Participation and co-creation through culture in Kortrijk

Co-creation and participatory activities are now integral part of cities’ local cultural policies and are increasingly being implemented. These processes illustrate how art and cultural heritage can be a driver for change in society, how art and cultural heritage have the power to address social issues and challenges; they were the focus of an online peer-learning visit hosted by Kortrijk in April.

A dynamic city in Belgium, Kortrijk builds on the dynamics created by the recognition as a UNESCO Creative City of Design, whereby creativity is a driving force for the sustainable development of the city and region. Kortrijk has been experimenting for several years with projects on citizen’ participation and participatory governance. In the new administrative agreement 2020-2025, the city government established the involvement of its citizens in the co-creation of urban projects as a priority.

Citizen’s participation can be:

  • supported through artistic interventions (for example through Emma, the city’s new giant).
  • triggered by local cultural institutions (for example, Kortrijk’s forthcoming local museum on identity is collecting personal stories form inhabitants). 
  • embedded in the development of a city’s cultural strategy as part of Kortrijk’s attempt to become European Capital of Culture in 2030.

Local cultural heritage can be reinvented with the participation of citizens and relevant organisations, allowing new connections between the past and the future of a place.

For more info on participation and co-creation through cultural heritage in Kortrijk, see this video. For more info on ‘Emma the small giant- A giant step for participation and inclusion’, see this video.