Košice is Slovakia's second largest city with a population of 240,000 inhabitants. In the last 10 years, employment within the area has mainly been supported by the creative industries and ICT field. In technology, the number of jobs grew from 1,000 to more than 10,000, making it the fastest growing segment of the city's economy. The city implemented the European Capital of Culture 2013 project as a part of a long-term plan for transforming the city and its economy from an industrial to a creative environment. Thanks to a strong ICT sector and a young, vibrant creative community, Košice is becoming a hotspot for media arts.
Among the levers contributing to the development of media arts are various international projects and events, such as festivals White Night and Art & Tech Days, the international artist-in-residency-programme KAIR, the creative spaces of the DIG Gallery, Kunsthalle, Kasárne Kulturpark, Tabačka Kulturfabrik and Kotolňa. These events host young digital artists as well as internationally acclaimed curated exhibitions. The establishment of the Košice IT Valley cluster in 2007 was another important step towards strenthening cooperation between the creative and ICT sectors.
With the aim of facilitating sustainable development in the field of culture and creativity, the City is implementing the Culture Strategy 2014-2018 and the Košice 2020 Creative Economy Masterplan. The City also supports the local art scene through its not-for-profit organisation Creative Industry Košice, which implements mobility and educational programmes for artists and cultural professionals. As a member of the UCCN, the city of Košice is commited to positioning itself globally as a progressive city, using culture alongside digital technologies as a motor for sustainable development.
As a Creative City of Media Arts, Košice envisages:
- establishing a Creative Centre as a global hub for media arts professionals and artists, providing them access to new technologies and enabling them to undertake collaborative projects;
- revitalising the Mlynský náhon (former millrun), connecting Tabačka and Kunsthalle by way of creating a new cultural and recreational zone;
- launching a participatory platform using digital technologies, gamification processes and virtual reality, that will involve city residents, including ones from disadvantaged and marginalised groups, in solving urban issues;
- developing Art Portal; an online platform to systematically gather relevant artistic and creative content, and inform about current events of the international media arts scene, as well as exchange best practices from Creative Cities of Media Arts; and
- organising the International Media Award, Symposium and Exhibition; a thematic and site-specific competition open to young media artists, including those from the UCCN.