Spazju Kreattiv, at St James Cavalier, is set for the launch of a new season. Johnathan Cilia meets up with programme manager Daniel Azzopardi to find out what’s in store.
The team behind the Spazju Kreattiv Programme, housed in St James Cavalier in Valletta, has been busy. Since the announcement of V18 a few years ago and a renewal of the organisation – including the addition of Toni Sant as artistic director – Fondazzjoni Kreattività has been able to supply space, resources, and some good advice to many artists.
Following on from a busy season, the Spazju Kreattiv programme for 2016/2017 has been released, with 60 projects planned and picked from 100 applications. The projects cover a lot of ground... expect to see everything from terrorism to gender fluidity and burlesque on the programme of events. And that’s exactly the point, as Daniel Azzopardi, programme manager at Fondazzjoni Kreattività explains.
“One of the main aims for the organisation has always been of being a catalyst of creative expression,” explains Daniel. “Under such onus our upcoming programme provides the ideal scenario where creatives can engage in creative dialogue and interactive participation. We started off by consolidating successful initiatives, while also introducing new concepts which we think bring about a more complete creative narrative. The season will offer attendees the opportunity to experience known forms such as theatre and visual arts together with new enticing multidisciplinary projects.”
Apart from some of the more recognisable names, like ŻiguŻajg, Science in the City, VIVA, and L-Għanja tal-Poplu, there will also be a 2D/3D exhibition, Sacred/Profane by Lawrence Buttigieg, the Wiki Loves Monuments international photographic competition, a discussion with Chinese artist He Ping on his technique and the fusion between the traditional and contemporary in it and many more.
The goal here is to harness the inherent talent of local artists and push and support them in any way they can
“By being part of the Spazju Kreattiv programme creatives are not only being offered the space but, most importantly, they are provided with the professional expertise and means to research, develop, produce, present and document their initiatives in a thoroughly effective manner. It is, ultimately, an engrossing professional development experience,” says Daniel.
Covering all these topics reflects the contemporary world, not just the art world. “Although the programme is vast and tackles many angles, there is a clear-cut narrative which bodes with our strategic vision”, he says. “Through thematics of identity, diversity and legacy, we have worked on a narrative which presents our country’s rich traditions, heritage and trends within innovative contemporary contexts.”
“Hence, among other items we have a multi-media dance show which tackles quintessential questions of identity, ethnicity and intercultural dialogue, an interactive installation about dichotomies found in the 19th-century novel Ineż Farruġ and an installation during the Easter period which delves in the ideologies of the sacred and profane,” Daniel adds.
“Although unique in their own way all these projects have a holistic narrative that encapsulates our vision and the country’s socio-political and creative ecology.”
The projects will be undertaken by a variety of individuals, small groups and organisations. Unifaun, the M3P Foundation and the British Council have projects planned for the coming months.
“There would not be a programme without the valuable contribution of creatives who, every year, bring their impetus to the programme,” says Daniel. “What we did this year is consolidate long-term collaborations with clear-cut plans and targets and projects which encapsulate the direct contribution of the Spazju Kreattiv programme team.”
“Through a clear-set workplan, we can devise work which reflects our strategy while collaborators are given the necessary creative expertise to engage in fruitful ventures. In fact, such endeavours ensure an all-rounded professional approach when developing projects of high artistic excellence, while also encouraging new collaborations and networks.
“They also give us the opportunity to venture outside and engage in more participatory outreach work which goes beyond the physical building from where we operate.”
The programme also includes strengthening of some of the long term ongoing projects. The Spazju Kreattiv cinema programme will be returning with a selection of arthouse films. The line-up includes award-winning films, classics and content by emerging Maltese talent. This, coupled with the customary live transmissions from the Met, National Theatre and the Bolshoi makes for a packed programme of events.
A free new cinema membership scheme is also being introduced for film enthusiasts, with an array of benefits including access to exclusive content, free events and discounted tickets.
Creatives are not only being offered the space but, most importantly, they are provided with the professional expertise and means to research, develop, produce, present and document their initiatives
The Artist In Residency programme continues on from 2015/2016, with artists now going to the new residence at Għarb for two to three weeks and translating their experiences into an artistic piece. Having started in 2001 with Malta-born American Jean Zaleski, the 2016/2017 schedule includes 12 projects by creatives from 10 different countries.
For local or foreign creatives who are getting ideas for any projects after reading all this, all you need to do is apply.
“Our application system was drafted in such a way as to make it easily accessible for anyone interested in collaborating with us. Apart from the clear-set guidelines which are available online and the user-friendly application, we also schedule weekly development sessions called Ikkrea wherein representatives from the programme team explains in detail our modus operandi and strategy framework.”
At the end of the day, the goal is to harness the inherent talent of local artists and push and support them in any way they can. In this way, both they, the artist and the community at large, can grow.
“Throughout the whole process, our team of creative experts are at hand to ensure the applicants have all the assistance needed to submit and present work that bodes well with our strategy, reaches set target audiences and achieves set creative quality standards.”
With 60 projects planned for the next year, Daniel is still hard pressed to choose a favourite. “Rather than a specific project, I am mostly looking forward to watching the season’s programme development and progression in catering for our collaborators and audiences while continuing to be a point of reference both in Malta and abroad,” he said.
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