1. Cultural policy system
Last update: February, 2015
Cultural activity in Malta has been shaped by political, ecclesiastical, educational or family privilege and influence. Throughout the centuries, the country was occupied by a succession of foreign powers, with one of the results being a struggle for the diffusion of culture and traditions, including a battle over the question of the Maltese language. For example, in the first half of the 1900s, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the British Institute became antagonists, meshed in a cultural battle for political influence and control. The Italian lobby campaigned for the Italian language to be adopted by the cultured elite, including the professional class, and for it to be used in all official documents and legal codes, including the Constitution. On the other side, British colonial authorities supported the use of Maltese to counteract the Italian influence and backed up Maltese writers who played a key role in the fight for the Maltese culture and language. World War II secured Malta's alliance with the British against the Italian-German axis.
A massive cultural renewal in the 1960s was led by a new generation of writers and intellectuals and had significant effects in the fields of literature, theatre, the visual arts and music. Malta's traditional hierarchical models were challenged and classical and romantic approaches were abandoned. Cultural objectives were being articulated by the young intellectuals and taken up for debate in the media. There was also a significant shift towards local production on television and radio. As there was still no official cultural policy at the beginning of the 1960s, responsibility for culture formed part of the portfolios of various Ministers, including those responsible for Education, Foreign Affairs and Justice.
Malta's proclamation of political independence from Britain in 1964 heralded in new concepts for the democratisation of culture, mirroring developments in other countries. In 1965, Malta became a member of the Council of Europe, at a time when the country started to diversify its economy from a military to a service and a market-oriented model. Within such a context, cultural heritage emerged as a crucially important asset. Cultural policy finally gained its own profile when a Minister for Education, Culture and Tourism was appointed after the first elections in 1966.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the two main political parties, the Nationalist Party (NP) and the Malta Labour Party (MLP), began including cultural policy in their electoral programmes. In 1971, the NP pledged to support culture through the creation of an Arts Council. In 1976, they promised to recognise artists and intellectuals as catalysts in the life of the nation. The NP also promised to "extend facilities to the whole people" and to "intensify cultural exchange with other countries". The pledge to construct a National Arts Council was made again in the NP electoral manifestos of 1987, 1992 and 1996 and the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (MCCA) was actually created in 2002, after an Act of Parliament. In the 1990s, it became the declared policy of the Nationalist Party to review culture "not as the privilege of an elite few, but as the dynamic heritage of the whole people."
The Malta Labour Party also articulated its cultural objectives pointedly in the early seventies and appointed a Minister for Education and Culture in 1971 when it assumed power. In its 1976 electoral programme, the MLP dedicated a whole chapter (IV) to "the intellectual and moral aspect of culture to combat materialism". Linking education and culture inextricably, the party also declared that culture should be an instrument to accelerate the socio-economic needs of the Maltese islands. At the beginning of the 1980s, the MLP emphasised culture as a source of identity and stressed the "democratisation of culture and the arts". In the 1990s, the Labour programme stressed the promotion of culture among children and young people, the role of the media in promoting authentic cultural values and the role of culture to promote Malta's international image, especially within a Mediterranean framework.
In 1993, the Ministry responsible for culture (under a Nationalist Party government) commissioned the first comprehensive survey relating to cultural activity in Malta which resulted in the publication, "A Cultural Assessment of the Nation". This report endorsed the fact that cultural trends are mainly influenced by the media in its multiple forms and that traditional entertainment (e.g. village bands, folk festivals) remains active and important. It also emphasised the active role of NGOs in traditional cultural activities.
In 2001, the Ministry of Education, which at the time had Culture and the Arts as part of its portfolio, published a public consultation document to establish a cultural policy for Malta. A delegation from the Council of Europe visited Malta in June 2002 to assess the discussion document and suggest strategies for its implementation. The experts' report, written by Professor Anthony Everitt (UK), was subsequently submitted to the plenary session of the Cultural Committee in Strasbourg in September 2002. Unfortunately, even though the document was regarded as a unique opportunity to address the future of cultural affairs in Malta, the draft document was never finalised into a final policy document. Notwithstanding the lack of formal or legal adoption of the policy, a number of recommendations in the report were implemented in the following years. Namely, the legal framework to establish the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (MCCA), (Chapter 444, Act 8), (http://www.maltaculture.com/filebank/docs/chapter444.pdf), the Cultural Heritage Act 2002 and the creation of the National Book Council.
These legal frameworks were also necessary to address Malta's commitment as a member of the European Union to promote and protect the cultural heritage of the country whilst fostering and developing its creative identity and cooperation.
With its accession in the European Union on the 1st of May 2004, Malta enhanced its strategic position in an enlarged Europe and confirmed its commitment towards the economic and political development of the European Union. This also meant that Malta had to contribute to the successful ratification of European Union treaties and agendas. Therefore, Malta's commitment towards the freedom of creative expression, the fundamental right to access culture and the celebration and preservation of the cultural diversity of its citizens as outlined in the Treaty of Maastricht is encouraging further political investment in culture. Underpinning this commitment lays the freedom of movement for the professionals in the cultural sector, freedom of establishment, and free movement of goods and services within the European Union.
European accession also meant that Malta could capitalise upon European initiatives such as the Culture and Media programmes. EU educational programmes, under the remit of the European Union Programmes Agency, are also offering schools, NGOs and Foundations new opportunities for cultural funding, development and cooperation. These programmes together with other funding programmes such as the European Structural Funds, Interreg programmes and European Regional Development Funds and the agenda set through the EU communication on Culture gave scope for government and perhaps added pressure to view culture as an important sector in the economic and social development of Malta.
In December 2006, the Ministry for Tourism and Culture published the first National Cultural Heritage Strategy following the enactment of the Cultural Heritage Act in 2002. The main objectives of the strategy are based on citizen participation, improved governance, development of cultural resources and sustainable use of heritage resources.
In January 2007, the same Ministry launched a Tourism Plan for the Maltese Islands and Malta's National Tourism Strategy. For the cultural sector, these documents outline policies though which the niche sector of cultural tourism is to be developed in the coming years.
An important milestone in the history of cultural affairs in Malta was set in 2007 with the inclusion of the creative industries in the government pre-budget document and the implementation of new budgetary measures for culture in the National Budget for 2008. The pre-budget document states that "cultural development needs to be at the heart of our nation – culture plays a fundamental role in human development, moulding our identity and acting as an indicator of a society's progress and advancement".
In the run-up to the General Elections in 2008, the Malta Labour Party, in opposition, also embraced culture as one of its political priorities through a document outlining a list of 36 recommendations for culture.
In March 2008, the Nationalist Party was re-elected with a relative majority. The portfolio of culture was once again removed from the Tourism Ministry and placed together with education, sport and youth into one Ministry. A Parliamentary Secretary was also appointed for Sport and Youth.
