CREATIVE SPACE #14 of 2021 (uploaded July 7th 2021)
CREATIVE SPACE is a series spotlighting local (Antiguan and Barbudan/Caribbean) art and culture. As a brand, it dates back to 2009, published in LIAT’s inflight magazine. It was revamped in 2018 and ran to 2019 on Antiguanice.com. Its publishing partner, as of 2020, is the Daily Observer newspaper. It continues to expand across other media platforms (e.g. AntiguanWriter on YouTube). CREATIVE SPACE is created, owned, and written by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Antiguan-Barbudan/Caribbean author, journalist, producer, and freelance writer, editor, and trainer.
Here’s a link to the issue as it appeared on July 7th 2021 in the Daily Observer:
Below is the extended online edition (not a duplicate of the edition with publishing partner Observer Media) with extras.
If you would like to be featured in a future CREATIVE SPACE or to pay for a (web only) sponsored post (on jhohadli.wordpress.com exclusively), BOOSTing your BRAND while boosting Antigua-Barbuda Art and Culture, contact Joanne.
CREATIVE SPACE: Beyond Talk?
“Night and day ah ketching hell
People t’ink ah doing well
Jus’ because ah sing a few calypso
But dat is my misery
Calypso don’ make money
But most ah dem don’ know”
This classic Short Shirt calypso (Nobody Go Run Me) speaks with defiance to an artist’s predicament in a space that undervalues – or perhaps in realizing its true value – consciously devalues art and its creators.
Is that paradigm shifting?
Recently, I noticed that the Ministry of Culture had been re-branded the Ministry of Creative Industries.
IMAGES ABOVE – Elvie’s Pottery was spotlighted in CREATIVE SPACE #15 FO 2020 – Made of Clay & House of Argent in CREATIVE SPACE #11 of 2021 – Argent is Ready to Wear.
On the one hand, it’s good that arts’ potential as an economic driver is being recognized but I hope it doesn’t suggest that this is the only way that art will be valued going forward. I still believe art matters because it matters, but as a working artist, I can’t deny that finding balance between creativity and commerce is the daily challenge.
I do believe it’s a challenge with different approaches. I wrote of one approach in the first column of 2021, the Catapult Arts Grant which, in 2020, gave no strings funding to artists to make or promote their art. I believe, and I hope the capitalist reading of art suggested by our paradigm shift from Culture to Creative Industries leaves room for arts philanthropy (residencies, endowments, grants etc.), funding that gives artists the space and time to develop and create, and, on whatever canvas and without censure, tell our stories. Not because it makes money but because it matters.
But the matter of money is not a small concern for an artist, which raises the question of how opportunities will shape up in this new paradigm.
LINKS – The data base of Antiguan and Barbudan Writings I’ve compiled at the blog for the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, a project I launched in 2004 to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, Blogger on Books on To Shoot Hard Labour, PBS Fun Fact post on To Shoot Hard Labour, Data Base of films out of Antigua and Barbuda, The film Dinner.
Which brings me to the artist data collection initiative Cultural advisor within the Ministry of Creative Industries Dr. Hazra Medica asked me to help promote.
I asked her to address concerns (mine) that this was more talk as artists have been invited to register (i.e. had their data collected) a couple of times before with nothing coming of it. I asked about the personal nature of the mandatory information being captured, which might be a deterrent to some. I asked how this information would be used. I asked for timelines and for specific potential benefits.
Dr. Medica responded that the Culture’s Mapping Project had been “thoroughly vetted (and received a high score)” from UNESCO. “Any previous attempts at collecting names to form a ‘registry’ of cultural practitioners pales in comparison to this project,” she said. The project, she explained, would gather data on arts industries beyond the usual and obvious, filling a data void and allowing action to be taken to help the various arts thrive. “There is no direct accounting for the contribution of the cultural/creative industries in the national accounts,” she said, noting that the goal isn’t individual data but data on sectors. Registration ends October 31st, and a report is to be published in January 2022. This report is expected to go out to policy-makers and cultural administrators, and, fingers crossed, not just sit there but, be used “to guide future proposals that we will submit to national, regional, and international bodies.”
Good news, and the kind of support artists have been asking for, if there’s follow through.
Dr. Medica’s responses suggest that the funding and planning has been put in to ensuring there will be the kind of follow through artists can not only build their hopes on – but tangibly benefit from as service providers in different phases of the project.
One phase is the Cultural Information System, a portal through which anyone should be able to access “pertinent information on the findings of this project, key cultural industry sectors and players, cultural statistics, existing policies and opportunities, cultural industry trends, and local cultural events.”
An important step, certainly in this data collection phase, is artist participation. The campaign has been using as its tagline “help us, help you” – a bid for artists to extend a little faith that this initiative will move “beyond talk”.
Link to Culture Department’s page directing users to the survey.
Link to the survey.
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