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Cardiff declares itself a ‘music city’

By | Published on Friday 15 December 2017

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Cardiff yesterday declared itself a ‘music city’, employing development agency Sound Diplomacy to help put in place policies to protect the city’s music scene and build its international profile.

Together, Cardiff City Council and Sound Diplomacy aim to “develop policies that treat music as infrastructure and will deliver a healthy music ecosystem”. The potential positive effects of this are numerous, says Sound Diplomacy’s Shain Shapiro.

“If one attaches music to urbanism – learning about the complex organisms that our cities are and about how they operate – it provides unique insight into understanding the types of cities we want, compared to the types of cities we often create”, he says. “Music is a proven tool to reduce social exclusion and loneliness. Taught with the same vigour as maths and sciences, it improves cognition and empathy. It also enhances the perception of safety, such as when classical music is played in stations during rush hour”.

Sound Diplomacy’s partnership with Cardiff follows similar projects in Barcelona, Berlin, San Francisco and London. It also follows moves by the council in Cardiff to protect music venues on the city’s Womanby Street from developers – which included the council buying the land on which Clwb Ifor Bach stands in order to lease it back to the venue.

Shapiro says of this latest project: “It’s an honour and a responsibility to be working with Cardiff Council to add up, measure and assess the music infrastructure across the city. The council have shown through their efforts on Womanby Street and their increased engagement on music that to them, music is of economic, social and cultural benefit to the city. We take this incredibly seriously, and will work to develop a music policy that musicians, businesses and residents can benefit from and be proud of”.

Council Leader Huw Thomas adds: “We all know that Wales is a musical nation, and as the capital city, I believe Cardiff has a huge role to play in celebrating and promoting this. Music is an incredibly powerful force for good in our everyday lives, but more than this, it has the power to shape cities, particularly ones with the distinctive cultural offering that we have here in Cardiff. That’s why this announcement is such great news, not just for musicians and concert-goers, but for everyone who wants to see Cardiff develop its international profile, make the most of its potential and become a truly great world capital”.