In 2008, the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport appointed a working group to draft Malta's national cultural policy. This was presented to the Cabinet of Ministers and launched for public consultation in 2010. The final cultural policy document was launched by the Prime Minister in July 2011.
The National Cultural Policy focuses on:
- improved cultural governance structures;
- international cultural cooperation;
- the strengthening of the professional status of cultural workers;
- articulation of the specific needs of the arts, heritage and audiovisual sectors;
- development of the cultural rights, cultural socialisation and cultural inclusion; and
- ensuring the long-term sustainability of the cultural sector.
In addition to the cultural values enshrined within the cultural policy, the government acknowledged that investment in the cultural sectors yields further economic and social development. In the budget speech for 2010, the Minister of Finance announced the government's ambition to incentivize the creative industries "consistently with the Vision 2015 to make Malta a centre of excellence in various sectors, including that of creativity." This led to a new set of incentives for the sector and the appointment of a working group for the creative industries to develop a national strategy for the sector.
In 2011, the government set an important milestone for the cultural and creative industries by committing, at a European level, to the strategic development of Heritage, Arts, Media and Creative Business Services towards achieving the objectives of the Euro Plus Pact. The commitment states that: Malta is currently developing a national strategy for the cultural and creative industries. The strategy prioritises 4 pillars: education and professional development; route to market; internationalisation; and governance. In addition to this initiative, the 2011 Budget announced 7 new initiatives and programmes to address the immediate needs of the CCIs namely in the field of training and education, audience development and CCI financing mechanisms to leverage private investment. The aim of the strategy is consistent with the vision of Malta’s new cultural policy in transforming the cultural and creative sector into the most dynamic facet of Malta’s socio-economic life in the 21 century, with the first national milestone being the hosting of the European Capital of Culture in 2018.
In March 2013, the Labour Party led by Dr. Joseph Muscat was elected with an absolute majority. Dr Muscat took office as Malta's Prime Minister on 11 March 2013. The electoral manifesto of the new government, one of the strongest political programmes for culture in recent history, included a chapter on culture, arts and creativity.
Important cultural policy and governance related matters since 2000
|2000||Malta Crafts Council was set up by virtue of Malta Craft Council Act (XXI of 2000). The aims of the Council are focused on the encouragement, promotion and regulation of crafts and craftsmen and entrepreneurs dealing in Maltese craft products. Crafts forming part of Malta's historical heritage are given particular importance.|
|2001||Malta Book Council set up to promote books and book reading in the Maltese Islands.|
|2001/2002||Publication of a public consultation document to establish a cultural policy for Malta. A delegation from the Council of Europe visited Malta in June 2002 to assess the discussion document and suggest strategies for its implementation. The experts' report was subsequently submitted to the plenary session of the Cultural Committee in Strasbourg in September 2002. The experts had summoned the Maltese Government to start implementing the cultural policy systematically.Following further consultation, based on the debate which had ensued after the publication of the first document by the Ministry and the European experts' review, Malta's cultural strategy was revised to include aspects related to prospects for the film industry, intellectual property and the music industry, including the production of rock music in Malta. The revised version remained unpublished.|
|2002||Cultural Heritage Act (Chapter 444, Act 8). Creation of:- Committee of Guarantee (has been set up in order to ensure and facilitate the collaboration between the different agencies that have direct or indirect responsibility for the protection and management of the cultural heritage sector. It is also responsible for advising the Government on the National Strategy for Cultural Heritage) Cultural Heritage Fund (a body corporate with a separate legal personality, which receives and manages monies paid to it under the provisions of the Cultural Heritage Act, as well as other assets that may be donated by non-Governmental sources. These are used for research, conservation or restoration of cultural heritage. The Fund is administered by the Committee of Guarantee) Heritage Malta (the national agency for museums, conservation practice and cultural heritage which replaced the former Museums Department) The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage (to fulfil the duties of the State in ensuring the protection and accessibility of Malta’s cultural heritage); Warranty Board for Restorers and Conservators.|
|2002||Malta Council for Culture and the Arts (MCCA) (replaced Dept of Culture – to promote all forms of creative expression and to increase accessibility of the public to the arts and enhance Malta’s cultural heritage); Set up by Chapter 444 Malta Council for Culture and the Arts Act|
|2003||Culture placed under Ministry for Youth and the Arts|
|2003||MCCA launched its first 3-Year Strategic Plan for the Arts, which saw the setting up of sixteen sub-committees to cater for and develop respective art-forms, including religious ritual. The MCCA had called a series of think-tank sessions but then all sub-committees were abolished for lack of initiative and complete inaction. The projects lined up for implementation by the MCCA during 2003 to 2006 never materialised. These involved several recommendations for projects as proposed by the original policy document of 2001, including the setting up of an Academy for the Performing Arts, a Carnival Village, a Museum of Maltese Contemporary Art and the development of an interactive Arts Village.|
|2004||Culture placed under Ministry for Tourism and Culture.|
|2005||Malta Film Commission established by CHAPTER 478 (Act No. 7 of 2005) of the Laws of Malta, consisting of an advisory body for the role of advising the Minister responsible for the film sector on policies pertaining to the promotion, development and support of the audiovisual and film servicing industry. The board is composed of a chairman and five board members, as well as the Film Commissioner who is responsible for the implementation of Malta’s audiovisual policy.|
|2005||Malta Media Desk was set up to promote the European Union’s Media Programme in Malta and to assist individuals who wish to benefit from this programme. Media Desk Malta is hosted and supported by the Culture and Audiovisual Unit within the Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism, the Environment and Culture.|
|2005||The Maltese Parliament approved a new Archives Act (V, 2005) that came into force on 1 September 2005. This act created for the first time the post of National Archivist and it restructured the National Archives as a Government entity with a distinct legal personality.|
|2005||Heritage Malta was given the added responsibility for the former Malta Centre for Restoration and thus became responsible also for the conservation of the national heritage.|
|2006||Ministry for Tourism and Culture published the first National Cultural Heritage Strategy.|
|2006||Government commissioned an external report in 2006, outlining the potential for the regeneration of a number of sites within the Grand Harbour and set up the Grand Harbour Regeneration Corporation plc. The overall project delivery will be maintained by MITC and will be enhanced by EU Cohesion funds for the development of the harbour’s infrastructure.A specific project highlighted by the report was that the Ricasoli Fort should be turned into a film centre.|
|2007||Ministry for Tourism and Culture launched a Tourism Plan for the Maltese Islands and Malta's National Tourism Strategy. For the cultural sector, these documents outline policies though which the niche sector of cultural tourism is to be developed in the coming years.|
|2007||Inclusion of the creative industries in the Government pre-budget document and the implementation of new budgetary measures for culture in the National Budget for 2008.|
|2007||St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity launched think-tank for culture called Valletta Creative Forum (VCF).|
|2007||Government formally announced the regeneration of the historic Fort St. Elmo site along with other projects in the Marsamxett Harbour. An ambitious target has been set to deliver urban renewal projects within this historic but important central port within the Maltese islands by 2015. Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications (MITC) is the ministry responsible for this initiative.|
