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Malta/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and debates  

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

Performing arts

The National Cultural Policy envisages the promotion of educational facilities and the provision of spaces for artists' formation as well as the elaboration of public encounters through events that are accessible, participatory, innovative, culturally diverse and supportive of the cultural development of Maltese performers. These incentives should be based on the centrality of creative collaborations within the framework of a dynamic and diverse community. In 2011 the Minister responsible for Education announced the development of a College of Arts to deliver professional artistic training. The University of Malta had also announced the establishment of School for Performing Arts in its Valletta and Msida Campuses to compliment the current arts training programme and the newly established practice-based dance programme. This was eventually set up in July 2012 and comprised new programmes of study in music, dance and theatre.

The Policy prioritises the continued fostering of professionalism within the music, theatre and dance sectors as core contributors to Malta's cultural development, including their potential to enrich Malta's international creative showcase. It also calls for the development of strategies by the appropriate organisations, to investigate the development of the performing arts beyond the strictly artistic sphere, with a view to their potential within other spheres such as health, justice and community programmes. Educational facilities need to be further developed within a formal educational framework. Empowerment measures for community-level action need to be enacted, particularly in support of Local Council and local community organisations. The much needed changes to the current theatre classification structures are the mostly anticipated developments for the arts. Classification systems shall be applied as guidance mechanisms for cultural producers and consumers including areas such as digital games, films and television, to further enhance the potential of producers to contribute actively to a dynamic and open society, while ensuring that the appropriate protection of children and vulnerable groups is enforced. To this effect, the Policy prioritises the need for the professional enhancement of the creative sector, coupled with a thorough review of the legal framework, to ensure that basic rights of freedom of expression by cultural producers are respected equally across all genres.

The National Cultural policy also calls for the provision of adequate performance space for Malta's needs: a versatile, dedicated space which can accommodate workshop areas and large-scale dance, theatre and music productions with adequate backstage areas and facilities.

Specific measures:

  • reduction of VAT from 18% to 5% on performance tickets (see chapter 5.1.5);
  • tax deduction on donations to the arts (see chapter 5.1.5); and
  • Culture Card with EUR 15 for all students in the first three years of secondary school (see chapter 8.1.1).

Visual arts

The National Cultural Policy emphasises two key areas of intervention:

  • the provision (through joint government and private sector financing, wherever possible) of adequate infrastructure: workshops, exhibitions, public encounters and artist residency spaces; and
  • the development of adequate educational facilities, at least up to undergraduate level, supported by the necessary material and human resources.

Policy also acknowledges the untenable gap in the exposition of Maltese modern and contemporary art, and considers that focused synergies between the ACM and Heritage Malta, together with all other relevant stakeholders and artists, should aim towards rectifying this situation. The implementation of policy in this area will be translated into concrete actions through the work of ACM's strategic planning. The potential for localities to provide artist-in-residency facilities needs to be taken into consideration within this context.

In 2011, a delegation from Plus Tate, a network associated with the prestigious Tate art museums in Britain, was in Malta to discuss a contemporary art museum space with the authorities. The ministry responsible for culture, in collaboration with the Council for Culture and the Arts, Heritage Malta and the University worked on identifying potential sites and implementing the necessary framework to launch the project.

The new government pledged in its manifesto to develop a museum for modern and contemporary art. The Board for cultural projects has been tasked with the development of a brief for the museum.

Specific measures:

  • fund to purchase works of art; and
  • fund for public art commissions.

See also chapter 8.1.1 for more information on the above measures.

Literature and publishing

Policy calls for the development of support structures for writers, translators, publishers and distributors. This includes support for the creative use of the Maltese language within a range of artistic contexts such as theatre and film, the translation of original Maltese texts into other languages, and the publication of books by Maltese authors abroad, as well as of the translation of foreign works into the Maltese language. Government entities such as the ACM, the National Book Council and Il-Kunsill Nazzjonali tal- Ilsien Malti, as well as NGOs working in the literary field, are key actors and stakeholders in this area. Arts Council Malta supports translation through the Spreading Words programme. Recent positive developments include the development of the National Book Fair as a book festival and new awards for literary achievements. 

Cultural policy measures:

Infrastructural and administrative frameworks shall be developed further to provide professional support structures to enable them to fulfil their role at a national level.

A residency programme for writers and literary translators shall be established, while attention to the development of creative writing techniques, through formal and informal education course provisions, and to cultural research and cultural journalism shall be catered for. Measures in support of independent and proactive journalism based on principles of public value also need to be concretely adopted. The linguistic quality within journalism and broadcasting is another important facet of the same issue. Within a wider context, the support for multilingualism shall be developed beyond the strict curriculum requirements of the educational system. The contribution that libraries can provide in this regard shall be highlighted when the review of libraries' role is undertaken.

Specific measures:

  • National Book Awards;
  • fund to purchase books; and
  • fund for public lending rights (2012).

See chapter 8.1.2 for more information on the above measures.

Chapter published: 12-08-2015

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