Published on Tuesday 22 March 2016

Following the recent Culture Matters seminar, Graziella Vella, Research Coordinator - Valletta 2018 Foundation and Adrian Debattista, Research Associate, Arts Council Malta, team up to look at some of the main findings

Photo credit: Focus Fotos

The ‘Culture Matters’ seminar, organised by the Valletta 2018 Foundation last month, aimed to present the highlights of the Foundation’s Evaluation and Monitoring initial research findings for 2015. One of the main aims behind this research process, which started last year and will continue until 2019, is to understand if the objectives set for Valletta as a European Capital of Culture (ECoC) are being achieved.

This research process is about Valletta 2018, but it is also about the wider cultural sector and related spheres. We speak about the impacts of Valletta 2018, but we also speak about the impacts of such a milestone event in the wider cultural and creative sector and on other sectors such as employment and tourism.

The main outcomes of this research and seminar highlight the very basic, yet very important, need to ensure links, synergies and collaboration between different parties and stakeholders. This process also reflects the importance of having an interdisciplinary process which combines various areas and spheres in such a wide concept as that of the ECoC.

This research process is also about having results that are accessible, shared and used. Research should never be carried out in a vacuum.

The ‘Culture Matters’ seminar also addressed some  themes such as accessibility and connection, both on a physical and on a non-physical level.

One of the main outcomes of the seminar also highlighted what Valletta means to different people, with the city being a national and an intimate space. Our work, and that of our partners, should be aimed at raising and increasing the level of active cultural participation. Yet a vital aspect of our work should also aim to ensure that Valletta is a living space. As Dr Antoine Zammit, one of the researchers of the Foundation’s Evaluation and Monitoring Steering Committee, emphasised during the seminar, regeneration should aim to make a city alive and liveable.

We also realise that most issues and challenges are common to most cities experiencing such a high-level experience such as the ECoC. This is the reason why knowledge transfer between local and international partners is crucial. This is also why we should aim at ensuring the engagement of students and researchers to continue exploring these and other areas in connection with Valletta 2018 and cultural participation.

The Evaluation and Monitoring research process has just entered into its second year. Throughout the year the Foundation, together with its partners, will continue exploring the themes presented at the Culture Matters seminar to analyse and compare results. Together with Arts Council Malta and the National Statistics Office, the Valletta 2018 Foundation will also be conducting a reviewed Culture Participation Survey, as a follow-up from the 2011 survey. The aim is to analyse culture participation and look at why people choose to attend - or not - cultural events, and how engagement in cultural activity is affecting the attendees’ wellbeing.

By Graziella Vella, Research Coordinator - Valletta 2018 Foundation

Key Findings

Cultural Tourism

  • In 2015, a new record was reached with 1.8 million tourists visiting the Maltese Islands.
  • Tourists staying in Valletta/Floriana were more likely to visit a cultural site or attend cultural activity than tourists staying in other localities.
  • Visiting historical sites was the most popular cultural activity amongst tourists followed by visiting churches and museums. This pattern was common among tourists staying in the Valletta/Floriana area as well as other localities.

Creative Economy (design sub-sector)

  • As part of the cultural and creative industries (CCIs), the design sub-sector accounted for 8.1% of the total CCIs gross value added (GVA) which amounts to 5% of GDP (as at 2010). The GVA is used as a measure of economic contribution.
  • Design enterprises generated €50 million in value added, accounting for 0.8% of GDP.
  • There are 790 design enterprises in Malta with an average of three people employed, estimated to be operating with a ‘healthy’ profit margin of 24%.
  • The proportion of firms carrying out design is relatively high in medium-sized and large firms but low in smaller firms. Nevertheless average firm spending on other innovation including design is significantly lower in larger firms, and to a lesser extent in medium-sized firms, but relatively high in smaller firms.
  • The manufacturing and financial services sectors dedicate the least resources to design and other activities while the transportation and storage sector has the relatively highest level of expenditure per firm in Malta with regards to design.

 Employment in the cultural and creative industries (CCIs)

  • Full-time employment in CCIs reached 9,283 during the second quarter of 2015, equal to 5.45% of total full-time employment (as at end of June 2015). Part-time employment stood at 1,708 or 4.86% of total part-time employment in the economy.
  • The number of males employed in CCIs accounted for 5.91% of the total number of males in full-time employment whilst female employment in CCIs accounted for 4.65% of the total number of females in full-time employment.
  • 93% (8,658) of the total number of full-time employees in CCIs are employed in the private sector whilst only 7% (625) pertain to the public sector.
  • The top three CCI categories in terms of number of employees are ‘Museum Activities’, ‘Advertising agencies’ and ‘Amusement and recreation activities’.
  • In contrast to full-time employment, part-time employment in CCIs is mostly taken by females.
  • Overall the number of vacancies pertaining to occupations within the culture and creative sector has increased from 166 in the first quarter of 2014 to 290 in the last quarter of 2015. Notwithstanding this noticeable rise, vacancies relating to CCIs have been quite unstable.
  • The number of jobseekers looking for jobs in the creative sector remained more or less the same during 2014 and 2015. The most noticeable increase can be observed in the last three months of 2014 where the number of jobseekers registering for jobs relating to CCIs increased to 510 compared to a (simple) mean of 473 in the previous three quarters; mainly pertinent to occupations classified under “Film, stage-related directors and producers” .

By Adrian Debattista, Research Associate, Arts Council Malta, based on findings from research by the Economic Policy Department (EPD), the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) and the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA)