Tricky Business

Romeo Roxman Gatt, Seb tanti Burlo, Slavko Vukanovic, Emma Mattei, Charlie Cauchi

Funding the creative sector is a tricky business, one of the necessary evils of the process it seems, is how to avoid giving handouts and getting a good return on investment. Striking the right balance between the funding body’s agenda and the fundee’s priorities seems vital. This and more in this session of He(a)rding CATS!

301 – Why Are There Nails In Your Budget?

Creators regularly face the tricky business of justifying items on a budget. This process usually exposes a severe disconnect between the funding body and the creator. Creators and funding bodies process their respective due diligence according to different priorities – this needs to be recognised and addressed. How can an avenue for meaningful communication be built between the two?

302 – What cultural platform?

Having an effective audience outreach is especially hard locally due to how small the audience actually is. This exposes a fundamental lack of interest from the general public. Building a sense of cooperation between funding bodies and creators seems to be a goal that would benefit both parties. Why is this not the case, what are the obstacles that prevent more active collaborations? Is this lack of cooperation a symptom of a lack of passion or are the entities themself handicapped by a lack of resources to implement this kind of dialogue? How can creators in turn help the funding entities? Should they?

303 – Too Small For Criticism

The local creative community (creators AND engaged audience) is small, so between competing for funding and limited audience engagement, the lack of healthy critique seems inevitable. It seems to be a matter of course, that any project that makes it to the “finish line” is a matter of celebration. But how can practitioners refine their process without a healthy and proactive critique to temper their sensibilities? How can a process that is instrumental to the sector be allowed to take seed and emerge organically?

304 – We Don’t Speak This Language!

Simply put the sector requires a recalibration of responsibilities required from creators. Creators are expected to fill too many roles at once, roles that are far beyond the remit of the work proposed. Along with this goes the kind of language used in applications that are aimed at creatives – in the age of inclusivity, we cannot forget that not all creatives are entrepreneurs. The language in applications must reflect the different needs of atypical thinkers. Similarly, managerial roles deserve proper recognition, creators end up filling too many roles because of budget and this leaves them spread too thin. Alleviating this might be a question of separate role-related allowances or is it more a case of having more services made available to creators?

305 – Formulas For Speculation

Considering the varied nature of projects is vital to understand where the shortcomings of the current model lay. The impression is that the broad strokes are working but this does not mean that the process is not without its shortcomings. Even though different funds exist to cater for different kinds of projects we still notice that there is a one-size-fits-all attitude. Is this a question of funding bodies being too disconnected from their market? How aware are the funding bodies of the operational realities creators practice in? More importantly what incentives can be put in place to entice more economic possibilities for creators?

306 – Where Is The Table?

The fragmentation within the creative community is not surprisingly represented within how cultural institutions operate between themselves. Even entities that could benefit from working with each other seem to prefer working solo. Could seeing different entities cooperating spark a degree of cooperation between independent creators? Furthermore, could the process of collaboration at the macro level shed light on the kind of problems the smaller creators face when trying to pursue collaborative endeavours?

307 – Why Did You Use So Much Blue?

It is not hard to see why funding the cultural sector requires a deep understanding of the same. In a sector that is deeply reactive to instabilities, both societal and technological, it is vital for the people in charge of managing funds to understand the mindset of their intended participants. This is of even greater importance where most creators rely so heavily on these mechanisms to practice sustainably. How can creators illustrate the right questions to be asked by our public funding bodies?

308 – A Cultural Constitution!

Building the right sort of environment for the cultural sector to flourish requires an alignment of many factors all of which harken back to one thing – education during formative years. The lack of this just breeds the next generation of uninterested audiences. A long term cultural policy – one that transcends governmental legislation could ensure that a cohesive core strategy persists for long enough to bear fruit. It is vital to understand that the quality of cultural education/ awareness the public has, (and by proxy how much they value it) directly affects the success of any cultural endeavour.

309 – 15 Paintings and 3 Cathedrals

Heritage is difficult to quantify by any measure, the work of the present slowly integrates and becomes the cultural tapestry for future generations. Locally we seem to find it difficult to find a pervasive throughline, a cohesive central narrative so to speak. Maybe this is a common problem in this ‘post post modern’ era. How can we nourish the sector and start sustainable growth that proliferates and imparts a sense of continuity for the larger community (both creators as well as the audience)?

310 – Censorship In Service To…

Finding the right balance between provocation and palatability is a game both creators and funding entities play. From the creator’s point of view, one plays with self-censoring whilst for the entity, this manifests as risk-management. Both are of utility as a degree of push-back strengthens the idea being put forward. However, it is important to understand that the most valuable questions are ones that are unanswered. Asking these questions is the role of creators and funding bodies(especially public ones)  need to become more understanding of the procedural nature of this work. These bodies need to factor in that most creators are interested in the exploration to require a destination at the application stage defeats the point of the process.

311 – The Semblance Of Unity

The distinction between art and entertainment is one that seems to be convoluted locally. That established performers get funded because of their popular appeal has become a commonality. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it does shed light on the unrealistic expectation of performance required of contemporary creators by who sponsors or funds them. Particular artistic explorations may not have such popular appeal whilst still being of great value. One might argue that treading new ground is necessarily unpopular simply because of the implicit novelty.  Is it viable to insist that cultural institutions help nurse such projects, projects that because of their lack of popular appeal find little or no help?