|2008||The portfolio of culture was once again removed from the Tourism Ministry and placed together with education, sport and youth into one Ministry.|
|2008||The Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport appointed a working group to draft Malta's national cultural policy.|
|2008||A number of fiscal incentives were announced in the budget and the Film Fund and the Arts Fund were set up.|
|2008||Smart Island - The National ICT Strategy for Malta 2008-2010|
|2009||Inter-ministerial commission setup to prepare for Malta’s bid to host the European Capital of Culture.|
|2009||Architect Renzo Piano unveiled schematic designs for the new main gate to Valletta, a new parliament in Freedom Square and an open-air piazza/ performing space on the site of the Opera House. The project is being managed by MITC.|
|2009||In the budget speech for 2010, the Minister of Finance announced the Government's ambition to incentivise the creative industries|
|2010||The EUR 2.5 million project being carried out on the 16th century Biagio Steps announced. This will transform the place into an interactive centre focusing on how Maltese fortifications were built. This is an initiative of the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs.|
|2010||Creative Economy Working group set up at the Ministry responsible for Finance, the Economy and Investment.|
|2010||Launch of Draft cultural policy and extensive public consultation meetings.|
|2010||Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism and the Environment OPM made also responsible for culture.|
|2010||In the budget speech 2011 Government confirms support for culture and creative industries and launches 4 new funding programmes and a Trust fund. An increase of 13.2% in the culture budget is announced.|
|2010||The Creative Economy prioritised as a pillar of Vision 2015 and beyond.|
|2011||Bidding process launched for European Capital of Culture. All Local Councils sign Charter to support Valletta as the bidding city.|
|2011||New legislation to establish Malta Libraries a national agency that absorbs the Department of Public Libraries and the National Library.|
|2011||Launching of National Cultural Policy|
|2011||The Creative Economy listed as a priority in the National Reform Programme and the Euro Plus Pact.|
|2011||Launch ofDraft Children’s policy which places creativity as one of the pillars of the policy.|
|2011||New fiscal measures announced for Budget 2012 with an increased budget of 10.4%|
|2012||Launching of creative economy strategy|
|2013||Labour Party elected. Culture portfolio attached to Local Government within a Parliamentary Secreteriat. All Boards and leading positions in public cultural orgnaisations are changed.|
|2013||A Culture Directorate is set up within the Minsitry.|
|2013||Valletta officially proclaimed European Capital of Culture in 2018|
|2013||Malta Council for Culture and the Arts announces role as host of the IFACCA World Culture Summit in 2016|
|2013||Pjazza Teatru Rjal, an open air theatre,designed by Renzo Piano, is officially inuagurated|
|2014||Culture shifted to a ministerial portfolio with Justice and Local Government|
|2014||The selected design of MUZA (new museum of art) is announced.|
|2014||The Malta Council for Culture and the Arts rebrands as Arts Council Malta and announces new strategic role.|
Main features of the current cultural policy model
The Ministry responsible for Culture, through its Private Secretariat and the Culture Directorate, directs cultural policy development and the cultural heritage strategy via arms-length institutions such as the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Arts Council Malta. In recent years, decentralisation of responsibility for culture has become a priority; however, major cultural festivals are still managed and created by centralised entities such as Arts Council Malta, St. James Cavalier and Teatru Manoel. From 2005, certain government funded events such as the Malta Jazz Festival and large-scale concerts were subcontracted to private companies, however due to the excessive commercialisation of these events and poor artistic direction, these festivals once again returned to the public sector.
Moves have been made to involve local councils in a proactive way. Proposals have been introduced on new legislation that would empower the local councils to take a more definitive role in cultural affairs. As part of the measures being undertaken by central government for the development of sustainable localities, a fund amounting to EUR 250 000 has been allocated yearly to assist Local Councils in the implementation of events held throughout the year.
The arms-length model first proposed in the cultural policy document of August 2001 (updated 2002) was implemented through the establishment of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Heritage Malta. The rate of development in public cultural heritage organisations has created clear distinctions between the regulatory role of cultural heritage and the management of historical sites and museums. This distinction is now being created within Arts Council Malta through the establishment of two distinctive directorates: one responsible for the strategic development of the cultural and creative sectors and the other responsible for the current portfolio of festivals.
The National Cultural policy reinforces the arms-length principle whilst also reflecting the need to improve cultural governance structures.
In the cultural governance framework, the ministry responsible for culture shall lead in:
- the provision of policy, direction and advice on the arts, heritage, and audiovisual sectors (film, broadcasting and the media), in particular on issues affecting their cultural and creative content, as determined through consultation, including legislation, major policy proposals, and incentives and initiatives which have an impact on the sector;
- the management and disbursement of funds to a number of arts, heritage and broadcasting organisations, and the monitoring of government and public interest in these organisations;
- overseeing all aspects relating to tangible and intangible cultural heritage management; regulating issues pertaining to protection, conservation, exhibition and appreciation of heritage, including its accessibility through traditional, innovative and online means;
- the provision of other negotiated services, including the preparation of contributions for public debate and discussion, the commissioning of studies and services, and, where relevant, the administration of incentives, grants and programmes which assist the Minister in discharging the Ministry’s portfolio obligations to Parliament; and
- liaising with the relevant entities to ensure optimal communication, promotion, and dissemination of information and awareness about Malta’s culture.
Relevant key policy actions for Malta’s governance model:
- to ensure the implementation of the arm's length principle, government shall establish transparent, publicly-known criteria for the selection of key decision-makers in public cultural organisations;
- the legal status of the key national entities operating in the fields of the arts, heritage, and audiovisual sectors needs to be clarified and amended where necessary, with a view to avoiding unnecessary overlaps, strengthening and maximising synergies and resources;
- develop creativity-oriented national strategies for the arts, heritage, architecture and audiovisual sectors, including appropriate funding schemes and support programmes, while ensuring that quality assurance, transparency and accountability principles are adhered to at all stages. In relation to cultural heritage, the current National Strategy for Cultural Heritage (published in December 2006) shall be assessed and its impact evaluated. A review of this Strategy, incorporating Libraries and Archives, shall be made in line with evaluation conclusions and with the emerging needs for the sector. For audiovisuals, the national strategy shall incorporate broadcasting, new media, creative content online, film and cinema; and
- maximising investments in culture with a view to:
- improving management structures for government-managed organisations, venues, sites, collections and projects;
- improving the education and training facilities related to cultural management and heritage conservation;
- synergising efforts with the tourism authorities in areas of common interest and mutual benefit;
- improving and extending the use of IT tools in cultural management and in the dissemination of knowledge, including the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material, through synergies with IT stakeholders; and
- accessing and benefiting from European and international funding support and networks, with an emphasis on collaborations with Mediterranean partners.
