Published on Friday 13 October 2023

We’re all human

The second edition of the State of the Arts - Malta National Symposium, was also dedicated to Right to Culture, and examined the current scenario of Malta’s Creative and Cultural Sectors while drawing upon the perceptions of practitioners and policy makers in an interdisciplinary manner. The Symposium also took a cross-sectoral and multi-format approach and stimulated meaningful dialogue and practice within the creative sectors.

An introduction was delivered by Director Funding and Strategy of Arts Council Malta, Mary Ann Cauchi, who highlighted the importance of action, an element which summed up the first State of the Arts Symposium in 2022. Cauchi referred to the extent of arts and wellbeing with a particular focus on the importance for greater recognition of the arts in other social sectors. “I dare say with courage and determination that the role of Arts Council Malta as a platform that leads to innovation in society is of utmost importance. This takes me back to Strategy2025, which emphasizes an approach based on human rights, ensuring that artists and practitioners enjoy their rights in the arts, artistic freedom, and fair working conditions. These are all essential elements to sustain the sector's growth.”


Queer Maltese singer, songwriter, and performer Claire Tonna delivered an emotional  and engaging opening keynote, denoting the importance of art platforms as “vehicles of connection...What we do in the arts is personal. The starting point is listening, healing from our own wounds, and unlearning. There’s so much to unlearn. All that we create, produce, share in the arts field and everywhere is always a reflection of what you’re endorsing in your own life. The values that you actually practice with yourself are going to be reflected in a production that you’re doing. Tonna concluded her keynote with a moving song penned by herself, titled “I can’t give you my love”.


Cultural manager Elaine Falzon led the main panel for the day, which discussed 'Contextualising the Right to Culture in Malta'. The panel included a diverse group of speakers representing the social, artistic, policy and academic sectors based in Malta for whom cultural rights are inherently part of. This was followed by a workshop led by Cynthia Bonnici who highlighted the importance of music and its connectivity. Ale’s Project - Dreaming on Ilia Chkolnik’s Piano Concerto No1, was presented right after.


The second part of the National Symposium had 5 different presentations, focusing on cultural rights through and the community, amongst others.

4 posters were also exhibited and invited the participants to explore more in relation to various aspects intertwining culture and the arts, including AI, translation, public space, and care for the elderly.

Director Cauchi also did the round-up post the discussions held on the day of the State of the Arts - Malta National Symposium – Right to Culture - and concluded by saying that “lots of action needs to happen. Regarding education, physical infrastructure, public investment, legislation, cross-sectoral engagement, and accessibility on all levels. Change is the word, together with renewed relevance. And so, Arts Council Malta promises to keep heading forward.”