Published on Wednesday 29 March 2023

Arts Council Malta is launching an audiobook as part of the Resource Pack that aims to support cultural practitioners in fulfilling accessibility to culture. The new audiobook will be freely available for download from the Council’s website.

As part of a continuing strategy to strengthen the right to culture on a nationwide basis, Arts Council Malta is launching an audiobook that focuses on increasing awareness about accessibility to culture, inclusivity, and the practical implementation of these rights in day-to-day cultural practice.

The implementation of cultural rights is at the heart of the Council’s Strategy 2025, with its vision for “the arts to be at the heart of Malta’s future” by ensuring that Art Council Malta’s initiatives and programmes are aimed towards widening access to artistic practice.

The launch of the audiobook is part of a series of initiatives that put this vision into action by supporting and promoting the conditions in which Malta’s cultural and creative sectors can flourish, while advocating and providing for community-led opportunities to engage in arts and culture.

Practical support for key players and stakeholders

The new audiobook complements the resource pack that is already available to cultural practitioners free of charge, and which reflects the Council’s long-term commitment to provide more opportunities for people to engage in creativity.

The comprehensive package includes a complete guide that offers practical examples of good practice within our communities, together with external good practice that can be translated to the local context. The manual is complemented by a toolkit that contains models, lists and references to support accessibility and inclusivity in everyday practice.

The resource pack and its audiobook version were developed as an aid for Public Cultural Organisations, fund beneficiaries, civil society and operators. The initiative was carried out in consultation with stakeholders and key players engaged in advocacy and good governance, encouraging the participation of diverse community groups in line with the very vision it promotes.

To ensure an equitable and inclusive direction for advocacy and investments, the Council has adopted an open and horizontal approach to implementing policies that support the right to culture. Culture is here understood in its widest and most flexible form, moving beyond a product or object centric culture and focusing instead on a non-exhaustive list of practices that include all facets of human interaction - from għana to punk rock, from poetry readings to appreciation of local cuisine and beyond.

The Right to Culture Resource Pack is informed by an open dialogue that questions and analyses cultural rights, inclusivity, barriers encountered, needs and recommendations from key players within the sector. Community members from diverse groups of society were invited to share their views and stories, and were involved throughout the entire research process.

The intelligence gathered through this process was further enriched by a cross-sectoral, knowledge-sharing working group which included representatives from the Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta (PHROM); the Human Rights Directorate; the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability; the Malta Crafts Foundation; the Local Government Division; and the Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations.

The Resource Pack bases itself on the following principles, which form the core of a full cultural life:

  • Availability - bringing diverse cultural practices closer to communities
  • Accessibility - helping communities become aware of cultural opportunities
  • Acceptability - full tolerance of diverse expressions and needs
  • Adaptability - flexible processes that adapt to our needs
  • Appropriateness - fulfilling such rights on the basis of equity and non-discrimination

The Way Forward

As the strategy towards nationwide access to cultural rights continues to be strengthened, the full Resource Pack is being made available as a reference guide and inspiration for anyone working with, and for, communities to support efforts towards an increase in audience engagement and cultural participation across the board, The initiative runs in parallel to other Council-led actions, all having the ultimate goal of creating a more inclusive culture that is available for, and accessible by, all.