Research has been at the heart of our operations over the past six years and shall continue to shape the direction of the council’s work in years to come. Research is a particularly crucial area as it is, by nature, not a self-contained sphere of activity, but one that impacts and supports a multitude of areas that we will be addressing throughout this period.

This is particularly pertinent when discussing research within the context of ACM’s strategic planning. The goal of research as a strategic area is to nurture an internal culture of openness, critique, and analysis, enabling us to take informed decisions about our operations, partnerships and future development, across all areas of our work. Research supports this kind of growth in several ways.

Foremost amongst them is the role of research in identifying and highlighting existing trends or patterns of behaviour and activity within the cultural and creative sectors, as well gaining more complex insights into the status of artists and creative practitioners. Whether this is addressing questions related to audience participation, creative activity, education, internationalisation or economic output, research enables us to develop a richer, more textured understanding of the ways in which the sector is developing, as well as the challenges that artists and creative practitioners face throughout their practice. This is especially valuable when seen within the broader context of time, whereby a more extensive and longitudinal body of data can reveal more meaningful shifts and developments.

This, in turn, enables us to position ourselves at the forefront of the sectors, as a proactive, visionary and compassionate entity that is driving positive change and leading the sectors into unchartered waters. Developing a more robust, representative, and deep body of knowledge enables us to not only support the sector in the present, but also to predict and lay the groundwork for future developments. This kind of knowledge enables ACM, and the cultural and creative sectors, to understand the human, social, and economic investment required in emerging fields of practice.

Research is also crucial in establishing new partnerships and exploring new avenues of inquiry. As creative practice and artistic engagement become increasingly interdisciplinary – both in terms of their modes of practice as well as their subject matter – it is vital for us to establish and maintain strong relationships with individuals, entities and organisations operating within a range of different fields outside the arts. Research can support this by inspiring new fields of exploration, identifying areas of collaboration and mutual interest, and bridging previously unrelated areas through knowledge transfer.

External links of interest

Final Report on Cultural and Creative Spillovers published in October 2015. This report was commissioned and funded by the european centre for creative economy (ecce), Arts Council England (ACE), Arts Council of Ireland, European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and the European Creative Business Network (ECBN). Arts Council Malta is among the research partners involved with Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy who authored the report.

Special Eurobarometer 399 - Cultural Access and Participation 2013 published in November 2013. In here Malta is compared with other EU members in terms of engagement in cultural activities, involvement in artistic activities, use of internet for cultural purposes and barriers to cultural participation.

Compendiums of cultural policies and trends in Europe. Malta’s cultural policy country profile can also be downloaded and accessed from here.