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
Creative Economy (design sub-sector)
Employment in the cultural and creative industries (CCIs)
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)