European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Final Bid of Valletta 2018

Valletta – history and architecture

The great siege in 1565

The Maltese stone – golden balm – or how else to describe?

Interesting trace of Malta stones elsewhere e.g. in the house in Spetses, Greece due to having a special yellow tone.


Red sand


the wind strokes everything

standing in the way

so they build cities

to give shade from heat and wind

but still humidity can be felt

and the exposure to something cold

called insularity and isolation.


It leaves voices mute

in fear of big shadows

gliding along sand stone walls

to make their shape look bizarre

and in contrast to a wish for colour

like the big spirit in the great harbour.




What touches people of Malta is one key subject matter affecting their daily lives: the wind. This might explain why my poem 'the wind, my friend' touches something.

And then there is the role of dreams. Given the unique title of the conference in 2013: “small city, big dreams,” it leads on to the crucial question but can a city like Valletta become a more daring space where people not only dream of something outstanding, but really realize their dreams? And if yes, the European Capital of Culture as not an imposing institution, but one which makes possible such dreams, how shall that realization be evaluated since dreams take their time to become real?

The bid book story:

Conceived as if writing a film script, it can be linked to the film servicing industry which exists in Malta, but due to high costs has suffered as of late due to producers preferring less costly locations. This may also reflect the time of low budget film making with everyone joining in e.g. crowd funding, and for which the EU is prepared to put now some regulation in place.

But to come back to preparing a bit, it may be like steppping onto a film set. Depicting what goes on while filming, it may lead on to an imaginary display of a city writing its own script for becoming European Capital of Culture in 2018.



 The bid in brief



The Vision
Valletta 2018 is the catalyst to a long-term, culture-led regeneration that sees cultural and creative activity as the most dynamic facet of Valletta and all Malta’s socio-economic life. The vision presented by the final bid of Valletta 2018: candidate city for the title of European Capital of Culture (EcoC) 2018, is one where culture is the driving force in building individual creative careers, promoting our well-being, and in fostering our communities’ international and intercultural outlook. Valletta 2018 is an exciting opportunity to experience our cultural identity afresh in new contexts that push the boundaries and allow for ideas, dialogue, creativity and innovation to flow freely.
Valletta 2018 presents us with a clear opportunity to realise the potential of cultural enterprise as an agent of change for our capital and country as we develop and harness our current and nascent structures for the ECoC. If Valletta is granted the title, it aims to consolidate past and current efforts and investment, and enhance them with a five-year plan for capacity building, cultural infrastructure and the development of technological means.
Valletta 2018 strives to bring about shifts in mentality, challenge us to experiment, raise our expectations both as artists and as audiences, and see us embrace permanent change to enrich our cultural lives. This will be done by focusing on encouraging the participation of individuals and organizations from different parts of society. Valletta 2018 will not simply be about participating in Maltese culture, but about expressing culture in Malta that breaks through insularity and isolation. It aims to transform traditional ways of viewing culture, not represent culture as tradition.
Our main challenge lies in setting up novel and holistic cultural structures to serve our citizens well beyond 2018. We use the term structures as we are addressing not just physical infrastructure but also soft structures such as education, professional training, incentives and support mechanisms.


Valletta 2018 will develop the sustainability of the cultural sector by rising to the challenge that the intensity and calibre of the ECoC title requires, particularly in terms of human resources and professionalisation of the creative and cultural sectors. The sustainability of our efforts lies in the development of both artists and creatives as well as in growing the necessary critical mass of participants and demanding, engaged audiences.


Valletta 2018 will go beyond merely acknowledging that our diverse make-up affects society. We intend to integrate Malta’s rapidly-changing and more diverse society into our programme in an active way. Creative exploration of our newly-emerging social fabric brings opportunities for interaction, negotiation and collaboration and platforms for the discovery of diversity’s enriching potential. Engaging with communities across and beyond Europe’s borders will be fundamental in supporting our vision of understanding and exploring new cultural identities. Our heritage, seen in street life, festivals, museums, cultural events and buildings and in the Maltese language, is a springboard for learning and appreciation, enabling deeper awareness of our unique social and cultural environment.


Valletta needs to become the heart of Malta’s creative economy. While recognised for its rich heritage attractions both in its buildings and its festivals, Valletta requires regeneration to serve contemporary society – Malta’s citizens, residents and visitors. The ECoC title provides us with a timely opportunity to promote Valletta’s potential to be present in and contribute to the international cultural scene through its artists, curators, media experts, authors, designers and creative workers.


Our vision brings responsibilities with it in ensuring that our interaction with our environment is sensitive and sustainable. Valletta 2018 therefore celebrates and accentuates Malta’s marine and maritime characteristics of its littoral and distinct island landscape by developing a healthy symbiosis between man and the natural environment. By using infrastructural and technological means, we aim to discover and explore new ways of interaction among the Maltese Islands’ various structural components: our citizens; the architecture; the coastal landscape; and our maritime neighbours both within the region and across Europe. The Mediterranean Sea as an enabler of well-being driven by its role as a force for connections rather than divisions and geographic isolation, lies at the heart of this objective.



Imagine 18 has established itself in the national cultural scene on the basis of two conferences and workshops held over the past year and a half as well as the related presence in the media, and is now strongly associated with our vision for this bid. Imagine 18 may help us develop this young presence into a focal point of Valletta’s efforts towards delivering a successful bid and ensuing project. Our aim is to verify that Imagine 18 triggers the responses to support our ECoC project, inspires Maltese society and appeals to our overseas audiences and partners. Together with Imagine 18, V.18 has been a highly successful acronym in introducing our ECoC bid to the Maltese public. We are therefore also retaining it to stand for both our project process and the Valletta 2018 Foundation as the entity driving the bid.


Cultural Programme - 4 Thematic areas


Valletta cannot exist as a reenactment of its past. To empower all Valletta’s present generations is to give Valletta, and all Malta, a future. Through engaging with younger generations, Valletta 2018 creates what is possibly its greatest and most lasting legacy as ECoC: that of giving our children and young people the right tools in order to live a life of inclusion and fulfillment by being direct players in culturally enriching activities. However, these principles will not be focused on our young people alone. Through interaction, play, imagination, and passion, V.18 includes all generations and all sections of the community in its Cultural Programme.


Valletta 2018 is a cultural laboratory for society to pose self-reflective questions about the role of the past and the challenges of the future, about borders, extremities, differences and similarities within a European and Mediterranean context. This theme also seeks to ensure that the special atmosphere we love in Valletta today and that sets it apart in Malta, and in Europe, is not lost. The uniqueness of Valletta’s communities in its localities is another aspect of diversity to explore, giving it wider contemporary resonance as we do so.


Unlike many cities that are allowed to grow and sprawl randomly, the city of Valletta was planned right down to the detail of the embellishments of its corner buildings. Unlike many cities in other European countries, Malta’s are designated by historic status alone and can be the size of villages or small towns. It is with such a particular lens that we wish to foster a better understanding of our lived-in environment and of the importance of the good design for Valletta. In doing so, we dwell also on the implications for the future of ‘the European city.’ How can citizens, designers, artists, urban planners, architects and residents collaborate and contribute to this rethinking of Valletta as a creative city, as an ECoC? We seek inspiration in our built environment that can serve us into the future; conserving the past by giving it a contemporary calling.


