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A look into this year’s cultural calendar

Davina Barbara has recently joined the team at the Gibraltar Cultural Services as its Cultural Development Officer and with this new role will be looking at developing yearly events as well as fostering new initiatives. Mrs Barbara is well known in the community for her work as a Broadcast Journalist at GBC, a career she has now left to pursue her work in the field of culture. She told the Chronicle she looks forward to working with the local community to further promote culture.

As a new year begins the Gibraltar Cultural Services looks on to a new calendar of events, although the stalwart events that are greatly loved by the community are set to continue, there is always room for change and growth.

The Gibraltar Cultural Services [GCS] recently introduced a new office the Cultural Development Unit, with Davina Barbara recently hired as the Cultural Development Officer.

Her new job entails looking at events and working on how to develop these events to involve the local community, in particular some of the younger members of the community.

Over the next year the team at GCS will work towards creating new events, workshops and opportunities in creative fields for young people.

“We’re working at improving what’s on offer for people when it comes to culture,” Mrs Barbara told the Chronicle.
“We’re looking at how we can really maximise the potential of what Gibraltar has to offer.”

“There will be projects that we will be delivering quite imminently and there will also be those that are long term. It’s about taking that event and looking at what opportunity it could offer.”

The team have focused on evolving the Youth Arts Jamboree, an initiative launched last year that was held in February and March 2018.

The programme offered activities for young people between the ages of four and 24 years, including art, dance and music competitions.

This year the Youth Arts Jamboree is pegged to be a more extended event that will provide a learning outlet for youngsters.

“This year we are taking it to another level, there will be three weeks of events on a daily basis, most of them extracurricular, and we are hoping to take some of these activities to the schools,” Mrs Barbara said.

“We are bringing on board a whole host of professionals. With regards to music we will be organising some question and answer live music sessions, where I am going to be interviewing successful musicians who have actually lived off their art and they are going to be performing.”

Mrs Barbara will be talking to local musicians Guy Valarino, Paul Isola, Adrian Pisarello, Nolan Frendo and Layla Bugeja.

“We will also be offering poetry workshops, writing workshops with people such as Giordano Durante, Jackie Anderson, and Stephanie and Lee Dignam who live off their writing. Surianne Dalmedo has also joined the line-up to deliver interactive workshops on percussion and social media.”

Another project GCS will be working on throughout the year is promoting the use of GEMA [Gibraltar Exhibitions of Modern Art].

The idea is to organise a treasure hunt beginning at Casemates Square, then to GEMA, Irish Town and ending at the City Hall in the Mario Finlayson Art Gallery.

“The treasure hunt will get youngsters to appreciate what’s around them, and once they’re in the galleries to get them to understand a bit more about the artists and even the building,” Mrs Barbara said.

“We are very privileged that our galleries are housed in some very historic buildings.”

She added the events will aim to pass on the skills to children and the share knowledge of local writers and musicians to the younger generation.

GCS is also looking into to providing some drama workshops for children in the local community.

As part of its commitment to the arts GCS is working closely with the Gibraltar Photographic Society and if one of the possible initiatives to involve three young people to enrol in their Beginner’s Course.

If the idea comes to fruition GCS would be funding for the children to participate in the course for 10 weeks.

“This is about empowering children with those skills and then in the future this skill would be returned to the community,” Mrs Barbara said.

“It is about giving young people a chance to grow.”

Mrs Barbara added that local company WrightTech has committed to take on two youngsters who will video the Youth Arts Jamboree and help produce promotional videos for the events.

“This will be a hands-on opportunity for them funded by GCS,” she said.

“This means that in future if this is something the children would like to pursue and study these will be skills that would be put to use.”

GCS will also work with ‘Rock on the Rock’ as there are many children who would like to play instruments, but perhaps do not enjoy choir or playing traditional instruments.

This initiative would give youngsters an opportunity to try out drumming or guitar and get to grips with playing in a band.

Mrs Barbara thanked all of those who have already committed themselves to joining in the initiative.

Throughout this year GCS will look forward to their cultural calendar which includes the spring and autumn competitions, as well as an art residency programme within the Island Games.

The team are also looking into introducing Cultural Awards, with further information expected to be released later this year.