REIGNITE II: The Creative Economy will bring together key partners and industry leaders to explore the impact of large-scale cultural programming on York’s wider economy this evening at City Screen Picturehouse, York
The 6pm to 9pm event will feature a film screening and Q&A with “some of the UK’s most significant creative talent”, as part of this week’s BAFTA-qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival, when York becomes a cinematic playground for global giants in the media and gaming industries.
Highlighting York’s decade-long UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts designation, the discussion will focus on the role of media arts in driving economic growth, attracting tourism and fostering a vibrant and creative city for years to come.
Aesthetica director Cherie Federico says: “Reignite II is an opportunity to discuss the economic impact of culture on our city and how bold cultural programming offers an uplift in the city centre through economic and social inclusion.
“Through Reignite, we are looking to unite the city in support of the high growth and economic potential of York’s creative industries, and we’re committed to supporting the sector to reach its full potential.”
Rachel Bean, project manager at York BID (Business Improvement District), says: “We believe that media arts have a vital role to play in the city’s economic future, and we’re excited to build on the success of [the first meeting of] Reignite and continue to work closely with Aesthetica and partners to explore this potential.”
Reignite: Economic Impact Through Creative Industries was launched last month to celebrate York’s creative sector and its significant impact on the local economy. The inaugural event brought together representatives across all sectors to unite under York’s UNESCO Media Arts status, with the aim of encouraging all sectors in York, including hospitality, retail, and transport, to recognise the vast potential of York’s creative sector to transform the city’s economy.
Organisations Aesthetica, Viridian FX, Bright White, York Museums Trust and the National Railway Museum, together with a panel of young creatives, highlighted the need to embrace the city’s UNESCO designation to strengthen the York economy, with ambitions to create educational pathways, develop new skills and jobs and attract investment.
“Reignite is about making York’s UNESCO Media Arts relevant to the city’s arts and culture and seeking to transform York into a knowledge-based economy,” says Cherie. “We’re looking to develop Reignite events every quarter, working in tandem with City of York Council.
“We have a few hundred businesees in the creative industries in York already, but we must encourage more businesses to set up in York, particular in gaming and coding. We’ve reached the point where the city is being recognised for being very innnovative in what it’s achieving in the worlds of visual special effects and gaming, and we need to build on that.
“York has a unique cultural heritage and we must re-define ourselves as a regional city that thinks nationally and internationally, with a strategy for start-ups, education and inward investment.
“We want to encourage future careers, whether as arts workers or coders, and to legitimise those career paths in York, and we want to inspire not only young people in the city.”
New York-born Cherie has studied, worked and lived in York for more than two decades, setting up the international art magazine Aesthetica 20 years ago and subsequently the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, now its 13th year, and the Aesthetica Art Prize, an annual showcase for cutting-edge global talent at York Art Gallery.
“Aesthetica Short Film Festival underpins the values of York’s UNESCO Media Arts designation, making it visible with large-scale, bold cultural programming that has an economic impact on the city and cultural impact on residents and visitors alike,” she says.
“The draw of the festival, bringing big names to the city, highlights everything we’re seeking to do. This year we have ten representives from from Ridley Scott Associates; Oscar-winning filmmaker Tim Webber; the head of BAFTA Games, Luke Hebblethwaite; the BBC’s head of environmental documentaries, Mike Gunton, and fashion photographer Michel Haddi.
“BAFTA-winning Bait director Mark Jenkin, Bridgerton cinematographer Diana Olifirova, Suffragette director Sarah Gavron, Northern Irish director Kathryn Ferguson, who made the Sinead O’Connor documentary Nothing Compares, and Aesthetica alumna Jennifer Sheridan, director of Extraordinary for Disney+, they’re all coming too.
“So is Terri White, former editor-in-chief of Empire film magazine, whose memoir Coming Undone is being adpated into a TV series starring Billie Piper. We’ll have films by Ricky Gervais, Maxine Peake and Ben Whishaw too.”
Tonight’s event is supported by City of York Council, York BID, Aesthetica, Kit Monkman’s Viridian FX and York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
Reignite II is free to attend, but registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/740066949167?aff=oddtdtcreator.
The back story of York: UNESCO Creative City
YORK is one of only 12 UNESCO Creative Cities in the United Kingdom and is unique in being the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.
York is part of a network of 246 Creative Cities that has identified creativity as a strategic factor in sustainable urban development.
To strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services.
To develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector.
To improve access to and participation in cultural life, in particular for marginalised or vulnerable groups and individuals.
To fully integrate culture and creativity into sustainable development plans.
In 2020, York launched a new Culture Strategy – York’s Creative Future – with inclusion and participation at its core, “showcasing the city’s commitment to ensuring culture is relevant and accessible to everybody in York regardless of age, background or postcode”.