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The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government has the role of initiating cultural policy developments and strategies through the Directorate. The Culture Directorate re-established in 2013. The aim is to ensure that the governance role of the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government responsible for culture is fulfilled efficiently and expediently, and that important issues affecting the sector are brought to the attention of the competent political and administrative authorities.
The Directorate's main responsibilities are as follows:
- provision of policy, direction and advice on the arts, heritage, and audiovisuals;
- management of two programmes related to culture, arts and the creative industries, namely the Culture Pass and the Cinema Digitisation Scheme
- preparation of contributions for public debate and discussion;
- liaising with the relevant entities and stakeholders on all matters related to Malta’s cultural and creative sectors.
Apart from the policy-determined functions listed above, the Directorate hosts the contact point for the Creative Europe Programme. The Creative Europe Desk Malta promotes awareness and understanding of Creative Europe. It provides free advice and support to applicants, and encourages organisations from Malta to become involved in successful applications.
The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government includes within its portfolio the responsibility for cultural heritage.
The National Forum is an annual event, which brings together entities responsible for, or interested in, the preservation of cultural heritage, to discuss the state of cultural heritage in general. The entities include the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, Heritage Malta, the Malta Centre for Restoration, the Committee of Guarantee, the Catholic Cultural Heritage Commission and other Religious Cultural Heritage Commissions, government departments and entities, Local Councils, NGOs, the University of Malta, and other educational institutions, specialists, consultants, and any other parties registering their interest in writing to the Minister.
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage's mission is to fulfill the duties of the state in ensuring the protection and accessibility of Malta's cultural heritage.
Within this legal framework of the Cultural Heritage Act, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage was established and given the mission to ensure the protection and accessibility of cultural heritage. The Act also establishes the functions of the Superintendence.
Heritage Malta is the national government agency, set up in 2002 under the provisions of the Cultural Heritage Act, entrusted with the management of national museums and heritage sites and their related collections in Malta and Gozo, including seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It operates within four key aspects, namely management, conservation, interpretation and marketing. The agency is responsible for immobile heritage (e.g. museums and heritage sites), developing measures to ensure educational promotion, accessibility, conservation and the proper operation and marketability of Malta's vast patrimony in heritage sites, buildings, collections and museums, both locally and overseas.
One of the main initiatives of Heritage Malta is to attract more people from a young age to visit and interact with museums, thus fostering a lobe to the nation’s rich cultural heritage.
Cultural governance in the arts operates differently from cultural heritage. St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, the Manoel Theatre, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Pjazza Teatru Rjal and the Mediterranean Conference Centre are the entities which organize the artistic events in Malta and Gozo
Arts Council Malta is legally responsible for creating the necessary synergies between all artistic entities. Synergies between public cultural organisations (PCOs) are now facilitated through regular meetings chaired by the Minister and Valletta 2018 Foundation. A new board was set up in 2013 to oversee the implementation of the cultural infrastructure programme. This board has the remit of developing the cultural infrastructure programme leading up to Valletta 2018 as European Cultural Capital. The main focus is to develop a contemporary arts space, a music hall/centre for performing arts and creative clusters.
The Arts Council Malta operates through three specific directorates. The creation and development of strategies for the sector falls under the Strategy Directorate. The Directorate is built on five strategic focal points which include internationalisation and business development but also research, education and training and diversity and communities. These points also run through the council’s national strategy for the cultural and creative sectors for the years 2016-2020, which was published recently.
The directorate also focuses on the management and development of the funding portfolio, which currently includes nine national funding programmes amounting to around 1.5 million euro. A brokerage team also assists operators in the cultural and creative sectors to maximize their potential.
The aim is the creation of a one-stop shop for culture, a service hub for those working in the sector, mainly characterized by micro-enterprises and individual operators.
Arts Council Malta promotes and supports young people’s cultural participation and nurturing their creative potential through specific initiatives and funding programmes being Kreattiv, Professional Development Grant, Artivisti. Other programmes which are not exclusively aimed towards young people but are still open to their participation are Premju tal-President għall-Kreattivita`, Cultural Export Fund and the Malta Arts Fund.
The mission statement for Spazzju Kreattiv focuses on its role as a catalyst for the contemporary art scene in Malta, as well as a hub were people of all ages and from all walks of life can join in the enriching act of creativity. Run by a creative team, the Centre emphasises the need to foster aesthetic and cultural awareness among the younger generation and the socially and economically disadvantaged. The Centre houses a theatre, a music room, five exhibition spaces and an art-house cinema. St. James Cavalier is constantly seeking partnerships with Maltese, European and Mediterranean partners to develop innovative cultural projects. Relative autonomy is given to the running of the Centre and programming of events and activities is devised by the General Manager, with the assistance of programme coordinators. The Board of the Foundation Centre for Creativity monitors the work and approves yearly objectives set by the creative team.
