More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities, and how our cities grow, adapt and thrive is becoming the key issue of our age. Yet conversation around the future city is still more focused on policy and technology than people and culture. Artists and cultural organisations play a unique role in re-imagining the cities of the future, ensuring citizens are engaged, that public spaces are open and that infrastructure solutions are people-centred, appropriate and textured. We believe the Creative Producer sits at the heart of this possibility for change.

For over 10 years, Watershed have pursued this belief by growing a team of Producers in Bristol, by nurturing emerging Producers from around the UK and by reflecting on what we do with research partners. Four years ago, we began an ambitious journey to create an international talent development programme, bringing together Creative Producers from cities across the globe. Building on Watershed’s Playable City work, we curated 15 incredible leaders working across contemporary art, placemaking, community engagement, corporate collaboration, urban innovation and social activism, and set out to learn and make change together.

We asked questions about identity and public space, about privilege and play, about value and impact. Our aim was to form and amplify a network of connected practice and build an international bank of knowledge and experience around city change. This report seeks to capture, codify and share some of our approach and some of that learning – we hope it is insightful and useful and helps you to build your own practice of change. You can read it online via the website, or by downloading the PDF version here.