The Malta Independent 5 December 2023, Tuesday
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The soul of a nation

Owen Bonnici Friday, 23 September 2022, 14:29 Last update: about 2 years ago

A nation’s artistic ecosystems are precious and unique because, at the end of the day, they nurture the soul of a whole nation.

Also, culture is a catalyst for the sustainable development of a country. This is due to the specific and various contributions that culture offers to promote social inclusion, economic development, environmental sustainability, harmony, peace, and dialogue.


I would like to mention three schemes we have launched in past days which have precisely the aim of bolstering the various cultural organisations.

  1. Investment in Cultural Organisations: 900,000 over a 3-year program

I like to call this funding scheme the most important schemes of all as it provides a three-year funding agreement with cultural organisations.  The calls is the second one in its current format and the third one overall. 

The scheme has the aim to create partnerships with active local voluntary organisations that focus on the cultural and creative sectors. Through this 3-year programme, we provide an investment of €300,000 each year with €900,000 in total.  This investments seeks to help oorganisations develop and grow whilst delivering Arts Council Malta’s Strategy2025 goals to align with the National Cultural Policy 2021.

As a government, we aim to contribute to the culture and the arts through such programmes and schemes, ensuring the sector's continuing growth and further stability.  Over the stretch of three programs we have invested nearly 3,000,000 in the beneficiary organisations from its inception until today. We can continue supporting, advocating, and strengthening the sector thanks to such initiatives.

This programme was initially introduced as the Cultural Partnership Agreement scheme in 2016. It was then re-launched as the Investment in Cultural Organisations for the years 2020 -2022, whereby a total of 13 voluntary organisations have directly benefitted from the scheme, some of which are Moveo Dance Company, the Gabriel Caruana Foundation, Teatru Salesjan, and Kinemastik. Another additional 3 organisations were supported on the same level through a collaboration agreement between Arts Council Malta and the Valletta Cultural Agency to maximise the investment of the ICOs.

The programme accentuates the investment and fostering of diverse artistic and cultural expression, strengthens international cultural relations and nurtures cross-sectoral collaboration to contribute to our country’s sustainable development. Moreover, it enables the building and strengthening of the beneficiaries’ organisational capacity, thus further falling in line with ACM’s Strategy2025 goals.

Organisations Malta has two strands, one for ‘investing in organisational development, and another for ‘investing in regular festivals, programmes and events.’

More information and guidelines for this programme can be found and downloaded from under the funds and opportunities section or call 23347230.

The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 18 October 2022 at noon.

Only Voluntary Organisations with a Maltese address enrolled with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations can apply.

  1. The Artistic Financing For Feast Street Decorations Scheme

Voluntary organisations linked to feast decorations for Maltese feast will benefit from an investment of €180,000 to ensure continuous fostering, stregthening and protection of this beautiful aspect of our cultural traditions.

Managed by Arts Council Malta, this fund assists the numerous organisations in our towns and villages, which are linked to traditional Maltese feasts and voluntarily work throughout the year on the artistic aspect of street decorations.

I thank these associations for all their hard work in organising and planning artistic decorations for feasts.

With the implementation of the artistic financing for feast associations’ scheme, we continue to strengthen our country’s cultural fabric and traditions in feast decorations by assisting with designs and manufacturing and towards their learning investment and training. As well as other artistic projects and activities. Such schemes keep giving us the foundation to solidify our culture and future further.

This scheme ensures that these organisations get the assistance needed to continue furthering their work to reach higher artistic levels in the produced work. Such a scheme also enables us to harness the full potential of our vibrant local ecology of cultural expressions grounded in our communities, as stated in Strategy2025.

Beneficiaries of this scheme are voluntary organisations enrolled with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations and screened in terms of technical and artistic eligibility by Arts Council Malta.

The maximum funding per beneficiary was €10,000 per project; each project was awarded funding on a case-by-case basis

  1. Preservation, Archiving and Digitisation Of Musical Scores and Other Documents Stored In Various Band Clubs Around Malta And Gozo.

In 2017, the Band Club Association and Dr Charles Farrugia’s National Archivist, together with Arts Council started working on a digitizing and archiving old music sheets and other important documents. This is a project which is very close to my heart.

This was possible due to a collaboration agreement between the Council, the Association and the National Archives, after benefitting from €90,000 in funds. Several band clubs have showinterest and recognized the importance of having everything digitized. In fact, during the first scheme, 18 musical societies took part in this project which has seen over 120,000 photos being digitised.

Following the success of the first scheme, the agreement was extended, which led to the second launch of this project to which is already gathering the interest from several band clubs. In this regard, I encourage others not to miss this opportunity which is crucial for the visibility of the history of the band societies and with the account of our country is intrinsically linked.

We have also embraced our aim of investing in and fostering diverse artistic and cultural expression to continue strengthening our country's cultural and creative ecology. It is through such digitalization schemes that we can fulfil this vision and mission to ensure that the past on which we build our future is being kept.

It surely is an honour for us to give our support for such schemes - we are reaching out to many band clubs at the heart of our community, and we are helping to preserve part of what makes us Maltese and Gozitan.

Through these programmes, we continue to support and preserve Maltese cultural legacy for future generations. Through the economic activity that is generated by cultural events, these programmes also aim to boost local tourism while strengthening the socio-economic component in our communities.

In particular this year, cultural events were crucial for reviving our towns and cities after an almost two-year hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cultural events are also socially sustaining since they foster a sense of belonging and provide a venue for meeting people from all backgrounds.



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