We are citizens of the Mediterranean, and Valletta is a unique vantage point to focus on the issues relating to this sea-cum-region bordering Europe’s south. The sea has shaped our culture, manipulated our trades and industries, and influenced almost every part of our lives. Valletta exists solely because of the sea; its peninsula a strategic location fashioning the city as both defensive fortress and safe haven thanks to the natural harbours flanking it. V.18 fosters relationships between the Maltese people and the sea that have been lost to time, are simply not understood today, or which have yet to be discovered. Through projects involving the maritime industries, V.18 will connect us with artists and performers taking inspiration from the sea to create new narratives and rekindle old ones that have a cultural resonance today.


 The Bid

Section I: Basic principles

Introduction by Sir Cameron Mackintosh

1. Why the wish for the title of European Capital of Culture

“Many cities want to be European Capitals of Culture, but many of them are simply over demanded.” - Bart Verschaffel (see Cork 2005 and evaluation of Mary)

The failures of past ECoC cities due to not recognizing really the challenge, but then this has often been reduced to managing of expectations since failures were attributed to high ones and which can never be fulfilled. But this is a form of rationalization especially if not sufficient investments were made in the arts and in culture, and thus things remain superficially at the surface. This is especially the case if ECoC cultural and artistic programmes are reduced to a simple series of events or even worse to festival like happenings. It is something else if a decision is taken to build up the film industry and to capitalize further on already existing potentials which just need space and encouragement to grow e.g. in Linz the story of Ars Electronica or else in Malta perhaps the dance scene.

A clear danger in the case of Valletta is to reinforce an one sided tourist concept by over emphasizing one kind of cultural tourism and not be aware of the increasing tension between a demanding artistic program and tourism based on cultural heritage. Also the one sided dependency upon tourism would entail reshaping the mentality of the people of Malta in a direction which can contradict directly the prime aim of achieving a 'shift in mentality' i.e. towards a greater independence from tourism as sole economic activity. Naturally a prime subject in this tension field shall be the 'guide' who can be extended into a story teller of the history of the island. Since he will convey as well more or less popular wisdoms about current state of affairs in Europe, it becomes crucial how these stories are told and passed on. Sometimes casual hints can reinforce prejudices of enormous importance for future relationships. Since Malta gained only independence from England in 1979, while the UK plays a certain role within the European Union, the approach taken to the future of Malta in Europe will be crucial on how the European dimension shall be interpreted and passed on. Right now the concept is, however, too self centred and not at all linked to what Europe needs in cultural terms and to which Malta can only then make a contribution, if aware where what is missing or lacking. In other words, what is the cultural dimension of Europe and to which Malta can make a definite contribution from its vantage point?

2. Concept of the programme

Four aims: too self centred and not at all orientated as to what cultural adaptations are in store for Malta by having joined the European Union, and if forced to decrease its dependency upon the financial sector for making extra money at conditions which are outside the norms of the EU.


bring about shifts in mentality

Shifts – not much of a change, or only of position and location to allow for another link between memory and imagination, but if the focus is on 'mentality', then something seems to trouble people in Malta.

Mind shifts – can be an artistic focus but still too conventional to deal with the kind of rationalization practiced (legitimized) and Conservativism deeply rooted in a society which has kept to itself for centuries, in order to survive.

Self occupation – post colonialism – squeezed in between North and South (Karsten's PhD thesis)

challenge us to experiment

To experiment means to make experiences under controlled conditions and not necessarily to live through experiences to be made when people are free to meet

raise our expectations both as artists and as audiences

How does this relate to management of expectations? Important is the link between artists and audiences.

embrace permanent change to enrich our cultural lives

Permanent change – desire for some peace, some resting place, for something 'doing nothing', to regain energies and what about 'our lives' compared to 'our cultural lives'









Valletta cannot exist as a reenactment of the past!

How to give the present generation a future?

- how to learn out of misfortunes and hardships

- set backs


Barriers to inclusion and participation are named as being generational, cultural and geographical. Technology is viewed as either overcoming these barriers or reinforcing them.

Crucial will be to find „routes to bridging these and other such contemporary generational divides.“


Not named is the religious factor, the division between those who stayed in Malta and those who left (Elisabeth Grech) and between Maltesian people and migrants (detention centre)


A philosophical outlook would mean what values are passed on, and which values are changed by a new generation coming into the present. Can these changes be linked to what political narratives at national level wish to signify?

Already routes are created in the generation section, while for the future path finders would be more apt. Still, scenic routes are not necessarily accessible in Valletta since many transitions are needed: foot, boat, car etc.

And always there are walls, mounts, stones, creating different borders e.g. sea side edge.

There seems to be an ambivalence in this theme for there is talk as if many cities exist and then there is only Valletta. The urban expansion on the island is said to have built beside the cultural heritage and thereby is driven by the construction industry, not by real need or any proper planning. This means the relationship between build up areas and land / nature / sea have transformed the island into being less viable e.g. what is happening to agriculture and how things were implanted like butter and beer when Irish troops were used by the British occupiers on Malta due to being Catholic and in knowing this is a sensitive issue. Again it was not about social issues so much as how to safeguard the treasures kept in the churches.

There will be studies about security and crime in the city and what are alternative solutions to making a city be save: locals, networks, associations, and the question of violence. Again given the scale of things, it is another access to similar themes and problems faced by other cities.

The imprint upon the city will be heavily influenced by academic research and studies, and not by bottom up processes.

Calypso – sound sculpture

Noise of an island


- partners involved

- how to ensure audiences for these events

- natural routes to see the sculptures (transportation links): how is the experience made remembered, discussed and translated into further going activities?

If connection to the sea by returning to traditional maritime resources is wanted, how to invite such persons who can help along the way?

What are the supportive structures needed to be in place so that viable places are created?



What sort overview can be presented since generations puts emphasis on future, routes a matter of not repeating the mistakes of the past (e.g. city built by gentlemen for gentlemen), but then cities again a refocus on Valletta in the singular to become a 'creative city', whereas the fourth strand is on not islands but more on the connection between people and the sea. Behind this is still a confusion between singular and plural events structured in one time line or which can take place simultaneously. If the focus is analogue to a film a matter of going through these four thematic perspectives as if the four seasons, what sort of rhythm will prevail? Above all, the focus on the young is immediately lifted when it is said that the focus shall not be on the young ones alone. As a safety measure such an open commitment is understandable, but it does not for anticipating what concrete measures this would have to me in order to be fulfilled e.g. how new narratives are developed and then passed on from one to the next generation. See here Bart Verschaffel's thesis about memory studies and how to validate the memories of experiences made during this one specific year. The slogan 'imagine 18' can also mean what do you feel when 18 years of age!

Interesting was during the conference in April that Karsten spoke about striving for 'greatness' and 'excellence of culture' while risking to fail.

Identification of the challenge for the nomination

Holistic structures – not clear what is meant by this, especially if Adorno repudiates that the whole can be the truth. For some time, holistic theories were assumed to give again an overview thought to have been lost in the phase of specialisation and over specialization. In culture, it is also important to relate to civilization and processes thereof. This means culture is limited in time and horizon. Only certain things have or take on value. The materialisation can also be set to fulfil certain expectations while children have to go through pre-set time structures, in order to complete their education. At crucial time junctures things and developments are marked by various cultural and even religious rites e.g. baptization, confirmation, marriage etc. The same applies for entry into the adult world and it does not begin with smoking the first cigarette even though in youth cultures that is often the case.

a) capacity building – our cultural actors and audiences

Measure: quality of cultural output

Requirement: access to training in professional roles e.g. arts director, curatorship – the latter are not defined in everyday cultural language in Malta and therefore not supported – but then the shift in power away from artist to curator has also consequences

'Professional capacity building' – National Cultural Policy (NCP, 2011) to overcome fragmented support system by means of intensive course-development and institutional-consolidation programme.

