The Arts Council Malta has just made a historic move, combining the roles of ‘head of funding’ and ‘director of strategy’ into the single role of the ‘Director of Funding and Strategy’.
If you’re involved in arts and culture in Malta in anyway, you need to be keeping up to date with Arts Council Malta (ACM). It’s the national agency for development and investment in the cultural and creative sectors on the islands. The people who work there basically responsible for how funds are disseminated to artists and several Public Cultural Organisations (PCOs), and what direction the artistic scene in Malta follows.
Mary Ann Cauchi will be taking on the role of Director of Funding and Strategy
The two fields, funding and strategy, have always worked closely together, as criteria for funding often follows the council’s strategy. The council currently manages 12 funding schemes and programmes, which will now fall under her remit. She will also be handling the council’s strategic aims, which includes work in several sectors such as education, internationalisation, diversity and community, business development, and research.
In an interview with The Times of Malta, Mary Ann said that her primary goal will be “continuing the implementation of Strategy2020”, as well as focusing on simplifying and digitising the process when applying for funds. Strategy2020 is a five-year strategy, initially implemented in 2015, with the aim of supporting cultural development and investing in the island’s artistic legacy.
The fulcrum of Strategy2020 was set to be the year 2018 as Malta hosted the European Capital of Culture, and should all be finalised by the end of next year. Mary Ann will be looking into setting up a new strategy following the year 2020. “A new strategy will need to be drawn up and actioned after 2020,” she said. “At the moment, I am researching and looking into different types of funding and strategy systems internationally.”
In the funding arm of her role, Mary Ann will be looking at making funds more accessible to the general public and local artists. This will be done by making the process of application easier, as well as by providing training to local artists.
“We would like our funds to be accessible to a wider pool of beneficiaries, to be more inclusive. That is why I would like to provide training to help artists acquire the necessary skills and competences in terms of pitching, budgeting and marketing.”
This is quite a hefty role. Is Mary Ann Cauchi the right person for this?
Obviously, only time will tell.
Local artists and creatives often have often criticised ACM for their “selective” method of awarding funds, but it seems that Mary Ann aims to make the process a lot more transparent so there’s hope for that.
Cauchi also has quite a loaded CV.
She’s worked at ACM in the past and has been involved in various arts management jobs over the years. She was on the team that started Notte Bianca back in 2006, and also founded the Malta Children’s Arts Festival in 2009, that preceded the now popular Żigużajg Festival.
Most recently, she was Head of the Malta School of Music, where she designed internal and external school policies and updated the teaching and learning processes, and directed her company Artsphere International for ten years.