Activity Reports (May, 2009)

Sendai Creative Forum 2009
“Crossing Creative Powers - Local to Global, Global to Local -”
Summary Part 1

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Photo of Sendai Creative Forum 2009


The Japan Foundation has been co-organizing seminars and symposia with actors in communities to stimulate international cultural exchange activities in their communities.



Image picture of Sendai Creative Forum 2009

Following the symposium "Stimulating Cities with Art" in Kanazawa City in 2008, the Japan Foundation co-organize Sendai Creative Forum 2009 with Sendai City and the Miyagi Museum of Art, entitled “Crossing Creative Powers - Local to Global, Global to Local –“ on March 23, 2009.
In Sendai City and its neighboring areas, there is a movement to revitalize the cities by creative activities in the fields of media art, contemporary, art, architecture, and design. Sendai-based creators are active globally. It is now required to build networks with international platforms that engage in similar activities and to extend personal networks by sharing information and know-how.

We organized the symposium with Mr. Masashige Motoe (Associate Professor at Graduate School of Tohoku University) as a moderator and the following panelists: Mr. Drew Hemment (Director & CEO of “Futuresonic”), Mr. Hide Nakaya (Navigator in NHK TV program “Digital Stadium”), Mr. Meruro Washida (Curator at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa), and Mr. Naoto Ogawa (member of “logue”). They discussed the possibilities of international art festivals to prime the revitalization of cities by prompting to generate ideas and exchanges, rather than to be mere presentations or exhibitions of art. They also discussed how important for people with creative potential in local communities to send out their messages to connect to each other to form a global network.

Sendai Creative Forum 2009
“Crossing Creative Powers - Local to Global, Global to Local -”


Date: Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 14: 20 to 17: 00 (Opened at 13: 30)
Venue: Lecture Hall at The Miyagi Museum of Art (Aoba-ku, Sendai)
Organizers: The Japan Foundation, Senday City, The Miyagi Museum of Art
Supporter: British Council
Cooperator: Creative-related Urban-type Festival Research Society (FesLab)



  1. Opening address / Organizers' address
  2. “Futuresonic” Presentation (Drew Hemment)
  3. FesLab Presentation (Shinya Kakizaki)
  4. Panel Discussion


1. Organizers’ Address

  • Ms. Mihoko Himeda, Assistant Managing Director of the Japan Foundation Information Center, made an opening address stating that the Japan Foundation expected further progress in the movement of creative cities in local communities, the revitalization of local communities through art, and the activities of international cultural exchange.
  • Mr. Gen Amano, Director, Industry Promotion Section, Industrial Policy Department, The City of Sendai, made a greeting speech and described the policy of Sendai City.
    Sendai City is expected to face a declining population in years to come due to the increase of population outflow. Therefore, the city is now striving for improvement of the citizens’ quality of life rather than its quantitative expansion. That is the reason why Sendai City is adopting the concept of “creative city” that is attracting a global interest. The city encourages promoting a collaborative relationship among industry, government and academia to promote creative industry.


2. Presentations of Model Cases

Presentation of “Futuresonic” by Mr. Drew Hemment

Photo of Drew Hemment 1

“Futuresonic” is now known as a leading digital art festival in the U.K. Manchester, the host city of the festival, is a city with a population of 600,000 with various cultural backgrounds. In a city of the size of Manchester, we have an advantage to produce a more open event that covers different genres of culture. Manchester and Sendai share common characteristics such as the size of the city and the distance from the capital. Manchester achieved the economic development as the first city of industrial revolution in England. After the Second World War, however, its economy declined rapidly. Today, it is undertaking the revitalization with the power of culture.  


The mission of “Futuresonic” is to stimulate the city as the stage and revitalize it to transform into an energetic city. Futuresonic is a community-based festival that provides opportunities for artists in the community to connect to international communities and creative visions. What makes this festival so unique is the fact that it is organized as part of academic researches in a close collaboration with universities. This festival is contributing many researches by providing university researchers with a platform for experiments and presentations. We have been seeking the way to make the festival creative. From now on, Futuresonic has three main strands: Art, Music, and Ideas. To involve with various genres and people, the festival will be renamed to FutureEverything.



Photo of Drew Hemment 2

The theme of Futuresonic 2009 and the Social Technologies Summit is social media and social networking. When the festival is on the cutting edge of new cultural trends, companies are eager to participate in to obtain information. As a result, it can contribute to academic researches and economic development.

Although the festival itself is held only for three days per year, numerous activities are required for preparation and follow-up. Therefore, we regard it as a year-round project. In addition, it is a valuable opportunity to gather artists, companies, and citizens that benefits the local community.

I’d like to conclude this presentation with Charles Landry’s quote: “Making cities, there is no formula.”  


Presentation of International Festival Laboratory by Shinya Kakizaki
“FesLab” is short for Festival Laboratory, an organization to research activities such as the one led by Mr. Hemment. FesLab is also a producer of the exhibition “Occur” that is held at this museum (The Miyagi Museum of Art). The word of “Occur” comes from a Latin word that symbolizes a current (river) is about to run out of its source. We name the exhibition “Occur” in hope that Sendai city can be the center of new art movement. FesLab has been researching how an event should be organized and aiming to build a platform where artists can engage in cross-cutting discussions, stepping out of their own fields of art, such as architecture, music, etc. Currently, FesLab is working on the first festival to be held in autumn 2010, but the number of creators in Sendai City is not yet enough. Therefore, our objective is to foster producers and directors as well as to discover creative talents among the young generation to encourage them to be designers, composers, and artists of various fields.


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