As ACM, we believe in the public value of arts and culture, and their power to enrich the lives of everyone experiencing them. The evidence we gathered on the impact of our investment in past six years, is indeed reflective of this as we have witnessed and listened to the encouraging stories of artists and communities influenced by the work we supported. Thus, in recognising our accountability towards the public, we want to broaden our approach to investment by going beyond our funding portfolio, as first and foremost we consider cultural and creative engagement as a right. We shall therefore be widening the scope of how we allocate public investment as well as how we advocate for public investment. We want to achieve this by further diversifying our funding processes as well as other forms of investment mechanisms we shall lead, develop, or support.

Over the coming years we will invest strategically in work which supports our goals and guiding principles in alignment with cultural rights and overall sustainable development. At the centre of our investment decisions, we shall consider the professional, social, and economic status and conditions of artists, creatives, and cultural practitioners. From project funding for an experimental artwork to seed capital for a creative start-up, we want to structure investment that matches the sector-specific needs of artistic expression and production. We also know that investment in arts and culture can bring about wider social benefits, contribution to economic growth, and sustainable communities. We plan to invest more in mentorship, capacity building, professional development, training and knowledge sharing of organisations and individuals alike to improve the quality and potential in their artistic work and operations. We want to champion arts and culture from across the voluntary, private, and public sectors not only through direct investment but also through our development efforts, building connections between the everyday cultural participation in communities, organisations we support and the wider sectors.

Our investment will also be aimed towards building new partnerships, collaborations and growing our knowledge, skills and networks so as to support and promote the conditions in which Malta’s cultural and creative sectors can flourish. We will work closely with those we support through constructive monitoring and reporting requirements, and provide the necessary support while encouraging good practice throughout the process. We will continue to identify the structural challenges and opportunities facing the sectors and address them by leading conversations that bring people together from across sectors. We will advocate for the value of arts and culture with other public entities and stakeholders, to support the sustainablity, innovation and growth of the cultural and creative ecology and take the lead in placing arts at the centre of Malta’s future. Indeed we aim to collaborate with PCOs towards providing a support structure with a relative measure of production and output, to improve working conditions and sustain the Status of the Artist. This requires continuous learning, discussions, and rethinking on our funding programmes and investment decisons through research and knowledge building, to continue strengthening the case for public investment in arts and culture.

We will keep adopting the principles of open competition, accountability, and transparency in our funding and overall investment decisions. We are committed to providing all relevant information about the different funding programmes through our digital channels and brokerage services in general. All guidelines and application forms will be regularly reviewed and published online while ensuring maximum accessibility. Through our newly revamped and continuously evolving Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, application procedures will include clear steps and outline our expectations for each and every part of the application, with all deadlines for the different funding programmes published in advance as part of a yearly calendar. At ACM we ensure that the decision-making process is carried out in the most effective and meticulous way. That is the reason we will continue engaging different independent evaluators to assess funding applications. Concurrently we will be exploring approaches that lighten bureaucracy through investment in digitalisation and simplification procedures to be rolled out across our funding programmes.

We invest in artists, creative professionals and practitioners in order to develop and deliver artistic excellence and contribute to our strategic goals that support growth, diversity, and training in the cultural and creative sectors. The benefits of public investment are effectively utilised to steer growth and development. This may take place in the traditional model of funding, which includes multi-annual grants, strategic funding, and development funding. Through our partnerships and stakeholder engagement we will be initiating conversations on alternative funding sources such as match funding, crowdfunding, preferential loans, trusts, and other models which favour participatory approaches.

Multi-annual grants consist of agreements over a number of years with creative professionals that address the priorities outlined in this Strategy with a long-term vision. Strategic funding programmes are our main tool to implement our goals as set by the Strategy. Development funding programmes provide the necessary environment to provide the opportunity for us to invest in the development of quality-driven creative work which pushes the artists’ and the sector’s boundaries for more engaging creative experiences. These programmes will essentially focus on what matters most to artists – funds that support them in taking creative risks to develop new work through research, experimentation, and collaboration.

We will ensure our public investment decisions will be equitable, reflecting the principles of cultural rights, embracing diversity of artistic and cultural expression.