Public funding (2010, 2011) – shift in priorities away from 'an ecology of publish investment in project grants to amateur and semi-professional cultural organisations to investment instruments leading to professionalisation, development and entrepreneurship.'

Challenge for audience building


The creation of specific audiences which can give support over time to certain initiatives means as well to incorporate them into the infrastructural requirements, and therefore, it matters if these audiences are given a voice in shaping the artistic programmes and follow-ups. This can mean open workshops with people able to sit in and listen when things are being prepared. For art can only be understood when the process can be followed and realized when decisions alter the final outcome. Western production of art is too often focus on the final outcome often framed by a certain institution which would give it importance regardless whether it is in fact good or not. This kind of packaging the result makes it difficult for the audience to experience really good art and at the same time to express criticism. It is also not an art form which invites the audience to join in. Naturally there is also the fear to be misjudged when only something half finished or incomplete is seen. Yet Michelangelo did thematize the incomplete and uncomplete as basic elements of art with a stone not treated as of yet by the artist more complete than whatever he can do. Thus to learn to appreciate processes means to undertake a journey into thoughts and expressions being developed over time, and that would differ from presentations said and claiming to be complete. Related to that is the expectation by the audience to have something like a definite ending, a satisfactory one at that, and not just to leave something open, unresolved, with no solution in sight and not even a hope that a solution can be found.

Example: Beton 7 in Athens has a concept of diversified funding / revenues with gallery, theatre, internet radio and bar with each unit being independently organized and having an own budget while they share a common house with Internet Radio and services providing a way to reach out to audiences, and in cooperation with cultural institutions such as Goethe.

b) Built infrastructure – securing stages and spaces

There are not enough venues for culture to be developed. Crucial is to give various groups a space to voice themselves and to grow. So it is useful to make a survey of available spaces at local level. It should include outdoor spaces. This will mean a cultural mapping of the cultural resources on the islands and therefore a national audit has to be made as to what spaces are available.

Of interest is a key motto of the philosophy being expressed in the bid:

“Valletta's current lack of a contemporary cultural infrastructure hinders us in developing a sustainable and progressive society and can undermine individual and community innovation in culture.” (p. 16)

This requires a redefinition of specific needs, one being to close gaps in the cultural infrastructure:

c) digital infrastructure – reaching far and wide use of social media and social web – new technologies made available – as tools to create virtual spaces, in order to overcome Valletta's territorial limitations. Linked to that is the ICT sector and the question but how to attract further inward investments for key service industries?

(Example: nestor, das deutsche Netzwerk zur digitalen Langzeitarchivierung, lädt Sie ganz herzlich zum diesjährigen Praktikertag am 18.6. 2013 nach Hamburg in die Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften ein. Das Thema lautet „Dienstleistungen und Kooperationen in der digitalen Langzeitarchivierung“. Die Veranstaltung können wir auch dieses Jahr wieder kostenlos anbieten, wegen begrenzter Plätze bitten wir aber um Voranmeldung bis zum 18.5. unter  Eine Anfahrtsbeschreibung zur ZBW findet sich hier:


2. What are the city's objectives for the year in question?

(in the catalogue it is 1.(iii)

Include all the Maltese islands, so that the ECoC has both city and national reach.



Making careers of culture

Develop the sustainability of the cultural sector by rising to the challenge that the ECoC title entails.

“The sustainability of our efforts lies in the development of both artists and creatives as well as in growing the necessary critical mass of participants and demanding, engaged audiences.”

By being limited to interactions there is no guarantee that lasting works are created. Also creativity is not to be restricted to artists but what should become a creative process with a beginning and an end just as visitors arrive and depart. Once an overlap can be sustained over time, and people return for a second time, but this time not as mere passive visitors or tourists, but with active ideas, than a transformation in engagement will take place. Clearly this would mean opportunities and potentialities will have not been only displayed during the one year, but the question of future development opened up even more so. Critical is what degree of openness will be sustained as expression of a creative tension and not as source of irritation and confusion due to a lack of clear guidance as to where inward investments should and can be made e.g. film industry.

The promise for openness is entailed in the following paragraph:
“To highlight the role of the cultural sector in enriching our personal and working lives, we are encouraging our children and young people in particular to question and be curious about their culture and how they relate to Europe, the Mediterranean region and the Maltese diaspora. By fostering international cultural cooperation, collaboration and co-production, our society will be influenced by attitudes and aptitudes of professionals beyond our shores.” (p.18)

What about experiencing culture first, before questioning it?

The question what culture is built on, if not on trust, means children orientate themselves in what they believe to be true and honest. Otherwise they will be disappointed. Naturally there are parents who believe in play and in good stories which do not have to be necessarily true. What is the difference and tension between facts and fiction? Inside the German culture, fiction is not used as it is in the English language. What difference does this make, and how can cultural differences be explained on how children grow up and pick up as a result certain values, dispositions and even use a language in a way the adults do, and this without really questioning what exists behind the use of certain words.

Also there is this strange phenomenon of those who over adapt like migrants and end up misusing the language without knowing this has been questioned a long time ago e.g. in German the formulation 'ein Gespräch führen', in English to lead a discussion has for many negative connotations due to the link between 'führen' and 'Führer' i.e. Hitler.

Piaget has made many observations on how children end up developing moral concepts on their own and then they test them in and against a culture which imposes other values, even while it is obvious that those which supposed to be upheld, are often sabotaged and undermined. The problem of corruption but one of the many outstanding problems a youth has to figure out and what was a recommendation by Adorno in order to overcome the paradoxes e.g. a society orders the younger generation to love and the only way to break that order (military like – ein Befehl) is to love. So between cognitive development and moral concepts, there seems to be no conclusive evidence that recent studies have improved upon the knowledge of how thinking develops and how is shaped according to what value system.

Definitely the youth rebels against hierarchy and Capitalism while becoming radical in an often contradictory way. The demand to live their own lives can go only so far as society allows them to drop out or to be without a form of existence which does allow for a minimum integration into society.

What are the new problems and challenges of the current youth? "The discrepancy between growing up, freedom and expected roles, having children and searching for a partner under condition of equality. For this younger generation which has grown up in never before existing forms of luxury, apparent freedom from burdens, faces completely new difficulties, which we adults can hardly imagine." - Heinz J. Kuzdas

Gary Schofield gives another example of how his thinking developed very differently from the conventional path. His reflections are linked with design and fashion.

Growing internationally from the world within us

To go beyond mere reference to 'diverse make-up of society' and integrate the diverse society into the programme in an active way.

“Creative exploration of our newly-emerging social fabric bring opportunities for interaction, negotiation and collaboration and platforms for the discovery of diversity's enriching potential.” (p. 18)

It can mean 'multilingualism' best presented by “varied narratives drawing from our linguistic threads.”

Sees Maltese language as link to Maltese diaspora.

Here the question, as was the case with Galway, can be whether a concept rooted in language can be viable enough, or if it does not invite to another kind of radicalism. The linguistic situation in Malta is defined by a language spoken, written and passed on by going constantly through two different genres: the Maltese and the English while the French language dominated in the past. So the historical meanings carried by language vary and are full of connotations not easy for any outsider to understand.

Here Gabriel Rosenstock makes a proposal which can be linked to the lit-hub, insofar as Valletta becomes a source and incubator for translations.

