As the DeuS project unfolds, national workshops to map the challenges affecting the cultural and creative sector at a regional level started in May 2020. The Valletta Design Cluster team within the Valletta Cultural Agency moderated two workshops on 14th May, where a wide range of freelancers, educators and practitioners discussed their experience and their vision for the future.

After a short introduction to the DeuS project, the workshops focused on education and learning within the cultural and creative sector and the importance of collaborations. Both aspects being very central to the DeuS project. Participants agreed that a mix of formal, informal, and non-formal learning is necessary and crucial for the development of practitioners, mainly because of the difference in the exposure to hard and soft skills these typologies give to learners.

An actual involvement in the practice is also considered a key aspect in the learning process, which is at times left behind in formal training according to some participants. A sense of entrepreneurship is also considered important, with one participant stating: “The very successful artists are those who created opportunities for themselves outside their educational institutions”.

National Meeting in Malta

When it comes to collaborations, participants in general show great openness to discussing their ideas with fellow practitioners, as “this makes projects better”. Weaknesses in formal education include the lack of sufficient space and training in critical thinking and cooperation. In the professional world, differences in agendas and the problem of putting together disciplines which may be very different from each other may also serve as constraints to greater collaboration. One artist said “If we want to create content together, we have to build a relationship where we learn from each other. If all we want is to get some new skills, that can be achieved faster. We need to have an ongoing exchange among practitioners, and online experiments keep the arts alive at this time”. Some pointed out that a range of independent cultural offers developed by different organisations may provide a wider offer to the general public.

At the end of the event we asked participants what Open Design means to them, especially in connection to learning and collaborating with others.

Check out their responses on the Valletta Design Cluster Instagram and Facebook pages!