Culture Department Calls for Respect of the Arts

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 17, 2013 (SKNIS): Consistent with its function of stimulating and facilitating cultural and economic development, the Department of Culture is revamping its efforts to increase the visibility of local artists by means of its new website and registry.

Department of Culture Research and Documentation Specialist Marlene Phillip revealed to the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service (SKNIS) that the new website and registry will be launched at the upcoming “Culture Moving Forward – Creative and Cultural Industries Sensitization Workshop” from May 21 to 24 at the Ocean Terrace Inn.

“St. Kitts and Nevis Culture Department is going to be presenting the culture website, which we have been working on for months, as well as explain a new initiative called the St. Kitts and Nevis Creative Industry Registry,” Ms. Phillips explained. “This is intended to be a national registry where we want to encourage all the national artists in the creative and cultural industries to join. There’s no major cost, maybe a small fee in terms of an identification card – we’re hoping to get a subsidy so that it’s not too costly to the practitioner.”

Mentioned benefits of joining the registry included job opportunities – regionally and internationally, first choice in terms of access to workshops, improving one’s personal skills set and competency level, which will reflect positively when applying for a skills certificate at the Ministry of Trade. This enables entrepreneurs to be eligible for a job through Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) or through the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in the European Market.

Ms. Phillip also revealed that her Department works with the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA) which provides skills qualification and competency. She noted that the agency sets regional standards that are equitable with international standards and so there is a measure for the skills level and competency in the creative industries. As such, the local Department of Culture can use the region’s rating scale to access local artists work and make recommendations on areas of improvement before they actually apply for the CANTA certification.

The Documentation Specialist explained that support of the creative and cultural arts is a viable investment.

“Globally countries all over the world are being challenged economically and have to re-evaluate where they are generating income,” Ms. Phillips emphasized. “I think that we’ve known for a long time, that in St. Kitts and Nevis that there’s a lot of talent. In my experience I don’t think that this has ever been properly measured to see how many thousands of dollars – it could be in the millions of dollars – that have been generated specifically by the creative and cultural industries and contribute to the country’s GDP. If we know that a certain amount of money is being contributed – in return we need to support the development of that industry [Culture].”

Ms. Phillip took the opportunity to thank the Information and Technology Department for establishing the Department of Culture website which would be launched Tuesday, May 21 with the address or

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