Located in the north of Denmark, Viborg, one of the country’s oldest cities, has transformed itself from an administrative centre and industrial area into a creative hub. Animation and media arts are core features within the city and are reflected in key local institutions, including The Animation Workshop, a leading European animation school. For Viborg, the media arts sector is both economically and socially beneficial, and supports the overarching creative industry in Denmark, which has a strong position, providing 79,200 full-time jobs and a turnover of US$ 34.8 billion.
Viborg’s annual Animation Festival (VAF) puts animation on the city’s agenda and is Denmark's largest festival of its kind, with approximately 30,000 participants. This event is a national and international celebration of animation with a mix of activities for both professionals within the sector and tourists. Animated Learning, Animated Health and Science Visualization are more general conferences where professionals in different areas such as scientists, teachers and healthcare providers use animation and visual communication as a strategic way to convey messages and reach the audience. Viborg also hosts a biannual Cartoon Award celebrating satire drawing where the best artists from all over the world debate and compete on producing the most witty and astonishing drawings.
Since 2014, the City Council has used animation as a strategic focus and tool to develop the city and to implement policies. Today in Viborg, animation and storytelling are regarded as multifaceted tools and methods to ensure sustainable urban development for both the young and older generations. Not only entertainment for children, animation as visual communication is so effective that in 2013, the City Council adopted it as a strategic focus, using animation to simplify public dissemination of information to citizens. Now, the Animation Strategy allocates funding for the production of animation and visual communication within the fields of Culture, Health, Technology and Development, Learning and Public Administration.
As a Creative City of Media Arts, Viborg envisages:
- developing a structured and ambitious Animation Strategy;
- focusing on sustainability, learning, experiences and community, and how media arts can be utilized to achieve such goals;
- implementing a Research Advisory Board on the use of animation;
- building The Animation Workshop (TAW) - a leading international animation institution, and developing Viborg as a hub for visual education and lifelong learning in media, arts and creativity;
- generating widespread awareness of animation as a local stronghold; and
- supporting media arts start-ups and business development, with the aim of enhancing and growing the existing animation sector, in turn creating a centre of excellence for media arts.