Cultural policy objectives
The National Cultural Policy is guided by three principles:
- empowering the public to participate in cultural activity through a people-centre approach;
- enabling relationships between all stakeholders; and
- knowledge building and sharing through dissemination of best practices and reliable and valid information.
The objectives of the policy are to:
- build stronger governance to facilitate cultural development;
- enable creativity through education, excellence and economic development;
- develop inclusive culture;
- foster transnational cooperation; and
- strategically develop culture and the arts.
Cross-cutting priorities have been identified in order to shape these objectives into effective and sustainable actions.
- democratisation of culture (empowering each individual to transform his/ her potential, cultural rights, diversity, fair and equitable socio-political access and active participation by all);
- reinventing cultural education (establishing a formal educational setup, including the necessary infrastructure, aimed at tackling the formative and life-long learning needs of tomorrow’s cultural and creative professionals);
- highlighting the benefits of diversity (intercultural dialogue, promotion of diversity in all its forms);
- interpretation and developing a multifaceted cultural identity (engagement with cultural heritage and interpretation of heritage);
- incentivising and sustaining the economy of culture (employment, professionalisation, training, route to market, access to finance, intellectual property rights); and
- international cooperation (cultural diplomacy, bilateral and multilateral agreements, mobility of artists, cultural professionals and mobility of works of art).
Malta supports the aims of the Council of Europe as enshrined in its European Cultural Convention, adhering to the Council's overall objectives of promoting human values throughout the continent, with emphasis on identity, diversity, human rights, social and economic affairs, education, heritage, media and communication, youth affairs and local authorities
Last update: February, 2015
Last update: February, 2015
Budgetary allocations and legislation are decided upon by the Cabinet of Ministers and by the Parliament.
All initiatives and draft legislation are first submitted to the Cabinet in an executive brief and once clearance is obtained, Parliament enacts legislation accordingly.
In the past ten years, culture was placed within these Ministerial portfolios:
- 1998–2003 - Ministry for Education;
- 2003–2004 - Ministry for Youth and the Arts;
- 2004–2008 - Ministry for Tourism and Culture;
- 2008–2010 - Ministry for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports;
- 2010–2012 - Office of the Prime Minister, Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism, the Environment and Culture;
- 2012–2013 - Ministry for Tourism, the Environment and Culture;
- 2013–2014 - Ministry for Tourism: Parliamentary Secretariat for Culture and Local Government; and
- 2014 - Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government.
Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government
The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government has the role of initiating cultural policy developments and strategies through the Directorates. A new Culture Directorate was set up in 2013 to address the administrative lacuna which often left culture without a directorate or a structure to move to when ministerial portfolios moved or changed.
In the cultural heritage sector, the Ministry holds direct responsibility over national agencies which operate administratively, at arm’s length, from government however, are bound to follow policy measures and strategies set by the Ministry. Board members are directly appointed by the Minister for Culture and recruitment in these agencies is regulated by government employment regulations and requires Ministerial approval. The Cultural Heritage Act 2002 and the National Cultural Heritage strategy, launched during the 2006 National Forum, clearly define the responsibilities and competences of each entity.
The National Forum is an annual event, which brings together entities responsible for, or interested in, the preservation of cultural heritage, to discuss the state of cultural heritage in general. The entities include the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, Heritage Malta, the Malta Centre for Restoration, the Committee of Guarantee, the Catholic Cultural Heritage Commission and other Religious Cultural Heritage Commissions, government departments and entities, Local Councils, NGOs, the University of Malta, and other educational institutions, specialists, consultants, and any other parties registering their interest in writing to the Minister.
Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage's mission is to fulfil the duties of the state in ensuring the protection and accessibility of Malta's cultural heritage.
Within this legal framework of the Cultural Heritage Act 2002, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage was established and given the mission to ensure the protection and accessibility of cultural heritage. The Act also establishes the functions of the Superintendence.
Heritage Malta is the national government agency, set up in 2002 under the provisions of the Cultural Heritage Act, entrusted with the management of national museums and heritage sites and their related collections in Malta and Gozo, including seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It operates within four key aspects, namely management, conservation, interpretation and marketing. As from 2005, following an amendment to the Cultural Heritage Act, all activities previously carried out by the former Malta Centre for Restoration have been taken over by Heritage Malta. The agency is responsible for immobile heritage (e.g. museums and heritage sites), developing measures to ensure educational promotion, accessibility, conservation and the proper operation and marketability of Malta's vast patrimony in heritage sites, buildings, collections and museums, both locally and overseas.
Committee of Guarantee
The Committee of Guarantee has been set up in order to ensure and facilitate the collaboration between the different agencies that have direct or indirect responsibility for the protection and management of the cultural heritage sector. It is also responsible for advising the government on the National Strategy for Cultural Heritage.
Cultural Heritage Fund
The Cultural Heritage Fund is a body corporate with a separate legal personality, which receives and manages monies paid to it under the provisions of the Cultural Heritage Act, as well as other assets that may be donated by non-governmental sources. Although legally established, the Fund has no financial allocation to operate and is therefore not yet functioning.
Cultural governance in the arts operates differently from cultural heritage. St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, the Manoel Theatre, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Pjazza Teatru Rjal and the Mediterranean Conference Centre operate at arm’s-length from government but are answerable to the Ministry responsible for Culture and Arts Council Malta (ACM). Prior to the development of a national cultural policy, public cultural organisations established separate policies and strategies. Their operation as arms-length organisations is often hindered by their ambiguous legal status of Foundation, Board or Management Committee.
Arts Council Malta is legally responsible for creating the necessary synergies between all artistic entities. From 2009, communication and collaboration between these entities, the MCCA and Culture Ministry was enhanced through regular management meetings between the chairperson and General Manager of each cultural entity. In 2011, a National Theatres Board was set up to bring together all the Chairmen of public cultural organisations for better coordination, networking and strategic development. This Board was seen as ineffective and was disbanded in 2013. Another board and a new public cultural organisation were established in the 2011 to oversee the development of the Open Theatre Project designed by Renzo Piano. Synergies between public cultural organisations are now facilitated through regular meetings chaired by the Minister and a platform led by the Valletta 2018 foundation. A new board was set up in 2013 to oversee the implementation of the cultural infrastructure programme. This board has the remit of developing the cultural infrastructure programme leading up to Valletta 2018, namely a contemporary arts space, a music hall/ centre for performing arts and creative clusters.
