8.1 General context
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Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation
In the Cultural Participation Survey 2016 young people from the age groups 16-24 and 25-34 had the highest rate of participation in most cultural activities compared to other age groups. Below are a few salient points on young people’s cultural participation based on these statistics followed by a summary of the main statistical findings (total population aged 16+ for the survey amounted to 360,335):
- Young people registered the highest rate of internet use for cultural purposes. The most popular activities included listening to music online, watching movies and reading newspaper articles.
- The 16-24 age group had the highest readership rate (63% read at least one book in 2016).
- Young people are more likely to listen to music everyday
- Young people registered the highest attendance in most cultural activities from all age groups except for dance performances, museums and historical sites. As for art exhibitions it is the 16-24 age group that the highest attendance rate followed by the 45-54 age group. The most attended cultural activities by young people are cinema and live music performances.
- The 25-34 age group are had the highest rate of regular yearly attendance to traditional events from all age groups except for Good Friday/passion plays. Parish feasts are the most popular from the traditional events which is also the case for the rest of the population.
- As for engagement, the most popular cultural activity in which young people take part is creating digital artworks or animations for the 16-24 age group and crafts for the 25-34 age group.
- Young people are the most likely to have volunteered with a cultural organisation at some point in their life. However the 16-24 age group was the second most likely to have volunteered in a cultural organisation in the 12 months preceding the survey after the 35-44 age group.
- The 16-24 age group are the most likely to perceive themselves as being artists (28% of them do so) from all age groups.
The survey also revealed some barriers that young people face to participating in cultural activities. The 25-34 age group was mostly likely to agree with the statement “Other commitments in my life prevent me from having enough time to go to arts or cultural events” with 69% saying they tend to agree or strongly agree. Also, 16-24 and 25-34 age groups had the highest rate of agreement with the statement “I do not find enough of the kind of events I am interested to attend” (37% and 33% respectively).
The Constitution of Malta enshrines culture in the declaration of principles by calling on the State to promote the development of culture and scientific and technical research. To this end, the National Culture Policy 2021, issued by outlines principles and actions to safeguard this constitutional declaration. The policy asserts the principle that culture is dynamic and ever-changing, and creative practitioners through culture and the arts are the meaning makers that question and push the boundaries of society. The government recognises that in this respect, culture is then a dynamic force that can help negotiate integration and fight exclusion by engendering wellbeing for strong communities and a resilient cohesive society. A stronger cultural sector led by artists, cultural practitioners, civil society and communities, is fundamental to freedom of expression and to tolerance, and thus to democracy. An enlightened society through arts and culture leads to a culture of openness, innovation and creativity.
Within the National Culture Policy 2021, the understanding of culture is also informed by Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which establishes that everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. It is further informed by Article 5 of the 2001 UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity, that recognizes cultural rights as inseparable from human rights.
Strategy 2025, published by the Arts Council Malta, understands culture as the environment where new narratives and mindsets are developed and new societal shifts occur. It adheres to the EU Workplan for Culture through the understanding that culture is key to promoting “individual empowerment, democratic consciousness and social cohesion.”
According to the Cultural Heritage Act cultural heritage means movable or immovable objects of artistic, architectural, historical, archaeological, ethnographic, paleontological and geological importance and includes information or data relative to cultural heritage pertaining to Malta or to any other country. This includes archaeological, paleontological or geological sites and deposits, landscapes, groups of buildings, as well as scientific collections, collections of art objects, manuscripts, books, published material, archives, audio-visual material and reproductions of any of the preceding, or collections of historical value, as well as intangible cultural assets comprising arts, traditions, customs and skills employed in the performing arts, in applied arts and in crafts and other intangible assets which have a historical, artistic or ethnographic value.