See the article by Dan Gorman about the future lit-hub and the ethical problem of detention centres as expression of an exclusive policy. The latter contradicts any claim to be open to diversity and to visitors. As said right from the start, there are two different kinds of visitors: the wanted and the unwanted. Quite different would be the case if migrants arriving in Malta would be perceived as able to offer something and not being just a burden. Integration into society has to be perceived as the need to go through a variety of stages while mediating between different cultural values and dispositions. How much has to be given up to adapt and what can be retained e.g. the mother tongue. Comparison can be made to integration problems of Turkish people in Germany and how the rhetoric of people like Sarrazin makes integration into a political determination of the Rights of the others as having no Rights.

How can the plight and integration models be illuminated upon by differentiating the social and cultural steps in need to be undertaken? Some models can be examined in Canada.

Establishing Valletta as a creative city

The aim is to make the city the heart of the new creative economy on Malta. Question is if this feasible from both an economic and strategic point of view. Internet based communications no longer need to be in the city. Remote places can be highly attractive for researchers and those who seek a match between quality of work place and quality of life.

It is said that regeneration is needed – social, economic and cultural – and this is best done by linking up to the international cultural scene, best done by not giving local activities the ECoC label, but “by placing them under a critical spotlight.” (p. 18)

Nurturing Sustainable relationships with our environment

Reconnect to the sea and become sensitive to the way interactions with the environment are shaped by what forces? What can make these interactions become more sensitive and sustainable?

“The Mediterranean Sea as an enabler of well-being driven by its role as a force for connections rather than divisions and geographic isolation, lies at the heart of this objective.

3. Slogan

V18 - Imagine 18 - “develop this young presence into a focal point of Valletta's efforts towards delivering a successful bid and ensuing project.” (p. 19) - responses to gain in support, inspires the society and appeals to our overseas audiences

See branding and communication strategy

A successful acronym: V18

It is in effect a good combination: to imagine the year ahead but also imagine when 18 years of age.


4. geographical area involved – give reason for the choice

Both city and islands – all of Malta of 400 000 people – reap benefits from its smallness (when compared to other countries)

Here some further precision would be needed in terms of how spaces are going to be used, what restrictions they face at different times of the year and how to avoid congestion or over crowding e.g. when too many are in the streets of Mdina.

Traffic congestions have become the norm with large buses not able to turn certain corners without having to go back and forth to make it around the corner.

What happens if there is a conflict between need for cultural space and space occupied simply by traffic (even by people walking on foot)?

As in painting, the negative and positive spaces have to relate i.e. unused spaces not related to negatively but to show visitors potential for future developments as was done by Barcelona during the Olympic year.

There have been newly built up areas which put the cultural heritages in the shade of modern development.

What about using certain routes to make something more accessible but how will this impact future development?

Traffic is also using the British system of driving on the left. Also the scale of things are often out of proportion e.g. the Excelsior hotel is a huge construction but contains many negative spaces in a bad sense and is in the final end just an ugly building. It is a bad imitation of the historical buildings around it or nearby.

Synergies created have to keep a balance between urban built areas and natural landscape while future developments must be shifted.


5. what support of the local and / regional political authorities

Backing from city, community and the whole of Malta.

Local council and Gozo signed a charter (17.12.2010)

The Valletta local council is driving the bid and established the Valletta 2018 foundation.

The Local Councils Association is supporting as well the bid.

At political level, an agreement has been reached with the political parties to create a Parliamentary Committee bringing together both parties represented in parliament to ensure continuity and collaboration. The basis of support is a political consensus for V18.

Also the national government is involved through its various Ministries, especially if reference is made to the National Cultural Policy and the Ministry of Finance behind the promotion of the Cultural and Creative Industries.

How difficult was it to reach this consensus and what would risk to break it in case something would go wrong?

How does it play out between the two political parties, and other voices remaining in opposition e.g. the Greens.

How will this agreement steer the process, or at least will influence it heavily, especially when more money is involved over the years to come, and how this support will play out with regards to the artistic director / team which has to deal primarily with the artists / cultural sector. Is there at risk that one group can go to the political level in order to put pressure on the artistic direction?

If steering the creative process is a prime task for people to understand where V18 wishes to go in terms of participation, when are limits drawn or even censorships evoked, once the cultural reflections become political?

Of interest is the distinction between citizens and residents (the latter presumably a category of property owners on the island but never present the full year around).


6. how does the event fit into long term cultural development of the city?

Immediately here becomes evident the influence of the National Political Level and in particular of the Ministry of Finance:

“Coordination between our ECoC candidacy and the Draft Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries allows V18 to provide the time frame for the strategy to be implemented.” (p. 20)

Has the difference between strategy and artistic programme been realized?

How did it come to this priority or strategic approach to culture, namely to promote the cultural and creative industries especially in a context like Malta, and when it was a priority for Ruhr 2010 as well as has been favoured by the European Commission, even though this was just making economic use of culture?

For sure, studies about the impact of the CCI have been made and highlight the relative value of culture to the economy ever since the EU Commission published its first report in 2007, but as to be noted the ECoC concept itself does not alter substantially the relationship of culture to the economy and vice versa. What would have to take place if this would bring about a 'mind shift'?

Three different strands can be imagined:

but Marseilles 2013 has already shown that there is another level in between CCI and society, insofar as fashion, design and content production are interrelated and are forerunners for new tastes. This can be taken further to imply involvement in new identity building processes.

Focusing on the cultural development of children and young people

The aim is to broaden the curriculum to allow for experimentation and therefore creativity. Emphasis is also given to having 'fun'. First discussions with youth established that they feel pressurized and not free to play, experiment and to learn. The face a pressured life. So V18 wants to bring about a balance between the socio-economic paradigm expressed as a need to be competitive and this free play and learning outside formal structures. Crucial would be to what extent this informal learning remains outside formal structures and is still recognized as learning taking place. And outside means also in nature as many define the learning place to be only the school and already recognized institutions.

Also to speak of a cultural development of children and youth instead of just development has to be reflected upon.

The two leading projects to set examples:

Ziguzajg Malta Arts Festival

Example: Kristina Watt in Ottawa, Canada – children working with professional artists – children festival or the idea of Erifili how to teach opera to children in combination with the Aesop tales. From there to an artistic summer camp might be a way to realise further steps. Crucial is how this can build up over the years until 2018. Ten year olds will be by then 15.

Animated film created by academics together with children. There was one example at the St. Albert the Great College of Valletta where children drew and animated their lives in 2018. “The film was an outpouring of ideas ranging from the fantastical to those with practical possibilities. From multi-coloured route buses emblazoned with the V.18 logo to roller coasters careering down the precipitous Valletta peninsula.” The conclusion was that children creativity knows no bounds.

Expo '67 and animated films as well as films made to visualize music.

The philosophical problem addressed by Kolakowski about caricatures as fake unities.

The bus reminds of the film 'the harder they come, the harder they fall'.

But also the bus in Malta has been changed and a certain identification vehicle removed.

Also such ideas are simple for the start but how to continue and sustain this creative process without getting tired due to certain repetitions?

This touches upon the limited landscape of an island outside its main settlements, and where people retain still memories of magical moments e.g. Gertrude experiencing a poetry reading in a cave.


7. links with other ECoC city to be nominated for the same year –

Valletta has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with each of the Dutch candidate cities – in terms of evaluation they were surprised by Utrecht not making it. Den Hague was not mentioned so much even though it had a bid worthwhile to consider. The three remaining Dutch cities – Eindhoven, Maastricht and Leeuwarden – pose different options and therefore interfaces for possible cooperation. Right now it is up these three Dutch cities to show how they would collaborate with Valletta while Valletta itself could end up preferring Leeuwarden due to the urban/rural contrast and complementarity.

It is a problem to have two European Capitals of Culture. In 2013 Marseilles dominates while the other city is hardly noticed: Kosice.

