Lugano 2020

October 12-14 | Co-hosted by LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura

Making a Difference: Agency, Accountability and Impact

The 2020 GCDN Annual Convening will bring together international cultural and civic leaders to consider the role of cultural districts in a changing world. Co-hosted by LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura in Switzerland, the convening will explore social impact; climate crisis; land value capture; and the relationship between anchor institutions and the creative industries.

Opened in 2015, LAC has already made a significant contribution to the cultural, social and economic life of Lugano. The city’s modest scale, its complex amalgam of languages and cultures and its location at the heart of Europe provide a rich site for a highly participative programme of debate, workshops and networking activities. LAC itself serves as a context to explore definitions of impact and the variety of models of cultural districts in Switzerland, Europe and the world.

In a time of economic, environmental and political flux, cultural organisations are increasingly keen – and encouraged – to utilise their resources and cultural heft to make a difference. Cultural districts have a civic and collaborative purpose at heart, encompassing a cluster of organisations and creative enterprises with a desire to improve urban life. As the stakes grow higher, it becomes ever more essential to go beyond the rhetoric and refine understanding of impact; the resources and appetite required to achieve meaningful change; now and in the future. The 2020 convening will support GCDN’s commitment to make an authentic contribution to the most challenging issues of the day.

GCDN is an initiative of AEA Consulting. Find out more about GCDN here and please contact us if you have any questions.

All information on this webpage is subject to change – last updated on March 26, 2020.


GCDN Membership provides free registration to the convening for two representatives – please contact us if you require the code to book your complimentary tickets.


Confirmed speakers include:

Kiley Arroyo, Executive Director, Cultural Strategy Council – Sausalito (CA), USA

Geoffrey Crossick, Distinguished Professor of Humanities (and Former Director, AHRC Cultural Value Project), School of Advanced Study, University of London – London, UK

Adrian Ellis, Director, AEA Consulting; Chair, GCDN – Beacon (NY), USA

Su Fern Hoe, Assistant Professor of Arts and Culture Management
Arts & Culture Management Coordinator, Singapore Management University – Singapore

Venues and map

LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura


Information coming soon.





Convening attendees have access to preferential rates at selected hotels in downtown Lugano – providing 100 rooms at walking distance to LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura.

: Hotel Splendide Royal Lugano

: Hotel de la Paix

: Hotel International au LAC

Simply quote the promo code on your registration e-ticket to book your stay at one of these hotels.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding accommodation.


Recommended travel dates: to enjoy the experience of the convening to the fullest, GCDN recommends planning to arrive in Lugano by mid-afternoon on October 12 and leave in the evening of October 15.

Recommended itinerary (air travel): land at Milan Malpensa airport and then take the direct S50 train line from Malpensa T1 or T2 to Lugano. Train tickets can be purchased online here. Single course tickets cost €21 for 2nd class and €27 for 1st.
Duration: 1h35.

Alternative itinerary (air travel): land at Zurich Kloten airport and then take the train to Lugano (multiple connections available). Find your best option and buy tickets online here. Costs vary and promotions such as saver day-passes are available.
Duration: 2h30+.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice on travel plans.