This write-up is based on an article that originally appeared on ACP Website on April 5, 2016. - IDN | INPS Arts & Culture Desk
SUVA, Fiji - A series of workshops from April 5 to 7 at the Fiji Museum in Suva connected artists across the Pacific to international networks. Led by Visiting Arts, in partnership with The Pacific Arts and Culture Foundation in Fiji, the initiative was supported by the ACP-EU Support Programme to ACP Cultural Sectors, known as ACPCultures+ .
The training in Fiji involved an intensive workshop led by internationally renowned Festival Director, Jonathan Holloway. His intensive workshops are designed to increase artists’ and creative practitioners’ ability to work internationally.
The event followed on successful workshops organised in 2015 in Trinidad and Tobago, Ethiopia and Malawi.
The sessions were part of the Culture Works Connections programme, which aimed to build a community and lasting network of creative businesses across the regions of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group over three years from 2014-2017.
It also builds awareness and knowledge of the platforms, tools and opportunities that exist for communicating and promoting their work to local and international audiences and partners. The workshops intended to give participants the opportunity to reflect on their current practice and explore:
- how to access local and international markets
- how to progress professional development, marketing and business plans
- the benefits of digital tools, networks and innovations
- New opportunities for connecting and collaborating with audiences and partners
Training workshops were followed by a series of virtual presentations and sessions with experts spread out over several months to support participants’ self-directed learning and strategic planning. Peer learning and collaborative working will form a considerable part of these sessions.
Participants were encouraged to explore the benefits of World Cultures Connect, a new digital hub for international arts and cultural professionals, to Promote their work, Discover new ideas and intelligence, and Connect with new partners, audiences and markets.
In August 2016 a select group of the participants will also have the opportunity to convene in the UK for a networking week and to showcase their work during the Edinburgh Festivals. The results of the programme will be shared during this time at Visiting Arts Annual International Producers’ Breakfast in partnership with Creative Scotland.
“My experience of training for World Cultures Connect (as part of the Cultures Works Connections programme) enabled me to reconnect with creative entrepreneurs working at the forefront of the creative scenes in Malawi and Ethiopia… We brought in local creative entrepreneurs to share their stories enabling participants to develop new connections within their own cities. We looked at topics such as business models, partnerships, marketing and fundraising but throughout the key was for the individuals to check in with their own individual aims, ambitions and working practices,” said Tom Porter, who led WCC Creative Skills program in Africa.
About the Programme
Culture Works Connections is a project linking the creative businesses in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific funded by the ACP Cultures+ ACP-EU Support Programme to ACP Cultural Sectors, financed by the European Union and implemented by the ACP Group of States. It runs for three years from 2014- 2017. There are four parts to the programme which, at its heart, aims to build stronger more sustainable creative businesses that are able to access world markets and develop collaborations. It aims to overcome one of the major barriers to international working which is the need for good accessible information on what exists and how to contact them.
The first part is a process of mapping and surveying the creative businesses. This builds on the existing initiatives of mapping and provide the sector with access and training to be able to promote themselves through the World Cultures Connect online platform. This is a searchable database for the cultural sector worldwide.
The second part is a training exercise that involves the appointment and training of a “link” person in each region responsible for the marketing, promotion and moderation of the platform.
The third part is a programme of targeted and tailored workshop training packages that are co-designed by the creative businesses themselves in response to a needs analysis that we undertake online. This allows us to match the needs with the training. The outcome is a bespoke programme that will build the skills of the sector as well as give them access to contacts worldwide.
The final part is an opportunity for some of the participants in the workshops to meet together at a final networking event in the UK where the experience of the programme can be shared. In addition, a one week work placement in a UK organisation can be organised. The results of the programme and future initiatives can then be discussed at the International Producers’ breakfast event at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2016.
The programme is being led by Visiting Arts, who have a 30 year history of working with and connecting artists across the world. The three partners are: Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Trinidad and Tobago; The Africa Centre, Cape Town, South Africa, The Pacific Arts and Culture Foundation, Suva, Fiji. [IDN | INPS – 10 April 2016]
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