Cebu City submits bid for UN creative city classification

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz July 28,2019 - 02:42 PM

Butch Carungay, MATIQ Hub board member, explains the need to come up with action plans to focus and develop further Cebu’s creative sector. | Irene R. Sino Cruz

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City is seeking classification from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) as a creative city under the design category.

Butch Carungay, MATIQ Hub board member, made this disclosure in a recent interview. MATIQ Hub is a multi-disciplinary enabling space which focuses on the use of indigenous Materials, Art, Technology, Innovation and Qi.

The member cities of the Unesco Creative Cities Network represent seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, Music and Design. 

“We are applying for the highest category which is design. It became obvious that we need to do a lot of things in terms of infrastructure. So, while we are very hopeful that we get (the classification) but we’re okay if we don’t,” Carungay said.

He recalled that it took Singapore five years to apply for their bid as a creative city, but Cebu only took two months to prepare for the application.

“The bid team really agreed that whether we get the designation this year, or the next round which is 2021, we will push through with the action planning,” Carungay said.

Design museum

 He said the action plan included the setting up of a museum for design. 

“Cebu doesn’t really have a repository or focal point for the design community. When one asks where to go to experience Cebu design, there’s really no center for it,” Carungay said.

The design museum would serve as a converging point, a place to be inspired, a place to realize one’s ideas and to actualize, he said. 

MATIQ has been talking to a potential site for the museum, which would have seven galleries. The galleries would feature painting, sculpture, furniture and fashion, among others.

“We will have a maker’s space, which would be both digital and analog. So, you have a traditional craftsman, but you also have the latest digital prototyping such as 3D printers, laser scanners,” Carungay said. 

This would provide a venue for those, who have design ideas but does not have access to a facility to realize their design.

Creative Cebu grid

MATIQ chairman Agustin Palao said that they would like to encourage would-be designers.

 “You have to have a place to go in order to appreciate things before you can really get interested and move forward,” Palao said.

On the other hand, Carungay also cited the need for concerted efforts to develop the creative sector in Cebu.

“We are activating the creative Cebu grid. It’s an association of local government units (LGUs), academe, national agencies and private sector,” he said. 

“The goal would be to align the efforts of all concerned sectors towards the same goal, expounding on what we’re trying to do on Cebu design week but do it year round or formalized,” he said.

He said there would be representatives from Cebu City, the national government agencies, the private sector to be led by MATIQ Hub and the academe to be led by University of the Philippines Cebu, which has a Fab Lab.

Soft side, infrastructure

Carungay said that parts of the grid would be working with their specific sectors to attain the same goal.

The creative Cebu grid would be more on the soft side while the design museum, which is dubbed as Newd, would be the infrastructure.

“I think the creative sector in Cebu has been overshadowed by other sectors like BPO (business process outsourcing), IT (information technology) and tourism. Ten years ago, Cebu was just creative sector.” Carungay said, adding that embedded in all these sectors is creativity./dbs

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TAGS: Carungay, Cebu City, creative cities, design museum, MATIQ Hub, network, Palao, Unesco

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