“Being just an average city is not enough. Ambition is the driving force of a city. It is easy to build roads and sewage systems, what is difficult is taking care of the social fabric. It's not just about money, but about what we dream of and what we want. Making a creative city requires an ethos which allows people to work with imagination. A creative city is the best possible city” argued Charles Landry, a world authority in the use of imagination and creativity in urban policy, set out at the MCK. Over many years of working with decision-makers and leaders Landry has worked to increase the potential of cities by triggering creative thinking among residents. Landry and Jonathan Hyams designed the Creative City Index – which serves to measure, analyse and evaluate the level of cities' innovation and their ability to adapt to global changes. Such a study will also be undertaken for Kraków.

In his address, Landry addressed some recommendations to Kraków. “It is a city of high culture. Remember you have to try to not be the best city in the world, but the best city for the world. Go with the flow of change, even if it is rushing along. You should combine science with business, reach for the dichotomy of tradition and innovation. Kraków must not be a curator, but a creator of content. All this will make Kraków an interesting place – the British scholar told his audience during his lecture on “Kraków - the city of ambition - following change while staying true to yourself”. This was the challenge that the author of the popular book "The Creative City" threw down to the people of Kraków.

A lecture by Charles Landry Kraków: A City of Ambitions

Professor Purchla argues that “Kraków has proved that, by means of class, wealth and diversity of its cultural heritage, it is able to symbolize here, on the River Vistula, the essence of European civilization and its durability. It is very convincing in this respect. The city has always been Polish while remaining open to the world at the same time. It has not only imported a variety of patterns, but have also processed them creatively. It is here that three different concepts of Central Europe have met: the Hanseatic, the Jagiellonian and the Habsburg to which the city owes the three periods at the heyday of its civilization. That is why we have here the largest Hanseatic market square in Europe, the Tuscan-style Wawel Castle, the Habsburg city core from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and Kazimierz, where Corpus Christi street intersects with Rabbi Meiselsa street. Kraków is Poland’s window to the South”. Jacek Purchla concludes that it is one of Poland’s raisons d'etat “to strengthen the role of Kraków in the European Core”.

Poll prepared by "Gazeta Wyborcza"

Conference Kraków and the World: The City and Culture
Robert Palmer, Paul Spies, Robert Piaskowski, Milena Dragićević Šešić, Faith Liddell

So what would be the city's cultural policy supporting cultural development? Trust and cooperation between institutions and engagement of citizens in the co-creation of culture and cultural policy is the foundation, according to the participants of a discussion concluding the conference entitled, "City and culture". In Krakow -- a city of numerous festivals, including the ones implemented as part of the 6 senses brand and using a large amount of public funds -- these issues are especially important. As highlighted by Robert Piaskowski, the issue is not to convert culture and the city into festivals as part of creating the city brand but a situation where festivals become the platform for cooperation that builds bridges and understanding.