Teatru Salesjan and HELA Foundation (Hub for Excellence in the Literary Arts) are the award winners of Il-Premju tal-President għall-Kreattività 2020. This recognition at the highest level of the State is divided into two strands: Strand 1 provides support for capacity building and development in the field of cultural projects with communities, while Strand 2 provides support for cultural projects and programmes with the community. The initiative is aimed at raising awareness on diversity and facilitating, supporting, and disseminating good practice with regard to the right to culture and inclusivity. The two winning projects, which were officially announced on social media on Friday 22nd January 2021, received a total amount of €75,000 over three years.
In his address, President of Malta George Vella spoke about how the cultural sector was among those badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout last year. Cultural activities are currently hampered by restrictions imposed by the Health Authorities, which greatly limit public participation. He noted that the two award-winning projects have a common goal – to grow, strengthen and renew the sense of community, which many of our localities, cities and villages have unfortunately lost, neglected, or failed to renew. “This is the time to think long-term about innovating and creating new ideas, finding opportunities for creative expression and, why not, also strengthening accessibility and inclusion through creativity,” said the President.
Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera said that the award provides special recognition and support to projects aimed at improving the quality of life for everyone, through culture and the arts. He said that, in challenging times like these, artists are coming up with creative solutions and providing the inspiration we all need, to strengthen solidarity and pursue continuous community development and improvement of the quality of life – at both individual and community levels.
Il-Premju tal-President għall-Kreattività is managed jointly by the Office of the President and the Malta Council for the Arts.
PROJECTS AWARDED IN THE 2020 EDITION
Strand 1 | Capacity Building and Development
It-Teatru Salesjan, Tas-Sliema: Kordinatriċi tal-ħidma mal-komunitajiet
Teatru Salesjan is primarily there for the community. People are the focal point. With the right person in place, the theatre will be in a position to strengthen a sense of belonging among the community, form ties between the diverse groups, widen participation in the community through creative expression, and help improve well-being on an individual and collective level. The training, experience and background of the Community Coordinator will support the Culture Nurture programme and lay foundations for the area of work which is at the core of this theatre: its people. This structure is set to inspire other regional theatres in Malta and Gozo and have a positive impact on a national level.
Strand 2 | Development of Projects and Programmes
HELA: Raħal il-Letteratura
Raħal il-Letteratura (Village of Literature) is a pilot initiative celebrating literature and promoting it in various ways. The initiative is the brainchild of HELA and is led by the same foundation in collaboration with eight main partners. These include a local council, and a number of public and private entities. The initiative involves the collecting and sharing of narratives and experiences of people living in Rabat, working in Rabat, and/or enjoying Rabat. In this way, the partners aim to raise awareness and share knowledge about literary heritage and the book as an experience and physical object. Beyond the creative and cultural act, the initiative takes the economic and cultural aspects into account. It seeks to create a sense of curiosity and discovery relating to the book and all that it entails for the people of Rabat. Ultimately, as a representative voice for the sector, HELA Foundation hopes to establish a model for other localities, and to be an inspiration for similar initiatives on a national level. This will, then, enable cooperation between different localities who consider culture, creativity and literature central to their work.