The way the European Commission has been handling this duality is not a good sign of appreciating what this project could give to Europe.

The split means that cities focus much more on themselves and not on Europe, or on what culture can contribute to bring Europe together. Naturally 2018 shall differ from 2009, 2000 or 1985, since by now Europe has gone through various phases. But these have not been reflected upon, culturally speaking.

Naturally how these Memorandum of Understandings have been brought about, this says something about the level of sophistication in organisational skills and delivery of promises to be kept over such a long time.

A common point can be 'experimentation' but more so shall be the focus on Cultural and Creative Industries without really understanding and criticizing this instrumentalization of culture.

Interestingly enough one hears very little about collaborations between the two ECoC cities ever since this was institutionalized. Most of the time one of the two cities remained in the shadow of the other. And hardly anyone would take notice of these two specific cities working together.

But if the two can be perceived as parents for future cultural children, then one example might provide San Sebastian and Wroclaw who did collaborate through Kids' Guernica and through a good understanding between the two key figures leading the bid proposals. A connection was made due to Guernica 1937 and Picasso's response to it. Yet the two cities differ very much in their approach to culture as this reflects in turn their specific situation and what challenges they face.

For further information about how Valletta has proceeded to collaborate with the Dutch cities, see pages 22-23

Overall relationships between Malta and Holland

Still, the cultural philosophy in Malta is very different from Holland. The latter is much more a kind of mixed bag of various inputs, often confused, as not clear what modernity means. Mixed into that are strong moral and religious values more related to the Protestant ethics than to what is Catholic sensuality, even though Simone Vissot writes that in Eindhoven there is a Catholic enclave which could be the basis for closer collaboration with the Catholic population in Malta.

The relationship to Holland from a Malta perspective should also be looked at from Malta's integration into a European Union which is dominated by forces like Holland especially with regards to what budgetary positions are taken with regards to culture. There is a strong voice in Holland opposing any kind of strengthening the cultural programme. This should be discussed even between the two ECoC cities in order to question future EU culture principles. If the EU 2020 vision does not include culture, then what can be the position of EcoCs when that funding period is drawing to an end and the experiences have been made as to how far neglect of culture has caused severe set backs in many fields, literacy but one e.g. Portugal nearly 63% are without completion of their high school education, and the same problem exists in Poland. What needs to be undertaken to counter artificial European representation e.g. the House of the European Parliament in Valletta and substantiate European relations? How can this be brought about through cultural actions able to articulate a vision for the future of Europe?

Priority for collaborations with ECoC cities

Platform for collaboration – what about the idea of a common archive – not to mention the need to create a network between former, current and future ECoC cities – to ensure consistency and a continuity of learning from one another.

Links to Aarhus and Paphos exist. Also of interest is how certain things can continue e.g. Mons 2015 and Dutch city continuing the Van Gogh exhibition.

A key term is the ECoC legacy but there is, in turn, when thinking for instance about Sibiu and other cities the question to what extent have these cities contributed to a culture of sustainability or merely reinforced a kind of cultural consumerism linked to travel and tourism?

There is also the matter of how to deal with European caravans, and the network of so-called EU cultural experts.

There is also the interpretation of ECoC cities going regional while at the same time cultural policy becomes urban renewal policy. How else could these trends be identified and narrated? What are the highlights e.g. Eric Antonis: culture is most difficult to evaluate – Bob Palmer: the handwriting of the same experts can be seen in what programmes are being implemented.

The European dimension – a kind of silence and more a trend towards the global or international component even though lip service is given to the European dimension e.g. Ruhr 2010 or the concept of Aarhus 2017.


MoU outlines shared interests and themes which can become departure points for developing further going cultural exchange programmes.

Example: Solar Cinema (July 2012) with NGO in Malta, Kinesmastik key partner in this collaboration project with Eindhoven.

From what Eindhoven is trying to do two outstanding things can be mentioned:

Crucial seems to be that Eindhoven stands for a network of five cities, and therefore any collaboration would have to be adjusted to that fact.


Seek within collaboration ways to promote the European dimension / added value to programmes undertaken. This reflects the specific nature of the approach taken by Maastricht.

Include “cultural dimension of togetherness” as unifying theme between Valletta and Maastricht – history of cities having something in common since shaped and enriched by 'myriad cultures'.

Revisiting Europe and the Maastricht Treaty being significant for culture – that special article.

Fashioning a connection – Runway Malta: towards a new collection / collaboration of fashion, art, design and launchpad for new local designers / FASHIONCLASH


explore untapped potential rather bolster regular or regular forms of collaboration due to complementarity: Leeuwarden is rural, Valletta urban


How to counter degradation of maritime environments – Malta and Friesland “the biodiversity of the maritime littorals is quite poor”

Leeuwarden has a World Heritage designation but which is under threat with flora and fauna disappearing, so potential for marine biologists and landscape architects collaborating

In Leeuwarden is the famous Waddenacademie for research / seek corresponding NGOs in Malta


8. Fulfilment of certain criteria

As regards to European dimension, how will Valletta contribute to following objectives:

Migration at centre of Europe. Seeks to create an open society through a cultural program which shows through discussions what actions on the ground can ensure tolerance, integration, creativity (out of diversity). It allows for anticipation to let migrants express through cultural activities how they envision their integration under the new-old conditions.

It would mean taking up again the link between social cohesion and tolerance as well as how best to handle diversity.

Malta has a strategic position within Europe, but what is a European orientated integration process in light of detention centres? See here the question of Dan, but also what Michael D. Higgins says about the migrant being the key figure of the 21st century.

Does this mean to lead up to another kind of identity discussion?

“Malta is a place of diverse cross-cultural exchanges, whether for trade, tourism or even as a refuge. However not all of these encounters are necessarily comfortable ones.”

“The V.18 programme is a catalyst for developing a positive, open and pluralistic society, one that truly provides freedom for all, and appreciates and enjoys enricing diverse cultural experiences, one that explores issues of immigration through different art forms to create awareness of ow these sensitive situations are perceived from their different sides. By looking at issues of identity without our programme, we can become empathic seat of discussion on issues of tolerance, integration and diversity within the Mediterranean region and Europe. We are aiming at more than words in addressing our ideals. V.18 is inspiring action on the ground. Our intercultural Valletta project is being spurred on by our ECoC goal.” (p.24)

If there is a risk, then over sensitivity and therefore an over lapping of different issues which like shields in the earth moving till an earthquake is created. The matter of integration in relation to migration is not simple. Europe has been looked upon a model both in an economic sense and in being more than a mere nation state. This extra space would promise potentiality to explore other identities over and beyond nation states and their tendencies to reduce identity to a loyalty question to one particular state in control of a certain elite. This extra cultural space has hardly been made accessible never mind explored and upheld throughout Europe. The short comings of ECoC can be stated in terms of not having opened up that space. Rather they have become showcases of own cultures with a typical pattern of local, regional and international cultural shows and expressions. As if no cultural potential actively exists, very often there is talk about regeneration especially if the programme is urban based. It has never occurred that cities are anyhow pluralistic in terms of identities never matched by one nation state related identity e.g. the French, German or Danish identity. Already Belgium shows here a difference as does Ireland with the question of 'violence' looming always behind these unsuccessful models of accommodation and adaptation.

As for Valletta, it is not clear what actions on the ground mean when experiences in need to be made ought to be both of cultural and European nature. What constraints are implied and how will they be communicated if some projects are to be realised? Will there be a focus on the detention centres and a discussion made possible not only about Schengen and immigration policy throughout Europe.


