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Valletta signs Capital for Culture agreement with Eindhoven

The cities of Valletta and Eindhoven, which are both currently in the running to become European Capital for Culture in 2018, have joined forced to “share expertise” on the culture and the arts.

Teodor Reljic
4 July 2012, 12:00am
Valletta 2018 Foundation Chairman David Felice (left) signing ‘the Memorandum of Understanding’ with his Eindhoven counterpart Martijn Sanders at the Chamber of Commerce in Valletta on Tuesday.
Valletta 2018 Foundation Chairman David Felice (left) signing ‘the Memorandum of Understanding’ with his Eindhoven counterpart Martijn Sanders at the Chamber of Commerce in Valletta on Tuesday.
The two cities will aim to pool in their resources as they both race towards ensuring their cultural standards are at their best come 2018 - where both cities will become a year-long hub for culture and the arts, in the hopes of boosting both the local cultural scene as well as draw in a substantial amount of tourists.

Eindhoven is one of five cities in the Netherlands which are competing for the title of ECoC for 2018. Valletta goes through its final selection which will hopefully award it it's title this coming October.

The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed today, underlines a shared interest between the cities, in a number of different themes.

This mutual interest is the point of departure for developing cultural exchange programmes and collaborations. This can take place by making information and experience available, by introductions into relevant networks and by participation in cultural events.

Valletta and Eindhoven believe that international cultural cooperation is a crucial element in working towards a successful collaboration within the framework of the ECoC programme. Furthermore, the focus is not only on what already links the two cities, but also on exploring untapped potential.

The MOU encourages the sharing of insight into the method of working during the bidding phase; the organisation of introductions for each other to access networks and stimulate cooperation in practice; the mutual access to suitable events and for specific work visits, while enhancing cooperation between the cities which include specific joint projects.

The signing of the agreement comes in the wake of aggressive promotional moves by the Valletta 2018 Foundation, which is currently making efforts to mobilise local cultural operators and creatives as the crucial year edges closer.

In June, the Foundation organised a two-day spontaneous think-tank, Imagine 18, where interested participants presented their prospective projects and ideas for discussion. The purposefully informal activity invited all present to give feedback, in the hopes that Malta's bid would be strengthened by this increased element of participation. A video promoting V.18 was released soon after (see above).

The Foundation also announced that British conductor Wayne Marshall is to serve as the Artistic Director for the initiative.

Marshall, who is based in Malta and who has led the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra during the Malta Arts Festival since 2009, has been welcomed by local cultural operators, with some flagging up his international credentials as being a crucial stepping stone towards Malta achieving an international artistic standard.

On the other hand, others - such as Maltese theatrical actor and president of the Association of Performing Arts Practitioners Edward Mercieca - were relieved by his appointment because a foreign artistic director would not be "attached to any local cliques".

Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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