31 OCTOBER 2001

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Partnership between culture and business discussed during seminar

The theme of building synergies between Malta's culture sphere, relevant entities and the business sector was the topic discussed during a seminar organised by the Ministry of Education. The seminar had the main aim of stimulating a about how the business and artistic communities could relate more effectively with the people and entities involved in the gestation of Malta's cultural sphere.

"Partnership between Culture and Commerce" was based on the discussion document, Cultural Policy in Malta, issued recently by the Ministry for Education. One of the main factors of the Cultural Policy in Malta document is sustainable development of Malta's cultural sphere. Malta's leading businesses, having a history of sponsoring the arts, were invited to attend this seminar to examine the situation and propose initial suggestions for the development of this particular sector.

The seminar focused on the new concept of economisation of culture and the culturalisation of the economy. "Culture in Malta needs to be seen as an economic source as it depends heavily on the service industry. This vision should be placed against the emerging cultural worker which has steadily evolved on the European mainland. It is estimated that approximately 7.2 million workers are directly and indirectly associated with the culture industry in the European Union," said Dr Galea.

The debate also included the crucial need that Malta starts looking into the acute problem of lack of professional cultural management. The need for professional management for Malta's cultural heritage deserves top priority as the government has announced the need for site managers to look after Malta's heritage sites, museums and structures of a cultural nature.

Professor Joe Friggieri chaired the seminar whilst Mr David Brockdorff put forward some suggestions concerning the parameters relevant to arts sponsorship. Mr Victor Formosa discussed his experience within the media related to cultural sponsorships whilst the Minister for Education, Dr Louis Galea concluded the seminar.

Dr Galea said "One has to learn to adapt to economic processes to existing cultural and socio-political conditions. Culture has conic to be regarded as a basic element in the development of a country, of its structures, its society and its economy. It is now widely agreed that culture is no longer an option but an essential, ongoing, formative experience in a society which treasures its past, recognises the present and invests for the future."

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt