The Valletta 2018 vision is to set in motion a process of culture-led regeneration of Valletta and its surrounding harbour area in which the whole Maltese archipelago can engage. It calls for new infrastructure for the cultural sector, both physical buildings and spaces and the training of human resources, as well as a truly virtual network to support 2018.

Fleshing out the vision

We want to challenge both the local and international perception of Valletta as largely a city of heritage and a monument of the past, by giving the citizens of Valletta, as well as the whole of Malta, an exciting opportunity to experience their cultural identity afresh within new contexts and environments for exchange; ones that allow for ideas, dialogue and creativity to flow freely.

Valletta 2018 is about promoting an ‘Environment of Exchange’. This means bringing about a flow of cultural and intellectual activities, an exploration and nurturing of diversity in all its forms and also the growth of an economy of culture, with professional cultural practitioners gaining both creatively and materially from their endeavours.  

To make vision reality, we define eight objectives for V.18 which take inspiration from Malta’s new National Cultural Policy (2011).

V.18 is about working in tandem with the aims of Malta’s Cultural Policy, building on it and seeing Valletta 2018 driven by clear objectives to ensure it succeeds on all fronts and for all involved, from audiences to participants to beneficiaries and partners, now and longer term.

Our Objectives define our policies, while Our Themes put them into action and describe the areas in which V.18 is seeking project ideas and participation.

Objective 1: Supporting a European Vision for Democracy and Culture:
We intend to show that cultural development is intrinsically linked to the democratic underpinnings of our society and that creativity provides empowerment in the social, cultural and political spheres. Diversity, inter-cultural dialogue and innovation are fundamental to the environment of exchange we need to nurture. The cornerstone of our project is the healthy governance of the organisation of V.18 – through the V18 Foundation - in collaboration with its Maltese and European partners.

Objective 2: Ensuring Cultural Sustainability through the Reinvention of Cultural Education
Valletta needs to develop a sustainable cultural sector by rising to the challenge that the intensity and calibre of the ECoC title brings with it, particularly in terms of human resources and their professionalism. 

The title is an opportunity for us to create a solid legacy for the event by investing in a programme of professional training for those engaged in cultural sphere. Our citizens will benefit alsofrom the ECoC year's creation of opportunities for the longer term for internationally-conversant creative participation.  This will establish the ‘playground’ for creativity that will contribute to the programme in 2018 and act as the basis of the city’s regeneration.

Objective 3: Encouraging the Dynamic Flourishing of Diversity
V.18 will go beyond merely acknowledging diversity changes affecting society. We intend to integrate this on-going process into the creative exploration of our newly-emerging social fabric by creating opportunities for interaction, negotiation, collaboration and platforms for the discovery of diversity’s enriching potential. 

As both an EU policy and Valletta candidacy priority, engaging with diversity across and beyond Europe’s borders will be fundamental in supporting the development of an environment of exchange. Valletta will act as a meeting point for exchange of customs and ideas, utilising all possible means of communication and technology.

Objective 4: Interpreting and Developing Multifaceted Cultural Identities
Valletta’s city life comes into being on the basis of its dynamic histories and identities that interact in the city outdoors and indoors: streets, squares, homes, churches, festivals, museums and cultural buildings. Our heritage will serve as a springboard for learning and appreciation, enabling deeper awareness of the build-up of our unique social and cultural environment deeply rooted in co-existence and cross-fertilisation. The Maltese language will also serve as the inspiration for site-specific projects and public art, allowing local and international artists to interact within the dense cultural milieu of local communities through accessible physical and virtual spaces. 

Objective 5: Incentivising and Sustaining the Economy of Culture
Valletta needs to become the heart of Malta’s creative economy. For many years the city was built on a rich tradition of festivals, museums, churches and monuments that, while still recognised as esteemed heritage attractions, require regeneration. By updating the use of our rooted cultural foundations, V.18 aims to enhance our particular creative expressions by extending their reach as an environment of exchange that operates at a European level, thus aiding the emergence of a sustainable creative ecology for Valletta and its citizens. The three aspects of regeneration - social, economic and cultural – are the beneficiaries of this objective and can enable and empower the well-being of citizens in Valletta, Malta and Europe.

Objective 6: Benefiting European Cooperation by Promoting International Networking
V.18 will focus international efforts on aspects of cultural cooperation with the maximum long-term benefits for Maltese society. These include:

  • a cooperation programme providing exchange and cooperation opportunities for cultural professionals, specifically those from Europe and the Mediterranean;
  • networks based on civil society exchanges focusing on the principles linking culture and democracy;
  • a programme of dialogue platforms for Mediterranean, European and international public figures, artists and intellectuals focusing on culture and democracy,
  • mobility of artists and of cultural collections, with special cooperation measures with the Dutch city that will be contemporaneously carrying the ECoC title;
  • stepping up collaboration with other ECoCs;
  • assisting Local Councils to expand on their current strong programmes of European Town Twinning and Citizenship. Supporting international cooperation within the European dimension will benefit both the cities and citizens. It will also assist us in identifying and exploiting spaces for communication across Europe.

Objective 7: Contributing to the ECoC Legacy by Supporting Monitoring and Research
By investing in human capacity, research infrastructure and our technological capacity we plan to generate ideas while assessing our contribution to the ECoC legacy by mapping the evolution of the foundation and the development of Valletta and the Maltese territory. This will be done in collaboration with the University of Malta, the Creative Economy Working Group under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Investment, with the University, or Universities, of the Dutch city that will be awarded the title, and through them, with the University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNEECC) in order to exploit a research infrastructure that will monitor and assess the effectiveness of the tools and instruments adopted to reach our other objectives. This will include social, cultural and economic targets.

Objective 8: Nurturing a Sustainable Relationship to Our Environment:
Throughout its programme, V.18 intends to celebrate and accentuate Malta’s marine and maritime characteristics by developing a respectful and healthy symbiosis between human and natural activity. By using Valletta’s infrastructural and technological means to develop an interface whereby Valletta stands to gain both physically and emotionally, we aim to discover and explore new ways of interaction between the city’s various structural components: the citizens, the architecture, and the coastal landscape of its peninsula setting. The development of a climate of well-being will interact with the dimension of our Mediterranean Sea.