Arts Council Malta’s newly-launched Strategy 2025 underlines the necessity to strengthen and develop the arts education sector through a number of strategic actions. To assist in achieving these aims, ACM is collaborating with the Department of Arts, Open Communities & Adult Education from the University of Malta,  to research the state of arts education in local schools, as well as the facilities available to students.

The preliminary findings from this research will be presented by Prof. Raphael Vella at this ACMlab. Following the presentation, a panel formed of educators and education professionals from a variety of schools – national, independent, and extra-curricular – to discuss the points raised in relation to their own professional experience and the educational contexts within which they operate.

The aim of the ACMlab is to question pedagogical methods and how these address contemporary socio-political and culture factors.


Umberto Buttigieg

Umberto Buttigieg has lead the Mikiel Anton Vassalli College – Malta School of Art since January 2020. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Malta and a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Brighton, focusing on the intersection of rituals, repetition and the moving body. Adopting performance and video art strategies, he focused his research on ways in which human behavior creates systems of meaning. He is currently reading for a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy, exploring therapeutic aesthetics and creativity as healing modalities.  

Jean-Marc Cafà

Jean-Marc trained at the Guildford School of Acting, UK where he was awarded both the McGrath Citation Award for Talent and the Entrepreneurship Award. He has performed in various plays and musicals locally and overseas. Jean is currently the Creative Director of Studio 18 Malta, while also working as a consultant and freelance director. He recently completed an MEd in Teaching and Learning for the Arts in Higher Education at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, with a focus on the development of arts educational leadership.
Directing credits include The Brat and That, #babydaddy, Limbo, Inez Kienet Perf, System, Dear Pete, DripFeed (co-direction with Andre` Agius), and the Valletta 2018 Project iLand (Studio 18), Il-Hajja Xej Kool Ta' Teenager Jismu Julian (Du Theatre, Teatru Aurora), Loveplay (Pagoni Theatre), Evita (Teatru Astra),  Tghid Lil Hadd (Studio 18/Teatru Aurora), Cabaret (FM Youth), Thoroughly Modern Millie for the SOPA Teen Company (Malta), The Addams Family (Barn Youth, UK) and The Dream Master for the Palestine International Children’s Festival as well as assistant director on Her Naked Skin (GSA, UK), Così Fan Tutte (Jackdaws, UK), Orpheus the Mythical (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and Richard Stilgoe), Grease (Teatru Astra) and Shakespeare scene work for the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare's Globe.  As a dramaturge, he has worked on Naqsam il-Muza, Tar Mar-Rih (Danza C) and on the alternative shopping experience You Are What You Buy, and most recently Teatru Malta's Xilallu. In 2013, Jean-Marc was invited to participate in the Royal Shakespeare Company's director workshop.
Jean-Marc has also choreographed a number of shows including Du Theatre’s Il-Marid Immaginarju, Teatru Manoel' s 2014 Pantomime Pinocchio, When You Hear My Voice for the London Shakespeare Workout, numbers for MYO Swings, and a number of local musicals.
In 2011, he managed the implementation of ZiguZajg, Malta’s first international arts festival for children and youth. Between 2011 and 2013, Jean served as the Artistic Director for SOPA (School of Performing Arts by Drama Troupe) and oversaw the youth programmes run by Spazju Kreattiv. He also served as Vice President and Rep for Education for APAP from 2012 to 2014. He moved on to found Studio 18 in 2013, an organization for performing arts training and creative learning, for which he has served as creative director since. Jean-Marc served as a consultant for Creative Learning at San Anton School from 2017 to 2019, and as the Director of Learning and Community for the Barn Theatre in the UK. He currently co-leads a module for the undergraduate programme in Occupational Therapy at the University of Malta.

Bernie Mizzi

Principal for over 40 years at Chiswick House School and St. Martin’s College - an all-through Independent School in Malta offering educational programmes (formal and informal) to children aged 2 to 18.

She is also Co-founder of EC English, an international language school, and more recently Founder Trustee and Administrator of The Storm Petrel Foundation – A non-profit voluntary organisation promoting art, literature and popular culture. She assisted in establishing the Independent Schools Association and served as its first President for 4 years. She worked as a member of the University Council for 7 years and served as Pro-Chancellor between 2010-2013. She continues to serve on numerous educational boards and participates in international conferences / webinars on a regular basis. She is interested in all aspects of the educational field and has focused on using film as a teaching and learning strategy for over 15 years and has lately focused upon mentoring educational leaders within the organisation.

She is currently working with educational leaders reviewing curricula and co-constructing educational offerings that are valid for the context.


Raphael Vella

Raphael Vella is an artist, educator and curator based in Malta. He has exhibited his works in international exhibitions and venues, including the Venice Biennale, Domaine Pommery (Reims, France) and Modern Art Oxford and has curated many group and solo exhibitions in Malta and internationally. He was art critic for the Malta Independent between 1992 and 2000 and won the Commonwealth Art and Craft award (London) in 1998. He was artist-in-residence at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand for a year in 2000 and was a founding member of the artists’ group StART in the early 2000s.  Raphael Vella was Fulbright scholar in 2001 and has lectured at the University of Malta since 2003.

In 2012-13 he was Artistic Programme Director for Valletta 2018 Foundation, the entity responsible for the European Capital of Culture in 2018. He has published numerous articles and catalogue essays about contemporary art, culture and education and initiated many artistic projects, educational ventures and international exchanges that have helped to transform the cultural scene in Malta, like Divergent Thinkers, the Curatorial School, the Valletta International Visual Arts festival (VIVA) and many projects involving undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Malta. In 2017, he was co-curator (with Bettina Hutschek) of the Malta Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia.

In 2019, he organised the InSEA Seminar Art Education: Conflicts and Connections between 9-11 October in Valletta. Between 2020 and 2023 he is coordinating a University of Malta team working on Acting on the Margins: Arts as Social Sculpture (AMASS), an international research project on socially engaged arts.

Giuliana Fenech

Giuliana Fenech (PhD) is an academic researcher and practitioner in literature and technology, multimedia literature, Digital Humanities and storytelling, with a special interest in children and young adult literature. Throughout her career, she has been involved in the set up and curation of numerous projects involving stories and multimedia, stories and cultural heritage, stories and children, as well as dramaturgy. She lectures in the Department of English, at the University of Malta, and runs a storytelling organisation, Lignin Stories. She has been the recipient of numerous grants, including the Malta Arts Fund multiple times, the Federation of European Storytellers grant, and an Erasmus+ fund to research the representation of STEM and girls in stories for children. Her multidisciplinary project, The Secret Garden, was awarded Best Work for Young Audiences by the Malta Arts Council in 2022.

The session will be held on Tuesday 13th September 2022 at 18:30 at Malta School of Art,  Valletta. 

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