8.7 Fostering the creative use of new technologies
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Arts Council Malta manages the Malta Digital Games Fund which aims to encourage the creation of digital games by small companies, small teams and groups of individuals based in Malta, support Malta-based creative talent that demonstrates long-term potential, strengthen digital games as a cultural product and promote Malta as a hub for digital design and innovation.
The Ministry for Economy, Investment and Small Business organises the annual Malta Innovation Awards. The aim of these awards is to recognise the efforts of individuals and companies that have taken their ideas and concepts or their operational processes a step forward. Through these Awards, Government is encouraging the development of Innovative ideas and products which have a degree of potential that is both unique and sustainable. One of the awards is the Award for Creative Innovation. The Award rewards individuals or enterprises operating in the cultural and creative industries, which have an excellent combination of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The contribution can be a new product, innovation of a process or a new way of working.
A Special Award is also awarded to the Emerging Innovator which is chosen by the Adjudicating Committee from all the submissions received for the three Categories. This award is furthermore divided into two sections according to age group i.e. over 30 and under 30.
The National Archives is currently building a new website that opens access to much of the digital catalogues that it currently holds. The main targets shall be giving access to extensive digital catalogues during 2018 and all open items it holds in digital form by the end 2019.
The National Archives is also a partner in the Archives Portal Europe, the largest European collection of arrival collections online. The archives aims to have 100,000 descriptive units and over 350,000 digital items on the European portal by the end of 2019
A major project that the National Archives has started in 2017 is the Memorja. This is the first oral and sound archive in Malta, that shall be made available online for access to everyone. The aim is to have over 500 hours of sound clips describing the first-hand experience of historically important events on a wide variety of themes. All young people, who are doing historical research, are looking for artistic inspiration, need historical bases for fictional writing or scripts, or are just interested in Maltese culture, would have over 200 years of history at their fingertips. The five officers working on the construction of this portal are also young people.
The Malta Tourism Authority in collaboration with Heritage Malta have launched an application called the Malta Culture Guide with which one can explore the best cultural highlights of Malta and Gozo, and locate them on the map without roaming costs. The application gives practical information through which a person can plan for cultural events. It also features a free podcast.
As part of the activities that are taking place during European Capital of Culture 2018 in Valletta, the Valletta 2018 Foundation developed an application called Valletta18 intended to connect users to the foundation in real time and offer them a more accessible experience. The application’s purpose is to create value for Valletta18's audience and serves as a real time event guide for events taking place in various venues across Malta and Gozo. Moreover, using category selection during the signup process, a user can tailor event feeds displayed. A user who is interested in art will see an event feed that is different from a user interested in music. Users will have the possibility to add an event to their mobile calendars as a reminder to not miss the event and also to plan their schedules around it. A user can mark events as favourite to stay up to date with any event changes or updates. Favourites will be stacked away in a separate section for ease of future access. Push notifications will notify users of nearby events or newly added events.
Heritage Malta in collaboration with Google, launched an online platform called Wonders of Malta through which the public can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in the initiative's partner museums. Through this platform audience with Internet access or smart mobile technology have access to a number of artefacts from the National Museum of Archaeology can now be viewed online on Google Arts & Culture.
Heritage Malta in collaboration with Google Expeditions also launched a virtual reality teaching tool that lets the user lead or join immersive virtual trips all over the world. Google Expeditions, allows for children from around the world to discover the beauty of the Megalithic Temples of Malta. Expeditions enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places like museums, underwater, and outer space. Expeditions are collections of virtual reality 360° panoramas and 3D images – annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools. Finally, visitors can discover a number of interactive stories and cardboard tours about the top wonders of Malta. For this exhibition, more than 27 cultural institutions under the remit of Heritage Malta created over 35 exhibits, sharing a total of 600 assets and more than 800 images online in collaboration with Google. The exhibition is available for free on the web and through the new Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android.
Heritage Malta together with St Martin’s Institute of IT launched the St Paul's Catacombs Oculus Project. The new extended site includes a visitor centre incorporating all amenities and interpretation facilities and a walkway which provides access around the site. The project also incorporated a number of scientific studies, including archaeological research, environmental studies and ground penetrating radar scans, the construction of new visitor facilities, 3D navigation through parts of the site, new interpretation of the site and its different phases, and access to previously inaccessible areas and to a number of catacombs.
The site’s interpretation includes a number of audio-visuals with information on various aspects of the site. Heritage Malta has also implemented an interactive immersive experience of the Catacombs through a setup of virtual reality goggles and 3D navigation systems using the Oculus Rift technology. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed in the Catacomb and able to interact with physical objects, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user's physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. The aim is to provide alternative accessibility to the catacombs. Allowing people with mobility problems to virtually access the St Paul's Catacombs
Heritage Malta has also launched MUŻA, an Arts museum. This museum will be different to others as the visitor, apart from admiring the exhibited works of art, will be helped to understand and possibly even discover the muse of the artist in order for him to create, or try to create, a particular painting, sculpture or other artistic objects. In order for those who visit MUŻA to appreciate the works on display, it was decided to use technology in all its forms to understand the history of the artistic work, and to possibly even discover what inspired the artist. To this end, various professional artists worked on audio-visual material projects, some of them interactive, intended to allow the visitors to not only experience the museum, but to be critical, ask questions and possibly even provide them with their own muse to be artistic. The project is partially funded by the EU, as part of the European Regional Development Fund and the European Structural and Investment Fund 2014-2020.