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The 2020 Rome charter: online conference on the development of sustainable cities and communities through participation in culture

Editeur 2 • 28 September 2020

In a few short weeks, COVID-19 has swept away the world we knew. The measures we must take to protect our health have changed how we live and damaged our prosperity. At first, we talked about life ‘after the crisis’. Now we are learning that the disease might be with us for a long time, and that we will have to adapt to its presence. The experience is changing how we think about ourselves, about others and about the communities in which we live.

A few months ago, the city of Rome began a process of reflection on people’s participation in cultural life at local level, in the belief that commodification and economic priorities threatened equity, justice and human dignity. We wanted to contribute to global debates about development, citizenship and democracy, debates in which culture, human rights and cities are shamefully marginal.

With the challenges it provokes, a crisis brings a responsibility and an opportunity to think beyond existing boundaries and do things that seemed impossible before, and already, in a few weeks, governments, institutions and citizens have sometimes done both. If some good can come from COVID-19, it will be because we have been brave enough to imagine different, better, more sustainable ways of living together and we won’t stop after the immediate crisis is over. And cities, which will shelter two thirds of the world’s population by 2050, are central to this challenge.

The result of this reflection has been collected in the 2020 Rome Charter, based on the principle that "Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, to share in scientific advancement and its benefits" (Article 27, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights).


An international online conference on cities and culture

In this context, the City of Rome, in partnership with the UCLG Committee on Culture, is organising an international online conference on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd October 2020. Three days of debates, international interventions and dialogues dedicated to discuss the implications of the 2020 Charter of Rome in the development of sustainable cities and communities through participation in culture.
Eleven sessions online, all translated in English and in Italian, some of them held in Spanish and French. Over 50 stories. Common questions and a collective reflection on how to build and develop better societies for the future, starting from today.


Video presentation