The Minister for Culture is also responsible for appointing the Chairperson and Board members of Arts Council Malta, the Manoel Theatre (Management Committee), the National Orchestra, the Foundation Centre for Creativity and the Mediterranean Conference Centre. In recent years, policy discussions were held to evaluate the potential amalgamation of St. James Cavalier, the Manoel Theatre and the Mediterranean Conference Centre. This led to the appointment of one management team for the Mediterranean Conference Centre and the Manoel Theatre. Unfortunately, the management had to deal with two diverse entities and different visions, as a conference centre and a theatre that assumes a national role, within the same business model and management structure. In 2014, both entities were once again separated.
Malta Council for Culture and the Arts/ Arts Council Malta
In 2002, the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts was created to substitute the activities of the former Department of Culture which had previously operated under various Ministries. Chapter 444, constituting the legal obligations of the Council, outlines its role as a public funding body and enlists eleven duties which the Council is bound to perform in order to foster and promote artistic potential, facilitate the accessibility of arts for all citizens and create partnerships with various stake-holders. Five other duties bind the Council to monitor artistic development and research any cultural and artistic matter.
The major issue with implementing the strategic plan and objectives of the Council is that, from its inception, it was assumed that the MCCA would be supplied with the necessary financial and human resources. The Strategic Review – 2000 of the Department of Culture had already strongly recommended the redeployment of staff and the recruitment of professional cultural managers. Its role as events and festival organiser limited the operational, regulatory and consultative role of the Council. However, this is currently being reviewed as the Council is increasingly addressing its strategic role within cultural policy development and has also become a major catalyst for cultural funding. In 2014, the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts was rebranded as Arts Council Malta with defined directorates for the strategic development of the cultural and creative sectors (see chapter 2.1 for information about the restructuring announced in 2014).
Foundation Centre for Creativity
The mission statement for St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity focuses on its role as a catalyst for the contemporary art scene in Malta, as well as a hub were people of all ages and from all walks of life can join in the enriching act of creativity. Run by a small creative team, the Centre emphasises the need to foster aesthetic and cultural awareness among the younger generation and the socially and economically disadvantaged. The Centre houses a theatre, a music room, 5 exhibition spaces and an art-house cinema. St. James Cavalier is constantly seeking partnerships with Maltese, European and Mediterranean partners to develop innovative cultural projects. Relative autonomy is given to the running of the Centre and programming of events and activities is devised by the General Manager, with the assistance of programme coordinators. The Board of the Foundation Centre for Creativity monitors the work and approves yearly objectives set by the creative team.
Built in 1732, the Teatru Manoel in Valletta is not only Malta's oldest theatre, but one of the oldest in Europe. Embellished over the centuries, this theatre is a true architectural gem. Today, the theatre is one of Malta's foremost performing spaces, offering a wide range of productions including opera, ballet, contemporary dance, music, children's performances and drama. The theatre season is programmed by the Artistic Director; however it requires the approval of the Management Committee which is appointed by the Minister for Culture.
Mediterranean Conference Centre
The MCC is the flagship of conferences in Malta and is a major contributor to the conference and incentives sector. The unique and imposing building houses 10 halls with a total floor space area of 7 000 square metres. Government subvention for the Conference Centre stopped after the management converted the centre from a loss making operation to a profitable entity. Thus, even though the Minister for Culture appoints the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board, the Conference Centre operates autonomously and relatively independently from government.
Malta Philharmonic Orchestra
In September 1997, the orchestra previously known as the Manoel Theatre Orchestra became an autonomous organisation under the responsibility of the Culture Ministry and was officially named as the National Orchestra of Malta. Ten years later, in December 2007, precisely during the Budget Speech, the Orchestra was given the go ahead to start the process to augment its musicians compliment to Philharmonic levels. The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra or Orkestra Filarmonika Nazzjonaliin Maltese was launched on the 12th January, 2008.
Valletta 2018 Foundation
The Valletta 2018 Foundation is responsible for Valletta’s journey towards the title of the European Capital of Culture in Malta in 2018. The Foundation was responsible for the bidding process starting with the pre-selection phase in January 2012, the final selection in October 2012 and the official declaration by the Council of Ministers in May 2013. The implementation of Valletta’s 2018 is also the responsibility of the Foundation.
The Valletta 2018 Foundation is led by its Board of Governors consisting of ten members.
Ministry for Education and Employment
Libraries and Archives
The National Archives of Malta
The National Archives of Malta aims to preserve the collective memory of the Maltese nation and protect the rights of citizens through ready access to essential evidence. The administration of the National Archives incorporates the general direction of the services, the coordination of accessions from government departments, and the representation in national co-ordinating bodies such as the National Archives Advisory Committee. Specialised advice on research, palaeography, and contacts with international research institutions are also carried out.
In May 2011, Parliament approved the legislation for the establishment of Libraries Malta, a national agency that absorbs the functions of the National Library and the Department of Libraries. The mission of the Malta Libraries is to ensure the collection and conservation of Malta’s documentary heritage for present and future generations, to maintain and develop the libraries regulated under this Act, and to encourage reading for study, research, self-development and lifelong-learning information and leisure purposes.
Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security
Public Broadcasting Services
PBS owns TVM (the most popular TV station in Malta) as well as Radio Malta1 & 2 and Magic Radio.
Broadcasting policy in Malta is the responsibility of the Ministry responsible for Culture. It also sets guidelines for Extended Public Service Obligation programming (drama, current affairs, documentaries, children and entertainment programmes) funded directly by the Ministry. However, PBS falls within the portfolio of the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security who appoints the Board and the Editorial Board.
Malta Film Commission
The Malta Film Commission is a government organisation, established by Chapter 478 (Act No. 7 of 2005) of the Laws of Malta, with the role of advising the Minister responsible for the film sector on policies pertaining to the promotion, development and support of the audiovisual and film servicing industry. The board is composed of a chairman and four board members, including the Film Commissioner who is responsible for the implementation of Malta's audiovisual policy. The board of the Malta Film Commission has a largely non-executive function except for the approval of applications for both fiscal and financial incentives. Over the years, the role of the Film Commission has evolved from an entity that promotes the production of foreign films in Malta, to one that also develops the Maltese Film Industry through the management of the Malta Film Fund, the Malta Film co-production fund and training programmes.
Ministry for Finance
Apart from approving and monitoring all financial matters for all Ministries and Agencies, the Ministry administers the National Lottery Good Causes' Funds with beneficiaries including artists and cultural organisations. The Ministry for Finance also spearheaded the development of Malta’s creative economy through the development of a creative economy working group and was instrumental in ensuring substantial increases in public expenditure for culture.
Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business
Malta Crafts Council
The Malta Crafts Council set up by virtue of Act XXI of 2000 is also another entity contributing to the development of the creative industries. The aims of the Council are focused on the encouragement, promotion and regulation of crafts and craftsmen and entrepreneurs dealing in Maltese craft products. The work of the Council is currently absorbed by the Commerce Directorate.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA)
Cultural diplomacy falls within the remit of the MFA. Through the Cultural Diplomacy unit, Maltese Representations abroad are encouraged to facilitate cultural cooperation and presentation of Maltese culture. The Ministry is also responsible for the bilateral cultural agreements with other countries.
Ministry for Gozo
This Ministry is responsible for the administration of Malta's sister island. Through the culture department and Gozo Culture Council, it runs an exhibition space, supports amateur cultural organisations and programmes, as well as ad hoc artistic events.
 The term "Malta Council for Culture and Arts" refers to the status of the entity before June 2014. Arts Council Malta, although still not officially the legal name of the entity, refers to the status of the entity after June 2014.
Please find the available information on this subject in 1.2.2.
Please find the available information on this subject in 1.2.2.
Last update: February, 2015
A number of cultural non-governmental organisations with strong community-led advocacy roles have been established throughout the years with the intention of promoting and developing specific traditional or common interests. These groups vary, from special interest groups such the Carnival enthusiasts association who are lobbying with strong political patronage for workshop spaces, to heritage foundations such as Din l-Art Helwa, which engage in both restoration projects and advocacy for the protection of cultural heritage in the rise of aggressive development projects which are causing irrevocable damage to Malta's urban and rural heritage.
Most of these associations are now registered with the Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations, set up by the Voluntary Organisations Act 2007 with the task to strengthen the voluntary sector through various initiatives with the specific aim of promoting the work of VOs as well as encouraging their role as partners with the government in various initiatives.
Last update: February, 2015
European Capital of Culture 2018
The Council of the EU has decided that in 2018 the European Capital of Culture will be hosted by a Maltese and a Dutch city. On 15 May 2009, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport launched an Inter Ministerial Committee responsible for the preparation for the event and headed by the Chairman of the Valletta 2018 foundation.
The purpose of the establishment of this Inter Ministerial Committee for the European Capital of Culture is to ensure that Malta's delivery of this cultural event shall be of the highest possible calibre, demonstrating excellence on a European level, and generating the greatest possible benefit for society. In this sense, the Inter Ministerial Committee also had to assist in the preparations leading to the selection and nomination of a Maltese city for this prestigious title.
In October 2012, Valletta was officially awarded the title of European Capital of Culture 2018. Since then the Inter Ministerial Committee has taken the coordinating role of specific tasks such as transport, accessibility and infrastructure which requires the active involvement of different Ministries.
Creative Economy Working Group
The creative economy working group, launched in 2010 was composed of experts in culture, law and the economy and was a joint initiative between the ministries responsible for Finance and Culture. The working group completed its tasks in 2014 with the restructuring of Arts Council Malta and was housed within the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry. The creative economy strategy was launched in 2013 and involved 75 inter-industry experts and interministerial representatives as part of its consultative body and expert groups.
Relevant key actions from the National Cultural Policy
- create a public forum to debate cultural policy and other specific issues of direct public cultural concern; and
- the government shall support the setting up of three platforms (in the form of networks for ministries, cultural organisations and civil society) for the promotion of dialogue and discussion in the cultural sector.
Last update: February, 2015
The government is promoting the notion of autonomy through the creation of a number of state-funded foundations and other structures (e.g. Heritage Malta, the Foundation for the Centre for Creativity, the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, etc.). These bodies are given the power to initiate new partnerships with the private sector without the need to refer to bureaucratic practice, which has often proved stifling and frustrating. However, the Ministry for Culture often takes steps to ensure the effectiveness of the arms-length policy.
Governance of cultural infrastructure is a major policy concern and prioritised in cultural policy. In order to facilitate better coordination of cultural infrastructure projects, the Minister for Culture appointed a Coordinating Board for Cultural Projects. To date, the CBCP has worked on the development of a contemporary arts space, the brief for a music hall/ performing arts space and creative clusters.
See also chapter 1.1 on main features of the current cultural policy model.
Last update: February, 2015
Table 10: Cultural institutions financed by public authorities, by domain
|Domain||Cultural institutions (subdomains)||Number (2014)||Trend (++ to --)|
|Cultural heritage||Cultural heritage sites (recognised)||13||Under the umbrella organisation of Heritage Malta National|
|Archives (of public authorities)||2||
National Archives |
|Visual arts||public art galleries / exhibition halls||1||
In 2012 the National Museum of Fine Arts increased its capacity to act as a public art gallery with increased exhibition halls.
|Art academies (or universities)||4||2 are part-time art schools with full-time arts education delivered by MCAST and the University of Malta|
|Performing arts||Symphony orchestras||1|
|Music schools||3||2 Part time schools. University runs performance related courses.|
Music / theatre academies |
|Music theatres, opera houses||4||Teatru Manoel, St. James Cavalier Theatre (with artistic programme) Mediterranean Conference Centre (rental house) Pjazza Teatru Rjal|
|Dance and ballet companies||1|
|Books and Libraries||Libraries||
57 area libraries|
1 Public Library
1 National Library
|National Library and Public Libraries became one organisation in 2011|
|Interdisciplinary||Socio-cultural centres / cultural houses||2||St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity (Valletta Malta) Citadella Arts Centre (Victoria Gozo)|
Last update: February, 2015
The government has traditionally been responsible for national cultural institutions. They receive regular funding as approved annually by Parliament on the recommendations of the Ministry of Finance. Such national institutions include: Teatru Manoel, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Heritage Malta, the Malta Libraries, the National Archives and St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity. Not all organisations have a legal status and the Ministry responsible for Culture monitors operations at arm's length, although monitoring of arts organisation should be the legal obligation of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. This is expected to change in 2015 with the development of the legal structure for Arts Council Malta.
The Church continues to maintain a relatively high profile in the cultural sphere, not least by promoting events, which vary in range from high calibre baroque musical events, to the provision of space and technical equipment, to small groups representing independent organisations.
There is also an increasing amount of private companies in the sectors of music, dance, theatre, opera and light entertainment, which are participating in the programmes of public cultural institutions. For instance, the programmes of the Manoel Theatre, St. James Cavalier Creativity Centre and the Mediterranean Conference Centre are based on a mixture of their own productions and a range of activities presented by private companies. The Manoel Theatre relies almost exclusively on private companies for its repertoire, as it does not have its own residential company.
Private schools offering classical ballet, dancing and drama are self-reliant and receive no assistance from the central government. Semi-autonomous organisations like the Kooperativa Kulturali Universita carry out yearly programmes and festivals addressed mostly to young audiences, and often manage to establish artistic collaboration with foreign bodies.
