The impacts of Il-Premju tal-President għall-Kreattività were the topic of discussion in a seminar held on Thursday 3rd October at San Anton Palace in Attard. Launched in 2011 by the Office of the President together with the Creative Economy Working Group within the Ministry for Finance and the Economy, the fund provides recognition and support at the highest level of the State to organisations, especially those working with vulnerable groups, to engage them in creativity and arts-driven projects, increasing their level of integration and engagement in society. Il-Premju tal-President għall-Kreattività is now managed by Arts Council Malta together with the Office of the President.
During the seminar, which was addressed by H.E. President George Vella, Arts Council Malta presented the results of a study, commissioned by the Office of the President and managed by Arts Council Malta, which evaluated the performance of this award.
The study explored the impact of the programme by eliciting in-depth knowledge and expertise from beneficiaries and projects awarded Il-Premju tal-President għall-Kreattività between 2016 and 2018. The evaluation of the study was carried out by Dr Valerie Visanich and Toni Attard on behalf of Culture Venture following the Call for Tenders MJCL/MPU/25/2018 issued by Arts Council Malta and the Office of the President.
The study found that beneficiaries of the programme value the recognition the award provides to organisations working with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Between 2016 and 2018, a total of 31 projects by 20 unique beneficiary organisations benefitted from this fund. The majority were NGOs or voluntary organisations, with 15 of them not having been previously involved in the arts. In fact, the majority of projects carried out through this programme were led by organisations outside the arts sector, thereby creating new collaborations between the arts, health and community services.
Toni Attard and Dr Valerie Visanich addressed the seminar, presenting the findings of the study. This was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Pamela Baldacchino (visual artist and nursing professional), with Lou Ghirlando (drama therapist and psychotherapist), Angele Galea (artistic director, producer and actor) Noelle Camilleri (art psychotherapist), and Elaine Compagno (service coordinator at St Jeanne Antide Foundation) as panellists.
The panel discussion explored the current and potential role of art therapy and applied art practice in health and community services, including the capacity building and training required for artists to work more effectively in these fields. During the discussion, it was noted that awarded projects were found to provide temporary solutions in the absence of arts therapy or applied art practice in national health or community services.
The study’s evaluation outlined various recommendations on how the programme could evolve to further support organisations working within relevant fields. A a number of these recommendations are currently being implemented by Arts Council Malta and the Office of the President. For further information, the full evaluation report will be available for download from the Arts Council Malta website shortly.