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A new fund was launched in 2014 to fund small-scale projects by amateur cultural organisations and community-led cultural projects.

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Malta/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.1 Overview of strategies, programmes and direct or indirect forms of support

The current public investment programmes for the cultural and creative industries offer a broad spectrum of funding possibilities to individuals and organisations. The following table plots the extensive range of public investment initiatives that creative practitioners and organisations in the major fields of activity can access at various entry points and development phases.

Table 11:  Overview of programmes of culture and creativity

Cultural Heritage








Education/ young audience development

Culture Card


Culture Card






Malta Arts Scholarships


Project Grants

Good Causes Fund





Local Cultural Initiative Fund

Malta Arts Fund


Local Cultural Initiative Fund

Local Cultural Initiative Fund

Malta Film Fund


Malta Games Fund




Premju ghall-Artiggjanat

Premju Francis Ebejer








Premju Nazzjonali tal-Ktieb





Premju tal-President ghall-kreattivita’


Innovation awards

Start-up/ Entrepreneurship


Micro Loans


Fiscal Incentives















Malta Enterprise Investment Aid Tax Credit (Purchase of Equipment)


Venture Capital










Cultural Diplomacy Fund


Malta Arts Fund Mobility


Cultural Diplomacy Fund

Cultural Diplomacy Fund

Table 12:  Direct and indirect funds to support artists, in EUR, 2014





Arts Scholarship Fund

250 000

Business Support Fund for Crafts and Artisans

150 000

Cultural Organisation Support Grant (Malta Arts Fund strand)

100 000

Digital Games Fund

150 000

Film Fund

250 000

Malta Arts Fund

330 000

National Awards for Innovation and Creativity

70 000

President's Creativity Award Scheme

70 000

Public Lending Rights

10 000

Schools Creativity Programme (Kreattiv)

80 000

Subsidies to Cultural organisations in Gozo

16 000

Support to Cultural NGOs/Enterprises (INVEX)

140 000

Digital Games Fund

100 000

Cultural Partnership Agreements

170 000

Support to Local Bands

150 000


2 036 000



Acquisition of Books

100 000

Artistic Works in Public Spaces

50 000

Cultural Diplomacy Fund

75 000

Cultural scheme for local councils

240 000

Film Industry Incentives Subvention

1 410 000

Fund for Acquisition of Contemporary Maltese Artworks

55 000

Literary Prize and subsidies

30 000

Students' Cultural Participation programme (Culture Card)

120 000


2 080 000

The increase in the Cultural Support Programme in 2007, with MTL 20 000 (EUR 46 586) at its disposal, to a funding ecosystem of more than EUR 2 million in direct investment projected for 2012 has been positively received by cultural organisations and artists. The establishment of the Malta Film Fund and the Malta Arts Fund in 2008 and 2009 respectively filled a huge void in direct support measures to artists (more details in chapter 8.1.2). New funding programmes designed from 2010 present a shift in policies which focus more on stimulating demand, supporting public participation, as well as addressing all the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) as one economic domain with strong emphasis on the contribution of NGOs and creative enterprises as key contributors to creative development.

The current ecology of public investment is very strong on project grants to amateur and semi-professional cultural organisations. On the other hand, investments leading to professionalisation, development and entrepreneurship as the ethos of public-funding programmes are still at the initial phase of implementation. This reflects the current creative ecosystem and the perception that cultural work is predominately amateur or hobbyist. Therefore, successful absorption of the new funding programmes, especially those which focus on entrepreneurial development, are highly dependent on the interest and potential of operators to leap into professional activity and address the aversion to creativity related risk. Although this strategy closely examines the professional needs for growth in the industry, it equally values the economic, social and cultural role of voluntary and community-led activity. This long-standing tradition still retains a very strong profile in Malta's cultural ecosystem and separate platforms need to be created to support their initiatives and activities based on open programmes guided by principles of meritocracy, participation and inclusion as identified in the Cultural Policy.

Culture Card

In 2011 The Culture Card was launched, whereby 15 000 students in the first 3 years of secondary school were given a culture card valued at EUR 15 to spend over 3 cultural events. Additionally, each card may be topped-up online by the card user. Any producer operating through a registered Culture Card box office can receive payments through the card. This initiative has been designed to encourage and support young people to engage in cultural and artistic activities, while incentivising cultural producers to commission new work and programme cultural and artistic activities devised specifically for young people. This reflects the government's aim to develop and create new audiences by investing in cultural demand and by promoting culture and the arts as an entertaining, fulfilling, challenging and exciting activity.   