Local councils are also increasing their engagement in cultural and social activities and data has started to become available as regards funds, audience participation and content of events. Their focus appears to be mainly on the preservation of heritage and traditions, but cultural activities are becoming more varied. In 2013 local councils hosted 593 cultural events, of which 13.8% were related to cultural visits. Commemoration days, music and non-direct cultural activities also proved to be popular, each contributing 10.1% of the events organised. Other cultural events, including carnivals, arts and fireworks festivals, had the highest share of 18.0%. Closer collaboration is being encouraged between local councils and the Valletta 2018 Foundation since the whole territory of Malta and Gozo is actively participating in Valletta 2018, European Capital of Culture.
The Ministry for Gozo, an autonomous institution relating to the sister island, produces its own mix of entertainment, ranging from heritage events, elaborate festivals and opera produced by two leading clubs, both situated in Victoria, the island's historical capital. Since 2004, Gozo started organising its own summer festival.
Public cultural organisations are increasingly engaging in inter-organisational partnerships through co-productions, joint marketing initiatives, education programmes and shared resources. This approach is having a positive impact on cultural programming, festivals and collaboration with Maltese artists and foreign cultural organisations.
Last update: February, 2015
The interaction between the Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs occurs during the ratification of bilateral agreements. Collaboration between the EU Affairs and Policy Directorates within each Ministry also serves as an important governmental network to sustain Malta's ongoing relationship with the European Union and other countries.
In Budget 2011, Government announced a new initiative so that, in 2012, Malta presented 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 announced as a line-vote under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate cultural export, collaboration and mobility. Since then the line-vote has allocated EUR 75 000 per year for this fund. The export showcase launched in 2014 will assist embassies to select repertoire from Malta.
Following interventions made at the Convention of Maltese Living Abroad in March 2010, the Parliament approved a Bill in 2011 to set up a Council for Maltese Living Abroad and establish a Maltese Cultural Institute. The Council is made up of a group of persons selected by the Prime Minister after taking into consideration the organisational set up of the Maltese communities overseas together with another group of persons living in Malta who are versed in matters relating to Maltese living abroad. The Council is chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and has a majority of its members from overseas. The objectives of the Council are:
- to promote the quality of life of the Maltese communities abroad;
- to strengthen political, cultural, economic and social ties between the Maltese communities abroad and Malta;
- to facilitate the preservation of a cultural and linguistic identity among the community;
- to promote Maltese culture and in particular the teaching of the Maltese language abroad;
- to assist in the integration of the communities in their adopted countries;
- to analyse problems which Maltese communities encounter including issues relating to working conditions, professional and educational training and recognition of qualifications obtained by Malta; and
- to advise the Minister of Foreign Affairs on any legislation or issue that can affect the interests of Maltese abroad.
The legislation also proposes the establishment of the Maltese Cultural Institute which will pool resources currently available in three different ministries for the promotion of the Maltese language, culture and traditions.
Local Councils have also been showing a keen interest in twinning programmes with European towns and villages, resulting in bilateral cultural schemes, mostly in the field of band music, folklore and cultural heritage. Malta and Gozo have a total of 68 Local Councils. Over the years, between them, they have concluded 58 different town-twinning agreements. Maltese Local Councils seem more adept at concluding agreements with town-councils in neighbouring Mediterranean countries with 40 agreements with Comuni in Italy and Sicily. Other twinning agreements were concluded with Spanish, Greek and Cypriot towns. Some local councils managed to look farther afield and have concluded twinning agreements with communities in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, China and the United States.
Publicly mandated cultural agencies and institutes maintain their active status. Institutes like the Alliance Francaise, the Italian Cultural Institute and the German-Maltese Circle are particularly effective in diffusing European culture, organising language courses and facilitating cultural projects between Maltese and foreign organisations.
As one of the most active organisations, British Council Malta had an excellent track record in fostering long-term cultural projects between Malta and the UK. The yearly artistic programmes which the British Council presented in Malta offered some of the most contemporary and innovative cultural projects. However, in 2007, due to downsizing of its operations in Malta and strategic development in the mission of the British Council, the Malta office limited its cultural programme to small-scale events and partnerships.
There is also an Islamic Centre that offers several activities to promote inter-religious dialogue. The Centre, funded by Libya, runs its own its own Islamic School, headed by a Maltese, female director. It also boasts a substantial library, offering titles ranging from Muslim folklore to Islamic philosophy.
In 2003, following excellent bilateral relations between Malta and China, the Chinese government opened a cultural centre in Valletta. As the first China Cultural Centre in the Mediterranean region and the fifth in the world, the centre is seeking to reach out to the peoples of the Mediterranean and Europe by holding Chinese cultural seminars, exhibitions, Chinese language classes and other activities.
Malta's proximity to Italy, as well as traditional historical connections with that country, frequently results in technical assistance by the Italian government through Financial Protocols which mainly support cultural heritage restoration programmes.
Malta also tries to retain an important cultural profile at international conferences. In 2016 Malta will host the IFACCA World Culture Summit.
Last update: February, 2015
Malta's participation in major programmes of multicultural co-operation is now linked mainly to the Creative Europe and Life-long Learning programmes funded by the European Union.
Apart from the country's ongoing participation in European Union programmes and initiatives, Malta remains committed towards an active contribution to the Council of Europe and UNESCO conventions.
Responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of UNESCO conventions are normally the responsibility of the ministry responsible for culture but specific issues (e.g. the cultural rights of refugees and ethnic groups) also involve the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security.
In 2013, Government controversially appointed a Monsignor as Malta’s Ambassador to UNESCO leading to numerous calls in the media by civil society to ensure the separation of State and Church matters. Malta’s new permanent representative to UNESCO was tasked with enlisting various cultural assets to UNESCO lists. These included enlisting Mdina, the Citadella in Gozo and the catacombs among seven candidates on Malta's UNESCO tentative list, which if approved would also enjoy world heritage status. In addition, Malta is also in the process of nominating the Maltese Feast and the Maltese language to the list of UNESCO's Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible World Heritage.
Il Cantilena, the oldest known literary text in the Maltese language, is also set to be nominated for UNESCO's International Memory of the World registry. The poem, attributed to Pietru Caxaro, dates from the 15th century.
Ever since its accession to membership in the Council of Europe in 1965, Malta has constantly contributed to the overall workings of the Council of Europe, mainly through its Parliamentary delegation, but also at Ministerial levels and through its representative experts in various fields that participate regularly in several working groups established within its widespread structure. Malta is regularly represented in Cultural Committee meetings of the Council of Europe and UNESCO, especially where themes like conservation of the cultural heritage and action for the protection of the maritime heritage are concerned.
