crafts and folk art sector; and
- encouraging the development of new industries based on cooperation between crafts and folk art.
Seo-won Lee, UNESCO Team, Urban Restoration Division, Jinju city hall firstname.lastname@example.org