There are certain things which could be picked up when related to cultural space. It can be viewed as a way to explore new identities rather than merely reaffirming existing and standard identity models. (Reference to experiences while in West Berlin prior to the election of Richard von Weizsäcker in 1981 / post war trauma and identity in 'no man's land'). Also of interest would be to retrace the debate during the conference 'literature and translation strategies' which was held in Valletta 4 – 7 April 2013, since then the identity debate came up in connection with the Lit-Hub being only for the Mediterranean or Euro-Med region? The difference in jurisdiction would mean in one case other NGOs like Literature Across Frontiers would be excluded since its main office is located in Wales. But there are other strands of thoughts which end up in an endless identity question or even dispute. Always it does come back to the key observation by Adorno about identity being as much about non-identity as about a different way to attain a self understanding not through ideology or state fixed logics e.g. Hegel, but by means of a differentiated literature.

Meeting through Migration

Since a lot has been written especially how diverse migrant populations fit into the landscape of small island communities, focus shall be on school integration and need for new curriculum, especially if in Northern Malta schools have up to 35 nationalities in their classes.

“The title of ECoC provides us with an opportunity to support measures arising from such nation-wide projects and to address issues relating to inward migration through actions within our Cultural Programme. Our aim is to create a platform for European and third countries to come together to describe, explain and decipher the complex human issues and conditions that different identities and cultures bring about when they reside side by side.” (p. 25)


See Michael D. Higgins, the migrant as key figure of the 21st century but also discussions with Canadians about identities in countries with a large immigration population – after the Boston Marathon bombing incidence in April 2013.

Naturally due to the conflict in Syria a country like Jordan has to cope with millions of refugees while there are still all the migrants related to the impacts of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The displacement of people on such a large scale is something which creates not only turbulences but poses the question how different is the integration of not individuals but of entire communities which can sub exist within the hosting country like the Turks in Germany and second generations ending up speaking only Turkish but never any German. Also it would be important to examine the soft concessions being made to allow for pseudo autonomy despite integration pressures, and this under the cover of religion since it can be proven this leads to tax free funds being collected by moschees with the money being sent back to Turkey, but giving these institutions a powerful say over how loyalty within this migrant communities is to be upheld. There are socialisation mechanisms with sad consequences e.g. the Turkish writer who was shot in Berlin and then her father being arrested because she had quoted him in her book that he would kill her if he caught her with a Western boy. What is freedom of speech and what has consequences when hate preachers prompt a radicalisation? Examples can be taken from Canada, but also from the youth project since so many of today's youth have a mixed cultural background, grow up in one country, study in another and still seek a practical form of existence in yet another country. This then leads to the question of a jewellery designer asking himself if the youth of today does not seek a trans national identity or at least an identity beyond the narrow confines of a national border? It seems, however, also possible that there are tendencies to over identification with just one identity pattern in order to simplify things even if social isolation continues and therefore the risk greater to become a radical loser. The latter is the one who fails to integrate him- or herself into society insofar as it seems not to have any say in how social relationships can be shaped on account of own initiatives. For the migrant takes the other side as something given and not to be influenced by personal actions or contributions. Also museums play a role in what is being collected in terms of what has been identified as a valuable contribution to keeping a community alive and functioning. That means to have success and be recognized as such it can mean to be made an exception to the rule and therefore fortify against one's own will the negative pattern of conformity to passivity.

During the Irish Presidency (2013) the debate about migration is coming to the fore since four EU states are worried that the EU measure for 'freedom of mobility' can lead to unfair equalities e.g. migrants getting similar benefits as citizens who have been contributing to the welfare state for their life time. There are people who take advantages of the system e.g. Greeks going to Berlin and securing unemployment benefits.

A feast of festivals

To upgrade ongoing events, that was done already in Antwerp by providing the logo to organizations which would anyhow do something on a yearly basis.

It is another matter if this cultural concept linked to 'festivals' becomes 'a festival of festivals'. Naturally it is an extension thereof, and interestingly enough in Valletta they want to enhance the quality in two directions: more European exposure and deepening of the concept itself by having residency, workshops, co-productions etc. It is intended to raise the level and improve the quality of performances.

Malta Arts Festival – member of the European Festival Association and created in 2012 the integrated theatre week (a series of workshops, work demonstrations and seminars that complemented performances.)

Malta Jazz Festival

the new International Baroque Festival

the Gozo Opera Festival

Taking Edinburgh festival, a highly successful annual event, they asked Bob Palmer to make an assessment since they have felt the increasing competition from many other festivals as this idea has exploded all over Europe. How to remain adaptive while still upholding the regularity of an annual event? What are the resources of Malta to sustain this.

Moreover, the criticism of ECoC cities has been its reduction to festivals when in fact the original concept was never that: just a festival of festivals.

If culture becomes distorted, then because the accumulative process of festivals leaves the outcome more than merely vague. It comes much closer to what real purpose it serves when the aim is to fill hotel beds (Günter Grass), insofar festivals create tourism traffic with specific needs.

Festivals have their own specific audiences and require quite another venue if to be a special experience during the year when the city is European Capital of Culture.

The question is what should be the aim if collaboration is to be furthered, and therefore something set into motion e.g. poetry festivals and their own audiences.

Meeting of minds across the Mediterranean

Averroes meetings – thoughts from both sides of the Mediterranean – run by EspaceCulture – linked to Marseilles 2013: 20th edition will be a part of the official programme

Two collaborators from Malta shall join collaborators from




to discuss: The city in danger? Dictatorship, transparency and democracy.

They plan to organise as well a meeting around the theme “Philosophers from the Mediterranean Sea in the 21st century.”


The hyper local Europeans

ECoC concept seeks to extend the twinning project going on right now between Malta's municipalities and their counterparts mainly in Italy to other European partners. Again an assessment as to whether twinning projects facilitate European collaboration needs to be undertaken. It does entail visits by citizens from both cities, but often these collaborations depend upon favourable times and are not really institutionalized in the long run. This is itself a deficiency in European funded projects always designed to become sustainable on their own but falter the moment the EU funds no longer come. There is a lack of recognition and quality in partnership even though many municipalities do have competent people at work.


Ever once in a while a ECoC city comes up with a new formulation. It follows a certain twist in the logical need to make a clear presentation. As this reflects how well Europe is known to that particular city, or else has so far failed to participate in European cultural developments, these two very different intertwines can become explicit in how continuity and change are made compatible.

There would be a good introduction by Bart Verschaffel about Europe being a fiction but a necessary one. To a newcomer to the European Union, Malta will have to deal as well with the fact that Europe is increasingly also in crisis and a heavy burden if its institutional set-up cannot bring about social and economic cohesion, but instead uses merely outside aspects to appear unified when internally it is ever more so a conglomerate of member states returning to their national narratives.

To what extent this would give the local level a chance to express their opinions with regards to cultural policy of the EU, remains to be seen.


9. Explain how the event could meet the criteria listed below. Please substantiate your answer for each of the criteria:


Here is mentioned that Malta is already a major tourist destination. At the same time, the amount of audience built-up possibilities is limited. Hence the idea is to take Malta or more specifically the V.18 programme abroad. Consequently this can be assumed to be quite a different strategy than bringing Europe to Malta, in order to get to know the local place. Showcasing abroad requires quite a different strategy and therefore allocation of funds.

There is reference made to the embassies of Malta abroad.

How then to develop markets overseas? Is it comparable with artistic exchanges, collaborative projects and using more than ever the social web to further virtual networking.

This would require quite a special set-up e.g. Cafe 9


Visible to our visitors

One aim seems to be to break 'stereotypical views' visitors hold of Malta, yet the kind of tourists being attracted to a place like Malta and who end up staying in luxurious hotels can manifest quite another kind of estrangement not only from the immediate surroundings, but also from the rest of the world.

Practical conclusion: V.18 can and should diversify the 'experiences' made of visitors while opening up “more channels within our cultural heritage and arts scene to attract audiences who are not finding an offer that speaks to them.” (p.27)

Is that a practical profile of the average tourist coming to Malta?

What speaks to people and how can cultural expressions be re-structured without violating artistic freedom of expression? If culture is reduced to servicing the cultural industry, then that what might want to be avoided is simply reproduced, namely stereotypical representations of Malta and its culture. Also the European dimension would be lost, for it would be important for the visitor to experience how people of Malta relate to Europe and its diverse cultures?

There is one way to design an artistic program and that is to listen to all those voices who have been silenced by the rules of a cultural market.



The culture of hospitality and of giving to visitors unique experiences, yet there are many kinds of hurdles to be overcome and what is ingrained in this new type of leisure and tourist industry:

Orwell – the dishonesty of the waiter

Martin Jay – Frankfurt School: Hotel am Abgrund

James Clifford – Predicament of Culture

The alienation of tourism through the tourist industry, hotels included, continues but it happens not only there; bus drivers and guides for guided tours can pass on certain information and knowledge which attains only a certain level and reflects the cynicism the insider has towards the outsider.

There are also matters such as directed distortions or how mouth to mouth propaganda spreads, till a destination is either in or out.

Who of those coming for a visit are really eager to take up some deeper information when what is provided in terms of literature is again a story telling linked too often to national and local patriotic narratives.

There is a low level of literacy especially amongst those who would not like to read the local newspaper or even consult the news despite having everywhere available wifi and Internet access. Also in the hotel rooms all TV channels make available mainly the international newscasters (CNN, BBC, etc.) with a typical brand of news.

It all adds up to a kind of suspended locality rather than having really arrived at a local place.

In discussions with Alexis, tourist consultant, the special category of tourists are the ones who wish no longer wish to stay in a hotel, but rent a house with locals dropping in to bring local bread or cheese and wine. The key emphasis is about accessibility to informal discussions which are nevertheless genuine since it resonates with those who do not see only the tourist as a stranger who is willing to pay for certain services, but who does come from another world and which they would like to get to know.

Now tourists would hardly venture into the middle class district where Maltese people live.


Time zones

What happens when different times zones co-exist with both sides, the local people and the visitors, meeting during the high season when it is hot and the weather a good excuse not to think of much else but to relax, to swim, to eat, to talk and to sleep. That seems to produce an entire segment of passivity which can reproduce lethargic attitudes. The latter are hardly conducive for being receptive to artistic and cultural events which supposed to fulfil the European dimension. The clocks in Europe go different all the time from the Big Ben to the Mariannenplatz in Munich with the Schäflerntanz to mark how in that city the pest was overcome. Anything which is a semi sensation will attract the tourists who come to see what is already known to be famous. But when they go to Syntagma Square in Athens to see the changing of the guard, little do many realise that they are actually looking at the best symbolic representation of power. For those guards stand there for hours and do not move. They have been put there by command. That they do not break that command is itself a fascination and serves to educate as well the tourist in what is an aesthetical glance of the city, but with no further political insights as to what is happening in reality. The fake appearance drives everything towards masking the failures and just demonstrating not only a smiling face, but the success story.

Here the bid seems to go wrong. When wishing to go abroad, why speak of visitors coming to Malta? Also the term 'marketing' is used as if this is dipping into cultural communication (dialogues/exchange of ideas), so as to bring about a new understanding.

The term 'platform' is used as if a copy of the three Platforms the EU Commission has created to structure dialogue with civil society, but this means to instrumentalize culture for specific policy purposes.

Practically it would be interesting to see what literature shall be translated to promote Malta abroad and this as a kind of compass as to what it takes for a small island to join the EU. Learning from transition!


Interest is more than attendance

Rather than conceive the V.18 programme as a public relations drive, individual projects shall be supported to learn from European neighbours and citizens. How will this learning be brought about when seeking co-production?

It says: “we are heightening curiosity about the mystery that lies within the V.18 cultural journey, and also drawing on common links, causes, issues and solutions without our themes that we share across borders.”

Collaborative plans with other EcoCs as a start – provide a digital home via social web and V.18 website for the whole ECoC process

(Archive in Athens and beyond how to link this with the need to restart the network between former, current and future ECoC cities.)

The Brugge conference: ten years after gave what insights into this story?

The framework conditions have changed with ever more universities being involved.


Embracing Embassies

The embassies in Malta are “highly visible” insofar as they have their own cultural programmes or else they sponsor local initiatives having a bearing on their home territory or policy orientation.

Will give them a voice within the V.18 process.

These are national selective models of culture and not what EUNIC is attempting to do, namely unify the various cultural institutes in one policy instrument for the European Union.

What would be crucial as a start is to validate the common memory base of Europe, and connected with that the evolving role culture can and does play in the EU context.

For inhabitants speaking already two languages, it is easier to imagine the link of EU citizen to three languages with the third one being most difficult since a personal adopted one. Of interest would be to ascertain a cultural and linguistic map of residents and citizens of Malta in correspondence with the linguistic diversity brought to Malta by the visitors.


Cultural diplomacy

The embassies of Malta will have available a special Cultural Diplomacy Fund to promote Maltese arts and artists internationally.

It will allow to connect with the Maltese diaspora and with a new international audience.

The Fund allows events to take place in a variety of venues.

Requires coordination between V.18 programme and what embassies abroad can do in support thereof.

But shall be artists who live in Malta but are not Maltese citizens be promoted? Or will this but reinforce just another national approach to culture rather than allow for a European space. This readiness to do something for 'my country' as if culture can be reduced to some kind of property, even if not private but of a national kind.

Also what European member states need to be brought together in a dialogue so as to bridge differences and thereby further cultural cooperation e.g Germans and Greeks.

How to get away from national stereotypical images and the readiness to identify the other only in national categories?

Apparently there is nothing with such a concept except that it leaves out all those who are engaged for Europe but cannot be related to one particular member state. As this entails also the different identities the youth is searching for, it would be decisive that the V.18 programme would allow for a non Maltese identity to have a voice in the programme.


Connecting with the Maltese Diaspora

The Maltese community world wide taps into the meaning of migrant communities and what difficulties they encounter. Often this means a split between economic welfare and personal-psychological difficulties i.e. adjustment problems, lack of orientation, not knowing where to belong to and above all a sense of no longer being integrated in Malta. Some invisible barriers have been constructed between those who stayed and those who left. This can lead to a rift between parents and child, between different generations, and shall be expressed in how differently Malta is viewed when living abroad.

What are the cultural tools to extend links: fostering of language, communication as to what takes place in Malta, and this on the model of various factors: NGOs of civil society, artistic and cultural connections, trade unions, political parties and foundations while it would be important to know how to sustain cultural relations over a longer period of time. They need impulses to renew themselves. The same goes for university connections and practical economic ties.

A crucial decision making process would be how to contribute to European history, museum of Europe and whenever Malta is being mentioned e.g. in connection with the crusades. Since this national narrative can lead to stereotypical images used by the tourist industries, it must be shown how the artistic programme achieves a counter balancing act insofar as contemporary matters begin to shape the image of Malta.

There is the particular standpoint of Elizabeth Grech: she feels excluded even though her parents live in Malta.


The role of the social web

The use of multiple platforms – Internet, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube along with the website

The aim is to include news and events of other EcoCs.

