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World Cultures Connect opens platform to artists

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Artists in the country need to utilise the platform offered by the World Cultures Connect (WCC) which has so far benefited several other artists.

The World Cultures Connect (WCC) platform is a searchable database for the cultural sector worldwide.

According to available information, this is a powerful tool that can greatly benefit Malawian artists and cultural practitioners.

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This programme is led by the London-based Visiting Arts, who have a 30-year history of working with and connecting artists across the world, in partnership with the Africa Centre in Cape Town, South Africa.

A press statement from WCC says the platform is part of Culture Works Connection, a project linking the creative businesses in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific funded by the ACP Cultures+ ACP-EU Support Programme to ACP Cultural Sectors.

It is financed by the European Union and implemented by the ACP Group of States.

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At its heart, WCC aims to build stronger more sustainable creative businesses that are able to access world markets and develop collaborations.

It also aims to overcome one of the major barriers to international working which is the need for good accessible information on what exists and how to contact them.

Last year saw 25 Malawian artists selected for the WCC Creative Skills training programme, a comprehensive and insightful workshop series which run from November 17-19.

The workshop was conducted by Mary Helen Young of Visiting Arts, lead trainer Tom Porter, and lead contact for Malawi, Michael Phoya.

Phoya said the artists benefited alot through the workshop adding that inspiring projects were shared and that the group received valuable support and advice to boost their businesses.

Visiting Arts and The Africa Centre also partnered with British Council Malawi for a WCC Creative Networks event on ‘Making Arts Pay’ at MHub in Lilongwe.

The event brought creative skills participants together with other local arts innovators as well as key stakeholders to explore routes towards international working for artists and creative professionals in Malawi.

The final part of the training is an opportunity for some of the participants in the workshops for an all-expenses trip to attend the Visiting Arts International Producers’ Breakfast event in partnership with Creative Scotland during the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2016.

The artists who were selected are Solomonic Peacocks Director McArthur Matukuta and musician George Kalukusha, who will also participate in an exchange workshop with Scottish producers and artists that will investigate future collaborations.

Phoya said artists need to be part of this platform to grow their businesses adding that Matukuta and Kalukusha will be introduced to key international promoters, agents, potential new collaborators and press.

Porter said this was a good platform for artists in the country hence they should utilise it.

On the workshops, Porter said they were able to help participants take a breath and take stock again of what they do and why.

“We also brought in local creative entrepreneurs to share their stories enabling participants to develop new connections within their own cities,” he said.

Porter said they looked at topics such as business models, partnerships, marketing and fundraising.

“It is tough to make ends meet as an artist anywhere. I hope that one of the key ideas we were able to share was that as creatives the participants were well placed to be successful in a range of pursuits,” he said.

Phoya said the World Cultures Connect can be found on www. worldculturesconnect.com and that it is free to register and connect with the world.

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