Toni Sant (University of Salford)

Sharing Open Knowledge About Malta’s Contemporary Arts Scene as Digital Cultural Heritage

In 2015 Fondazzjoni Kreattività, the organization that operates Malta’s National Centre for Creativity, embarked on a research project geared to adequately preserve, document and make available the substantial number of art objects and associated ephemera it holds, which form part of the country’s National Art Collection. Since the project began, a number of key ideas have been developed through community archiving initiatives that have involved workshops with artists, cultural stakeholders and the public. The initiatives put forward to develop the documentation and archiving processes of its own collection have afforded Fondazzjoni Kreattività the strength to serve as a key institution responsible for contemporary cultural heritage more widely in Malta. This is a major shift in terms of cultural policies on digital preservation and collective memory engagement in Malta, which can also be applied to the performing arts, film, literature, and other creative modes of expression. This presentation delves into the practical and theoretical side of contemporary art preservation policies from an institutional perspective, focusing on the methodology and actions that are being undertaken in this case, which involves aspects of citizen science in an attempt to move away from the conventions of grand institutional narratives. The process of the systematic preservation of the legacy of Fondazzjoni Kreattività employs wiki technology to gather and share knowledge on the modern and contemporary holdings in Malta’s National Art Collection. Focusing specifically on the ways in which this online information community engages with Fondazzjoni Kreattività and its audiences, the project at the heart of this presentation is primarily based on the drive to disseminate information about the collection and ensure interactive opportunities for engaging with these works of art through exhibition and documentation, as Digital Cultural Heritage.