Built in 1732, the Teatru Manoel in Valletta is not only Malta's oldest theatre, but one of the oldest in Europe. Embellished over the centuries, this theatre is a true architectural gem. Today, the theatre is one of Malta's foremost performing spaces, offering a wide range of productions including opera, ballet, contemporary dance, music, children's performances and drama. Teatru Manoel manages an education programme named ‘Toi Toi’ aimed towards young people which includes the Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre, Youth Opera and Toi Toi Schools project.
Malta Philharmonic Orchestra
In September 1997, the orchestra previously known as the Manoel Theatre Orchestra became an autonomous organisation under the responsibility of the Culture Ministry and was officially named as the National Orchestra of Malta. Ten years later the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra was launched on the 12th January, 2008. The MPO is also responsible for the orchestral training and professional development of young musicians, through the formation of the MPO Academy and the Malta Youth Orchestra.
Valletta 2018 Foundation
The Valletta 2018 Foundation is responsible for Valletta’s journey towards the title of the European Capital of Culture in Malta in 2018. The Foundation was responsible for the bidding process starting with the pre-selection phase in January 2012, the final selection in October 2012 and the official declaration by the Council of Ministers in May 2013. The implementation of Valletta’s 2018 is also responsible to leave a legacy of high profile cultural activity in and around the capital city of Malta.
The Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government collaborates with a number of Ministries, agencies and entities in relation to the National Cultural Policy:
The National Archives of Malta
The National Archives of Malta aims to preserve the collective memory of the Maltese nation and protect the rights of citizens through ready access to essential evidence. The administration of the National Archives incorporates the general direction of the services, the coordination of accessions from government departments, and the representation in national co-ordinating bodies such as the National Archives Advisory Committee. Specialised advice on research, palaeography, and contacts with international research institutions are also carried out.
In May 2011, Parliament approved the legislation for the establishment of Libraries Malta, a national agency that absorbs the functions of the National Library and the Department of Libraries. The mission of the Malta Libraries is to ensure the collection and conservation of Malta’s documentary heritage for present and future generations, to maintain and develop the libraries regulated under this Act, and to encourage reading for study, research, self-development and lifelong-learning information and leisure purposes.
Public Broadcasting Services
PBS owns TVM (the most popular TV station in Malta) as well as Radio Malta1 & 2 and Magic Radio.
Broadcasting policy in Malta is the responsibility of the Ministry responsible for Culture. It also sets guidelines for Extended Public Service Obligation programming (drama, current affairs, documentaries, children and entertainment programmes) funded directly by the Ministry. However, PBS falls within the portfolio of the Minister for Home Affairs and National Security who appoints the Board and the Editorial Board.
Malta Film Commission
The Malta Film Commission is a government organisation, established by Chapter 478 (Act No. 7 of 2005) of the Laws of Malta, with the role of advising the Minister responsible for the film sector on policies pertaining to the promotion, development and support of the audiovisual and film servicing industry. The board is composed of a chairman and four board members, including the Film Commissioner who is responsible for the implementation of Malta's audiovisual policy. The board of the Malta Film Commission has a largely non-executive function except for the approval of applications for both fiscal and financial incentives. Over the years, the role of the Film Commission has evolved from an entity that promotes the production of foreign films in Malta, to one that also develops the Maltese Film Industry through the management of the Malta Film Fund, the Malta Film co-production fund and training programmes.
Apart from approving and monitoring all financial matters for all Ministries and Agencies, the Ministry administers the National Lottery Good Causes' Funds with beneficiaries including artists and cultural organisations. The Ministry for Finance also spearheaded the development of Malta’s creative economy through the development of a creative economy working group and was instrumental in ensuring substantial increases in public expenditure for culture.
Malta Crafts Council
The Malta Crafts Council set up by virtue of Act XXI of 2000 is also another entity contributing to the development of the creative industries. The aims of the Council are focused on the encouragement, promotion and regulation of crafts and craftsmen and entrepreneurs dealing in Maltese craft products. The work of the Council is currently absorbed by the Commerce Directorate.
Cultural diplomacy falls within the remit of the MFA. Through the Cultural Diplomacy unit, Maltese Representations abroad are encouraged to facilitate cultural cooperation and presentation of Maltese culture. The Ministry is also responsible for the bilateral cultural agreements with other countries.
This Ministry is responsible for the administration of Malta's sister island. Through the culture department and Gozo Culture Council, it runs an exhibition space, supports amateur cultural organisations and programmes, as well as ad hoc artistic events.