By 2025 the arts council is hoping to be able to financially back artists on a research sabbatical, launch a local ‘Dragon’s Den’-style investment event for the arts and advocate for more equitable funding.

These are among 70 proposals listed in a draft strategy leading to 2025 published by Arts Council Malta this week. The public has until the beginning of February to provide feedback about the council's plans. 

The document was launched following consultation with 200 people over nine months, and just weeks after a separate study found that few people in Malta are interested in attending or paying for arts and cultural events. 

In setting the agenda for the next four years, ACM flagged the need to be mindful of structural inequalities based on gender, ethnicity, class, and disability.

It also said public investment into the sector must be more fairly distributed, and proposes cutting bureaucracy while increasing transparency in the allocation of funds. 

“We want to broaden our approach to investment by going beyond our funding portfolio, as first and foremost we consider cultural and creative engagement as a right. We shall therefore be widening the scope of how we allocate public investment as well as how we advocate for public investment. 

“We want to achieve this by further diversifying our funding processes as well as other forms of investment mechanisms we shall lead, develop, or support,” ACM said, adding that professional, social, and economic status and conditions of artists, creatives, and cultural practitioners will be central to its investment decisions.

The draft public consultation document can be found here, while feedback should be sent to by February 4. ACM will publish the final version of the 2025 strategy in the first quarter of 2022.

Some of the 70 proposals:

Introduce schemes allowing artists to take a research sabbatical period of up to one year, granting them a basic income.

Produce and manage a yearly investors’ pitch event, bringing together creative entrepreneurs and businesses interested in investing and supporting the arts.

Identify investment measures that allow for more transparency and healthier competition. This includes reviewing the evaluation processes and application system to provide more equitable funding.

Establish an online platform showcasing Malta-based talent to international cultural programmers, festival-makers, operators, and audiences at large.

Advocate for greater synergy between the culture and education ministries to facilitate partnerships and investment in resources.

Set up a brokerage information service for self-employed professionals in the cultural and creative sectors.

Support Gozo as a distinctive cultural region.

Support access, fiscal measures, linguistic services, facilities such as braille, and speech text, special performances, and multi-sensory and tactile exhibits. 

Support the introduction of community cultural mediators who can facilitate creative activity to reflect the more diverse cultures in our communities.

Create more comprehensive and transparent structures to collect data related to ACM’s funding and help it better understand the impact, reach, and diversity of ACM’s funding programmes.

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