Tue | Jun 19, 2018

Catalyst ideas lab seeks to strengthen EU-Caribbean cultural ties

Published:Sunday | June 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Islas Creativas, British Council, Cuba.

The British Council, in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), will be implementing Catalyst, a three-day ideas lab workshop from the 13-15 June at the UWI St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

The workshop aims to harmonise cultural activity in the region by highlighting the cultural, scientific and social dimensions of cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the Caribbean.

Including 37 key policymakers and speakers, creative practitioners, festival organisers, academics, representatives from donor agencies, independent consultants, and others speakers, the project Catalyst identifies the need to enhance the common vision between the EU and the Caribbean through sharing research, activities, and learning from best-practices. Through the voice of the practitioner, there will be an opportunity to analyse the efficiency of international donor agencies.

"It is envisaged that Catalyst will provide an opportunity to get high-level decision-makers, funders, and creatives in the same space to discuss how funding and technical assistance actually affect their work in the creative ecology. This information will then be used to hone a more coordinated, inclusive, and evidence-based approach to the sector's development. The UWI looks forward to collaborating with international agencies such as the British Council, regional actors, and cultural practitioners in the service of converting this most important of regional assets into real developmental energy," said Dr Suzanne Burke, lecturer in cultural studies at the UWI, St Augustine Campus.

Echoing similar sentiments is Simon Dancey, global director for cultural skills at the British Council. "[It is] a key opportunity to unite cultural activity in the Caribbean. This ideas lab gives us the much-needed chance to identify and consolidate the common vision between the EU and the Caribbean, encouraging a dialogue around the cultural, scientific, and social dimensions of the relationship. We will do this through the voice of the practitioner by sharing invaluable research and activities."

Other outputs of this workshop include addressing cultural policy issues in the Caribbean and contributing to better working values, analysing strategies in the field of culture, evaluating grant strategies in the field of cultural cooperation, identifying the transformation of the paradigms of cultural policy, and stimulating dialogue between the cultural and funding sector.