Malta is a signatory of the European Cultural Convention and active within the Council of Europe's Cultural Heritage Committee. It is also active within the European Conference of Ministers responsible for cultural heritage and, as far back as 1992; the Valletta Convention gave a decisive lead to the concerns of the Council of Europe in this area of interest.
|CONVENTIONS (Council of Europe) SIGNED/RATIFIED||SIGNED||RATIFIED|
|European Cultural Convention, (Paris 1954)||2/5/1966||12/12/1966|
|European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage, London 1969 (London Convention 1969)||6/5/1969||30/4/1971|
|European Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property, Delphi 1985 (Delphi Convention 1985)||NO||NO|
|Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, Granada 1985 (Granada Convention1985)||20/6/1990||20/6/1990|
|European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Revised), Valletta 1992 (Malta Convention 1992)||16/1/1992||24/11/1994|
|European Landscape Convention (Florence Convention 2000)||20/10/2000||NO|
|Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, Faro 2005 (Faro Convention 2005)||NO||NO|
|Council of Europe Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (Strasbourg 5/11/1992)||5/11/1992||NO|
|Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague 1954 (Hague Convention 1954)||NO||NO|
|Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague 1954 (Hague Protocol 1954)||NO||NO|
|Customs Convention concerning facilities for the importation of goods for display or use at exhibitions, fairs, meetings or similar events (Brussels 1962)||11.05.1988*|
|Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (UNESCO Convention1970)||NO||NO|
|UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (UNIDROIT 1995)||NO||NO|
|Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage (Paris 1972)||14/11/1978**|
|Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, The Hague 1999 (Hague 2nd Protocol 1999)||NO||NO|
|Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (Paris 2001)||NO||NO|
|Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris 2003)||NO||NO|
|Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, (Paris 2005)||18/12/2006*|
Last update: February, 2015
Apart from governmental bi-lateral agreements, trans-national co-operation is activated through several channels, including local authorities and other institutions like Arts Council Malta, the University of Malta, the Manoel Theatre, St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Heritage Malta, the Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti (Foundation for Maltese Patrimony) and an increasing number of NGOs. Such institutions are often engaged in trans-national events supported either by direct state funding or the intervention of sponsors, or both.
One of Heritage Malta's aims is to foster European and international relationships with other parties that share similar objectives in the area of cultural heritage and conservation practice.
Heritage Malta is actively participating in a number of international collaborations under different EU funding programmes managed by the European institutions. They vary in content and objectives, depending on the nature of the programme or projects involved. Due to its wide remit within the cultural heritage and conservation sector, Heritage Malta is always looking forward to new possibilities in partnering with other participating parties from various countries.
Conservation projects also attract foreign partnership or local private sponsorship, e.g. the complete restoration of one of Valletta's earliest Churches by an Italian Foundation and the restoration of the Manoel Theatre (built in 1742) by an Italian team of experts from the Sante Guido Restauri, sponsored by the Malta International Airport.
St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity is at the forefront of international artistic cooperation in Malta. As part of its creativity development programme it has established an artists' residency exchange programme with the Virginia Centre for Creative Arts in the USA. Other international cooperation projects include film festivals, exhibitions and performances in collaboration with ten different Embassies and cultural agencies. St. James Cavalier is also actively seeking partners for European projects. St. James Cavalier is also part of the Europa Cinema network, European Arthouse exhibitor network, and is founder of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young people in Malta and a member of a Euro-med network to facilitate the mobility of volunteers in cultural organisations. St. James Cavalier was also National Coordinating Body for the 2008 European Year for Intercultural Dialogue which sought active collaboration with all EU member states and diverse cultural communities in Malta. St. James Cavalier also leads and manages two important international arts festivals: Ziguzajg International Arts Festival for Children and Young People established in 2011 and VIVA established in 2014 (Valletta International Visual Arts Festival). Both festivals programme international works and facilitate international cooperation.
Apart from hosting international work, the Manoel Theatre has reached an agreement with the Prague National Theatre, which saw the exchange of productions, artists and practices between the two countries. The agreement also included the organisation of joint activities and the development of a common policy of theatre as a tool of brotherhood between countries. In 2012, Teatru Manoel founded the Valletta International Baroque Festival which, amongst its eclectic programme, includes co-productions between the theatre and other major festivals and cultural organisations specialised in Baroque art.
A number of cultural NGOs are increasingly engaging in international projects and establishing yearly activities at a national and regional level. Inizjamed is a cultural NGO with very active participation in transnational cultural cooperation. Inizjamed is also responsible for Malta's participation in the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean and organises a Mediterranean Literature Festival with the participation of a host of writers from the Mediterranean region.
Kinemastik is an NGO responsible for a year-round cultural programme based around screenings, talks, exhibitions and concerts that culminates with the Kinemastik International Short Film Festival. The festival is held over several days in August at various venues around Malta. The highlight of the festival is the Westside Selekt weekend, open-air screenings held on the Valletta and Floriana bastions overlooking the Grand Harbour. Kinemastik collaborates with international festivals and filmmakers to bring to Malta a selection of films and directors to experience Malta and meet local residents.
Kinemastik seeks to link young film makers in Malta to the world of cinema and provide them with a platform for their work, through local screenings as well as through worldwide distribution of locally produced work. Kinemastik has also hosted a number of international filmmakers and professionals to provide master classes and workshops for local industry.
Another active cultural voluntary organization is Wicked Comics that was established to promote comic culture both in Malta and abroad. Wicked Comics gives Maltese comic artists and enthusiasts the opportunity to learn more about this component of popular culture and continuously provides opportunities for local artists to showcase their skills with an increased emphasis on international collaboration.
While bilateral cultural agreements are a mainstay of official policy with many countries, a lack of adequate funds often inhibits more significant bilateral cooperation. At times, the financial burden of co-funding measures for EU cultural projects is discouraging Maltese organisations to embark on large-scale projects. However, the small yet successful number of international projects created by active Maltese cultural organisations offers an encouraging future for their international portfolio. Also, some of the most successful and important international creative projects in Malta were initiated by freelance artists.
In 2011, the MCCA launched a Mobility Support Grant programme as part of its International Funding Strategy. It is a strand that caters for outgoing artistic mobility for short training courses, workshops, participation in artistic activities overseas, and international collaboration. The Mobility Support Grant has a total allocation of EUR 60 000.
In 2014, Valletta 2018 Foundation, in collaboration with Ziguzajg Arts Festival and St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, launched the Malta Showcase (http://www.maltashowcase.com). The export platform is a curated portfolio of Maltese repertoire which is available for programming by festivals, theatres or cultural organisations internationally. It will maximise the potential and increase the reputation of contemporary Maltese performers. Malta Showcase is aimed at, but not restricted to, international commissioning bodies; arts programmers, festival directors, artistic directors, other ECoCs and Maltese diplomatic representations overseas.