Whatever festivals may focus on as a genre, there is always a way to introduce important crosscutting topics related to cultural policy. As cultural policy in each of our countries needs to be implemented by the various programmes and funding, festivals play an important and political role. Twenty-first century festival-making is proving to be more than ever necessarily political to hear diverse voices within creative settings. This includes intercultural, intergenerational, minorities, all of which may involve bringing together regional cooperation but essentially an exchange of artists and ideas. The importance of European cultural networking is fundamental to engage in collective projects and festival-making and creating jobs. Festivals, by their very nature, bring these diverse people together as artists, cultural professionals and audiences. These are, by the way, all citizens. There is no better way to build cohesion, to support various geo-political and socio-cultural challenges, but through arts festivals. It just works. Culture and festival-making must be a top priority of the political agenda together with Health, Education and the Environment, but, most importantly, left to arts’ experts to decide on programming and funding decisions. Our politicians can then be praised for putting public funding for good use.
Davinia Galea is the founder and Managing Director of ARC Research & Consultancy. ARC is the EFFE Hub for Malta. Between 2007-2013, she was Executive Director of the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. She chaired and co-authored Malta’s first Cultural Policy in 2011. Between 2009 and 2013 Davinia was a member of the interministerial commission that successfully applied for Valletta, European Capital of Culture, 2018, and a member of the presenting panel of the Bid. She has worked as a consultant to World Bank Group in 2019-2020, and is a founding member of the Fanac Fund set up in 2019 to provide artistic and cultural mobility between Europe, the Arab world, and the Middle East. Through ARC, Davinia is an active participant in various Mediterranean and European networks such as the European Festivals Association, Medinea, Culture Action Europe, Pearle*, and IGCAT. In June 2022 she was invited by the Ministry of Culture of Italy to participate in the first Culture Ministerial meeting of the EU-Southern Partnership held in Naples, Italy on topics related to the international agenda of cultural diplomacy.