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Georgia's capital Tbilisi, seaside city Batumi join UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Georgia's capital Tbilisi and the Black Sea coastline city of Batumi are two of the 49 most recent cities to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, an initiative aiming to stimulate creative industries and showcase cities supporting them.

The new member cities were announced by the United Nations cultural organisation - which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year - on Monday, taking the number of member locations to nearly 300.

Tbilisi City Hall, which had nominated the capital city for inclusion, said the status meant a focus on supporting media art and "implementation of both one-time and long-term projects" in the city over the next four years.

Digital art, photography, painting, multimedia art, interactive media and videogames will be among the disciplines and mediums promoted and supported by the capital city, for which the new status is another boost following the 2021 UNESCO World Book Capital title it currently holds.

[The status] will enable our contemporary artists, digital technology professionals and representatives of related fields to carry out projects of international importance, and position Tbilisi as a kind of creative hub - Andria Basilaia, Deputy Tbilisi Mayor

For Batumi, joining the Creative Cities Network means devoting resources to supporting musical art in the coastline city, with pianist Eliso Bolkvadze, chairperson of the country's Parliamentary Committee on Culture, saying earlier this yearthe status would "strengthen our country's positions on the international cultural and tourist maps".

Bolkvadze, who was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2015 and received a second mandate for the status earlier in 2021, has collaborated with the UNESCO through her work on Batumi Music Fest, an annual festival of classical music in the city, organised by her Lyra Foundation since 2013.

The Creative Cities Network involves seven categories of creative industries for cities looking to join: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. Submissions are reviewed by experts and member cities and ultimately approved by the organisation's director-general.


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