One of Arts Council Malta’s (ACM) main pillar for the past five years has been that of nurturing creative activity and support its growth and development into a professional activity. This reflects ACM’s ambition of creating a climate which not only supports individuals to excel as artists but also promotes their growth and self-resilience as creative entrepreneurs.
At its most basic level, creative entrepreneurship involves individuals using their creativity and art to earn a living. It is about identifying who you are as a creative and what value can you offer to others, it is about giving artistic and monetary value to your work and finding ways in which you can make a profit. Creative entrepreneurship can take many forms and shapes, from establishing a company to working as a freelance self-employed artist. In fact, self-employment has been identified as the most popular employment registration with the local cultural and creative industries. Whereas the sector is growing rapidly and Malta also registers the third highest cultural employment in the European Union, and one of the highest youth employment rates in these industries when compared to other EU nations the industry does not come without its challenges. Many artists and creatives making a living locally are faced with a dynamic environment and generally work in an uncertain project-based, gig economy.
The National Cultural policy has also indicated a crucial lacuna, whereas our employment rates within the industry are high, tertiary education within the field is limited. In fact, we acknowledge that one crucial skill of being a creative entrepreneur is adaptability and the readiness to learn and master new and often transversal skills. Whereas the value of art and creativity should not be compromised, an entrepreneur should also run a business, create a brand, market their service or product and manage collaborations, partnerships, and networks.
Whereas starting a career in the creative and cultural industries can be daunting it is not impossible, some may choose to take a huge leap and launch a brand whereas other may choose the freelance project-based path, whatever you choose a number of local agencies are available to support you along the way. Arts Council Malta in facts holds various opportunities such as the ACMlabs, ACMhangouts, ACMwebinars and ACMchats which are not only a space to have conversations about the dynamic contexts artists and creatives operate in but are also a valuable source for networking with the community.
Other more specific opportunities can also allow young artists and creatives to find their feet and explore what this sector has to offer, opportunities such as the professional development grant for example allows artists and students within the arts to take up training opportunities, attend workshops, masterclasses, mentorships and job shadowing opportunities both locally and abroad. Artivisti is also a specific well-rounded project ACM leads with Agenzija Zgħażagħ that offers participants a €4,000 project grant and a priceless 12-month one to one mentorship with an industry professional.