“Social media has already proven valuable in promoting our public workshops and in giving us informal feedbacks as well as in gathering project proposals and fielding enquiries.” (p.28)

A lot depends on getting feed-back but also how this is handled and taken further.

“We gain insights into the level of interest in our programme and are able to fine-tune V.18 on ghe road to 2018 from the continuous feedback we receive on our various social media platforms.”

Website has a section: 'how to get involved'

Targeted groups: Maltese diaspora, educators, NGOs and young people

Link journey on website with the overall communication strategy.



Participation in Practice

“We value accessibility, both physical and social. We want to attract and involve different categories of people: those with different needs, such as the young or aged, people with different social orientations, various ethnicities, people of different income levels and financial stability, social standing and education, the prison community.”

Wish to link accessibility to personal and social cultural development.

This is a strong point, the orientation towards children and youth, but to engage them in commercial orientated activities i.e. marketing strategies would not allow them to learn how to use culture to discover other worlds based not on commercial successful models but truer reflections of what links to the development of humanity. For example, Kids' Guernica murals show how analysis of violence goes hand in hand with images of a peaceful world and what is required to get there. This includes the importance of trust, friendship, social learning (DAVID project) and gaining freedom from all kinds of pressure.


Participation through crowd-funding

Together with ARTidea in Barcelona aims to create crowd funding platforms in order to give citizens a vote in which projects are selected for funding.

There is an established tradition of volunteer work and this connection to citizens V.18 wishes to enhance further.

The aim is to gain support for the ECoC programme across the board and to gain access to a new type of funding avenue.

A broader question behind this is who can claim ownership of the entire outcome of the programme? There are still some disconnects which have to be identified before knowing what will work. The presumption about intentions is always a kind of idealistic description of what lies ahead yet the impulse has to be given as well, if things are to go in a definite direction.

Definitely it adds to the measure of participation by taking the citizens from a mere passive to a much more active role.


10. How does the city plan to get involved in or create synergies with the cultural activities supported by the European Union?


11. Are some parts of the programme designed for particular target groups – specify the relevant parts of the programme planned for the event.


13. In what way is the proposed project innovative?

negative obstacles: traditional reticence, scepticism and a stifling degree of caution / keeping things at a distance – not to be taken in quickly by something new

positive experience when making the bid: sharing of ideas and readiness to collaborate



This reminds of Maribor's aim to alter the local cultural conditions so that another atmosphere would prevail, that is one in which things are not meant to fail automatically due to a huge form of reluctance and laziness. Naturally to what extent this attitude prevails over generations and therefore cannot be altered without changing first the generational logic, that is a crucial question in need to be answered. And it cannot be altered by having one cultural event after another, for that would not allow the working against certain resistances in the local population.



14. what are the medium and long term effects from a social, cultural and urban viewpoint?


Section IV: monitoring and evaluation

Measuring and evaluation

For instance, last year Fitzcarraldo wrote for UNESCO Institute for Statistics the handbook Measuring Cultural Participation, which has been recently published and that we would like to share with you.
You can browse it here  or download it here.

The handbook provides a state-of-the-art reference guide for the measurement of cultural participation and consumption, with particular attention to its feasibility in developing countries. It includes and comments on examples from national and international case studies.

The handbook proposes a checklist of concerns and critical topics and sample questions, intended as a tool to support the design of surveys which capture – and mirror – the complexity of cultural participation.

If you find it interesting, please, consider also to share this publication with you collegues and partners and to join our newsletter at the following link.
Laura Cherchi
Corporate communication and development
Fondazione Fitzcarraldo
Via Aosta 8
I 10152 Torino   Italy
T. 0039 011.5099317


Main points

To the question, if there will be a special monitoring and evaluation system for the impact for of the programme and its knock-on effects, and for financial management, the answer is the following:

Evaluation in V.18 is linked to a comprehensive research programme run by mainly university people. It is thought this will enable V.18 to assess its success. Now how this success is going to be defined, if it really includes also the freedom to fail, that remains an open question still in need to be answered further. A great deal of thoughtfulness went into the bid but whether or not the idea to refine the programme based on a communication strategy relying on feed-back shall work, that remains to be seen. It depends on not only the organisational structure but also whether the concepts used to initiate the programme hold up to a test of reality.

The time line for V.18 is 2020 but there are plans to evaluate for a longer term.

Legacy is a huge term and this is often expressed in having created a cultural infrastructure and new venues which continue to be used. Also there is the promise that the government will spend 1% of the annual budget on culture. Naturally that remains to be seen once the real need due to having the title of ECoC city can be translated into a deeper understanding of the need for a wise cultural policy not to be reduced to servicing solely to the Creative and Cultural Industry, but goes further in allowing cultural cooperation and artistic development. It is a matter of not show casing only but to make true cultural investments which sustain these activities rather than being a mere series of festivals.

The role of the University of Malta as major stakeholder is underlined by the fact that an active governing member of the foundation shall sit on the board of the V18 foundation.

Also involved are:


V. 18 will own all data.

Cultural mapping – there shall be coming up a conference on this topic in Oct. 2015, but given the guidelines for potential research, it is not very clear what is meant by proposing this methodology (and not, for example, cultural planning which departs from the set-up of a cultural calendar.)

They want to avoid repetition but at the start already this method has been put into doubt.

Intended to provide a structured and coordinated approach to enhance research on the CCIs, there is resistance against this business and management orientation as it does not convince to be truly an integral part of cultural approaches. Despite this V.18 is putting its reputation on the line by aiming to make this research approach a part of its lasting legacy.

National Cultural Policy shall determines research being conducted, but has there been any research on the cultural policy so far and how can this be linked to the EU cultural policy and also to the directions as stipulated by the Structural Fund / EU 2020 vision?

The objectives seem to be too weak for defining what V18 shall consider to be a success. For instance, if culture is to provide within a local/global context orientation for future development, what will the ECoC related concept have contributed in terms of improved guidance not only for distinct groups (university people, visitors with special interests and not merely tourists, generally speaking). Orientation towards the future means everyone stands to gain and shall find  a way to contribute towards the cultural development of both Valletta and Malta. This can be achieved through special training and gain in cultural competence, and begins with simple story telling and may not end with what Alexandra Debono considers to be an integral part of the MUZA flagship project as being the outcome of 'community curating'. Whether or not this allows people to unfold and become truly creative, that is another matter.

Any evaluation thereof has to  research into how the cultural concept facilitas becoming creative due to having set specific constraints, in order to avoid waste of time and falling victim to a system working under quite different premises e.g. consumerism and therefore able to destroy any meaningful cultural impulse. For this reason, it is to believe that even subjective experience as a term for purpose of evaluation will not do as the system will seek to neutralize any cultural meaning in favour of the freedom of the individual to feel and to think what he or she likes in terms of events and/or forms of entertainment. In other words, the argumentative base of what individuals go through may not be a measure of success at all, but rather expose only nebulous forms of obscuratism.

It seems as if the methodology to be applies is only a simple approach with not many innovative methods envisioned so as to facilitate a learning out of distinctly cultural experiences made possible by being European Capital of Culture.


Section VII: additional information

1. what are the strong points of the city's application and the parameters of its success? What are the weak points?

Comment: the citizen orientation may be misleading since there a specific hubs where international contacts can be made e.g. hospitals and its international staff – creation of Flying University: how to get to know the countries they come from

“The attitude adopted and promoted by V.18 is one which is positive and non-confrontational in a way which encourages participation, the smart and innovative use of existing resources and the developmnt of succesful and fund ways of working together.” (p. 126)

2. Does the city intend to develop particular projects in the coming years, irrespective of the outcome of its application?

3. Extra comments

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