Realm of cultural discussions
The government has strived hard to support and enhance the cultural sector in Malta. Through Arts Council Malta, it has launched a strategy which aims to create a sustainable sector while at the same time cultivating professionalism within the rich local talent.
In fact, within the last couple of years, Arts Council Malta has embarked on several projects and funding programmes that strive to help artists in planning ahead with their projects.
One of the most prominent projects has been the Cultural Partnership Agreement whichis granting funding to 11 organisations or cultural festivals for three years.
This allows these organisations to carry out festivals and projects in a sustainable manner for the organisation while improving the quality of the product provided to the audience.
Another mission of Arts Council Malta is to bring the arts as close as possible to the people through several initiatives and events. In fact, a new project launched this year is Teatru Malta, which is aimed at finding an artistic director who will produce works outside of theatres in Valletta, by using spaces in villages and towns around Malta. This will allow local communities to enjoy the arts within their own villages and towns.
One cannot fail to mention the several successes in the organisation of festivals and events, especially the recently-held Notte Bianca. For the first time, the festival this year included events throughout the capital city as well as in the Cottonera, attracting more than 60,000 people.
Quality has been at the heart of the Notte Bianca festival. The programme for this year’s event reflected the digital era, and events promoted interactivity with the audience, with projects at the heart of the Valletta community mainly at Fort St Elmo, as well as the participation of traditional Maltese band clubs.
For several months, Arts Council Malta has also been working hard together with the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) to host the 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture between today and Friday. It is an honour for Malta to be among countries like Canada, Singapore, England, South Africa, Australia and Chile to host this summit and be at the helm of cultural discussions.
The theme of this World Summit is ‘At the Crossroads? Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century’. During these three days, 400 arts policymakers, government representatives, arts managers and cultural practitioners from around the world will get together in Malta to take part in a rich programme of debate, learning and exchange of information.
This will stimulate cooperation, while providing exchanges of information on how to best support agencies, artists, arts managers and arts policy worldwide.
Culture has several aspects – from participation, to legislation and financing of the cultural sector. Therefore, such a summit will offer a platform where fruitful discussions about all aspects of culture can be conducted.
This will lead to better inter-action and collaboration between artists while enhancing the civil society. At the same time, it also appeals to governments to give culture the importance it deserves as a crucial aspect of our society.
Speakers who will address the audiences during this summit include several prominent figures. Mentioning just a few, there will be: Jane Chu, chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts; Goretti Kyomuhendo, founder and director of the African Writers Trust; and Simon Brault, director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts.
All the speakers have an artistic background which will provide the audience with first-hand experiences and technical knowledge of the sector.
Arts Council Malta is doing sterling work for the cultural sector and this event will continue to put Malta at the forefront of cultural initiatives and projects that aim to better the cultural sector both on a local and international level.
Owen Bonnici is Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government.