Poland’s cities of Krakow and Katowice, Creative Cities of Literature and Music respectively, welcomed 350 delegates, including 40 mayors, representing 180 cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

Celebrating the collaborative spirit that lies at the core of the Network and drives local and international action, Paducah participated in the XII Annual Meeting. The theme “Creative Crossroads” aimed to stimulate innovative collaborations across creative fields, geographic regions and disciplines!

Creative Crossroads

Member cities were invited to share ideas, connect and co-create through an interactive event format.

“Culture and the creative industries represent real levers of economic, social and environmental development,” declared Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture. “By mobilizing very diverse cities from metropolises to smaller towns, the Creative Cities Network serves above all as a space for exchange and for the sharing of experiences to invent the city of tomorrow.”

Mayors Forum

City of Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless presented her vision of creativity as a wellspring of innovation and sustainable development among municipal leaders of the Creative Cities. Read Mayor Harless’ blog for more insight on the potential of global collaboration and exchange.

Mayor Brandi Harless

City of Paducah

“The world is changing quickly. Our old models for economic development cannot be the only thing we do to bring jobs and growth to our city. Our City was built on entrepreneurial thinking, and we should leverage this to encourage more entrepreneurship, recruit the gig economy workers and focus on recruiting tech-based jobs.”

UCCN Lab 2030 | Creating Sustainable Cities

An exhibition innovative practices highlighting key contributions towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development featured “Engineering Creative Solutions to Global Challenges: Converting Waste to Energy." This research project of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Paducah Campus impacts people, prosperity and the planet through locally-focused global outreach.

Dr. Jeffrey Seay

University of Kentucky College of Engineering, Paducah Extended Campus Program

“In my view, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals begins at the local level. Our work engages people at the community level and empowers them to take control of the sustainable development issues that are important to them – both in the US and in developing economies. Here in Paducah, I have had the chance to see how community empowerment has allowed our engineering program to grow and flourish. Through our research work, we want to provide the same opportunities to communities around the world.”

Creative Cities Network in Motion

Paducah was one of four member cities included in a panel discussion to share inspiring ideas and initiatives from the UCCN Membership Monitoring and Reporting Exercise. Paducah CVB Executive Director Mary Hammond focused on sharing cultural initiatives that have fostered cooperation across different creative fields, including Sabores y Saberes.

Mary Hammond

Paducah Convention & Visitors Bureau

“Paducah is seen by our fellow UNESCO Creative Cities as a leader in working across sectors and cultures to facilitate creative partnerships. The Creative Cities Network was formed to exchange ideas among cities from around the world that acknowledge the vital role creativity plays as a driver for sustainable development. Though it is exciting to share Paducah’s best practices, learning from our peers is an invaluable opportunity that will benefit our local community for many years to come.”

Days of Bread

The Days of Bread program and creative knowledge platform debuted with Kirchhoff’s Bakery representing Paducah. Read our Creative City Story for all the details on this collection of ingredients, recipes and cultural stories that symbolize the unique culinary histories of Creative Cities around the world.

Kara Gray

Kirchhoff's Bakery & Deli

"There is no better feeling than the immediate pride that takes over you when a customer appreciates the good bread we make and the history of our bakery. It’s really an honor to tell the history about the 5 generations that have lived, and baked, at this place since 1884. Since the debut of Days of Bread, we are looking to be more active within the UNESCO Creative Cities community and look forward to future collaborations with other bakers throughout the Creative Cities."

Get involved and learn about many more local creative projects, initiatives and collaborations here!