Published on Friday 30 December 2022

Earlier in December, Arts Council Malta has launched 6 Regional Cultural Strategies (RCS), each of which has been tailormade to fit the region in which each strategy will be implemented. As Arts Council Malta, we’re giving a brief overview with regards to the Regional Cultural Strategies.

What are the Regional Cultural Strategies?
The Regional Cultural Strategies are a series of guiding frameworks for cultural and artistic development on a regional level. The Local Government White Paper, published in 2018, supplemented by the Local Government Act amended in 2019, divides the Maltese Islands in six unique regions: Gozo, North, East, West, Port, South. Together with the Local Government Division and the Association for Local Councils, Arts Council Malta spearheaded the research and development of a unique cultural strategy for each region, a process which took place over a number of years culminating in 2022. The project Provision of Cultural Strategy Development and Implementation to Local Councils and Regional Councils was developed through an EU-funded project (ESF.04.079) entitled Create 2020: Investing in Cultural and Creative Capacity Skills in Malta’s Public Sector, financed through the European Social Fund Operational Programme II - European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020 Investing in Human Capital to Create More Opportunities and Promote the Wellbeing of Society.

Through a research process spearheaded by Arts Council Malta in collaboration with Culture Venture and Mdina International, the strategies draw upon the functions of the Regional and Local Councils and provide strategic direction. The resulting strategies are based on a thorough mapping process of cultural assets and the opportunities and challenges faced by each region and interrelated stakeholders. The Regional Cultural Strategies lay out generic and region-specific priorities, which need to be addressed in an implementation process through a direct collaboration between Arts Council Malta and the Regional Councils, together with other stakeholders such as Local Councils, non-profit and non-governmental organisations, and creative practitioners.

Why are the Regional Cultural Strategies important?

The Regional Cultural Strategies are a strategic milestone for the cultural and creative industries. Their development on a regional level showcases the commitment of Arts Council Malta to develop informed region-specific objectives and priorities based on the unique identities, capacities, and resources. The RCS aim to further improve coordination between Regional and/or Local Councils, open up further opportunities for collaboration between various stakeholders, and facilitate further understanding on the development of international and EU projects. Most importantly they ensure that culture is used as a tool to build stronger, healthier communities, that it is also considered as a tool for economic development, that our heritage is safeguarded, and artistic expression is nurtured.

The diversity and uniqueness of various communities of the Maltese Islands was recognised as a core priority facilitating the development of the RCS. Awareness and appreciation of the distinctiveness of each region should be supported through more participatory approaches and grassroots initiatives developed by Local Councils, organisations, creative practitioners, and communities. By empowering communities to be active stakeholders in the implementation process, overall participation is further encouraged, and new audiences are reached. More equitable and fair distribution of cultural investment not only facilitates revitalisation and strategic resources management of heritage assets but also enhances professional growth and sustainable development of the CCIs.

How will these be implemented?

The implementation of the RCS is a collaborative process between the Regional Councils and Local Government Division and Arts Council Malta. Through specific roles set up to spearhead the implementation process, both entities are equipped with capacities to further understand the needs and identities of each region. The Regional Cultural Coordinator, on behalf of ACM, and the Regional Cultural Managers within each Region, act as facilitators and enablers to improve coordinator and create connections between various stakeholders, to incentivise the creation of creative projects of higher standards, to assist in the development of community-based cultural initiatives and facilitate understanding of regional resources and assets. In this collaborative process, Arts Council Malta will give overall strategic direction and expertise to ensure coherent progress and provide resources where necessary. On the other hand, the Regional Councils under the guidance of the Local Government Division, will be working with ACM through the Regional Cultural Coordinator and Officers to ensure the strategic objectives are being implemented.

Check out the 6 Regional Cultural Strategies here.