Another imitative launched in 2011 is the "Kreattiv" schools creativity programme. The programme is designed to encourage freelance creators and scientists, culture enterprises or organisations to bid for projects with schools or colleges for a scholastic year. Therefore the initiative aims at inspiring young people and helping them learn through creativity. With EUR 5 000 investment per project, over 1 scholastic year, this initiative should initiate creative and innovate projects in classrooms and colleges through partnerships between teachers, students and creators. Such a process utilises creative education as a tool for development, encourage collaboration and contributes to the creation of employment opportunities for creative workers. It is also an effective way of encouraging exposure of potential careers in the cultural and creative industries to young people.

International Showcasing

A number of new initiatives were also announced in Budget 2012. In Budget 2011, government announced a new initiative so that, in 2012, Malta presents the first showcase of the best artistic and creative work produced in Malta and Gozo, to attract international producers, curators and agents, and assist them in further reaching international markets. In the 2012 budget a Cultural Diplomacy Fund was established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate cultural export, collaboration and mobility. A showcase was launched in 2014 as a pilot project to present the national repertoire to international markets.

Band Societies

Recognising the role of Band Societies (traditional brass bands), in the local community life as well as in youth development and music education, the Government intends to set up a EUR 100 000 scheme offering financial assistance to band clubs, helping them in musical training and teaching of youths.

Local Cultural Initiative Fund

A new fund was launched in 2014 to fund small-scale projects by amateur cultural organisations and community-led cultural projects.

Promoting Intellectual Property

Budget 2012 also announced a new incentive in the form of a tax exemption on income from copyright, aimed at increasing the country's competitiveness in the cultural and creative sectors, both on national and international levels. This is an extension of the incentives related to royalty income from patents introduced in 2010, in order to also cover works protected by copyright, including books, film scripts, music and art.

Fiscal Incentive on Cultural Education

A number of fiscal incentives in Budget 2012 were also announced. Government is providing an added incentive to cultural education by extending the income tax reduction on sports education to cultural education. Parents whose children attend courses in cultural and creative teaching institutions will benefit from a EUR 100 reduction on taxable income for costs related to courses given by licensed or accredited schools or teachers. Also in order to provide this sector with an incentive to better organise itself, there will be an exemption from the payment of registration fees for new companies in this sector as well as a three year exemption on their annual payments to the national financial services authority.


Other initiatives by Government included the allocation of funds for a training programme in films, as well as in culture management. These initiatives are being taken within the preparatory framework of a development plan so that Malta's educational institutions may provide further vocational training in the cultural and creative fields. The Government also allocates funds for artistic works in public spaces and for the acquisition of contemporary Maltese artworks.

Cultural scheme for local councils

A scheme to help Local Councils organise cultural activities in their localities almost doubled in size in 2010, following the involvement of the Malta Tourism Authority. The government scheme was launched in 2008 when 33 applications were submitted for the EUR 138 000 allocated for events in 2009. Of these, 27 were selected for funding through a selection process - 15 councils in Malta and 12 in Gozo. This was the first time financial assistance was given to councils for cultural initiatives. For 2010, the budget has increased to EUR 250 000 to encourage more councils to come up with events showcasing the localities. The authority, which is pitching in with funds, will also be marketing these events in Malta and abroad.

The scheme aims at linking the localities' identity with tourism, thus diversifying the tourism product, while reducing seasonality and providing a better distribution of income within the localities. Military Mtarfa, the Senglea Maritime Festival, the Strawberry Festival in MÄ¡arr, Mediaeval Mdina and Birgu by Candlelight are a few examples of activities organised by the councils that promoted the heritage of each locality. The government hoped the new scheme would also involve a number of NGOs and organisations within localities rather than just the council.

National Lottery Good Causes Fund

Additionally, the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund is also acting as a direct supporter to artists. Of the total funds available from 2008 to 2010, EUR 1.87 million was disbursed to 154 individuals or organisations for Heritage, Arts and Media projects. The top beneficiaries in the heritage sector in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were NGOs. In the arts sector, the State was the top beneficiary in 2008 whereas band clubs received the largest percentage of funds in 2009 and 2010. The top beneficiary for media related projects in 2008 was the State whereas NGOs received most funds for this area in 2009 and the Church in 2010. Due to over-allocation of funds, mainly attributed to pre-electoral commitments in 2013, the fund is currently under review and balancing the accumulated deficit.

Chapter published: 12-08-2015

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