We got in touch with John Xuereb, the Director of the Cultural Heritage Directorate for the Ministry for Gozo to understand more about their wonderful Unity In Creativity initiative.
Unity in Creativity was, like us, launched during the current Covid19 situation by the Cultural Heritage Directorate within the Ministry for Gozo to bring joy through visuals and creativity. Since Easter – and at the time when the Government suggested we all stay indoors as much as possible, their aim has been to help people stay inside yet remain active.
After so many of the wonderful events the Ministry had planned for us and our visitors this year got cancelled or rescheduled, the team had to turn their hands to entertaining us at home so John and his team decided to create an engaging Facebook page and provide weekly competitions for those that wished to share their talents online. Whether you are musical, artistic, a writer or a chef, all are welcome to showcase material alongside the carefully chosen theme from that week.
The most recent competition is entitled Food Glorious Food. Entries were asked to submit photo’s of their traditional Maltese creations in the kitchen at home. Competition winners for the previous week are announced the following week and a new theme is announced.
We love this initiative. It really encourages great incentives for locals to show what they can do and some of the most amazing stuff starts at home! This is a recent winner. A beautiful rendition of I Will Always Love You, by Susannah Camilleri.
“During the first two weeks there was a wave of people who accepted our invitations and were soon commenting about the competitive material that was being uploaded” John explains. “This led to the rise of a healthy competition where more and more followers became involved. The competitions by themselves help people stay active inside.” John remarks.
Under these circumstances, and coming from such an imaginative island, we were all really looking forward to visiting the Theatre and catching some of the wonderful Ministry events throughout the summer but this has most definitely been the next best thing. Gozo really does have a whole host of talented people who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there. Bravo Gozo!
As we know at GITH, it takes a strong team to keep a busy Facebook page like theirs active and so much honest commitment and love goes on behind the scenes. John’s team is made up of a wonderful group who are conducting all sorts of jobs in order to keep the dream alive. These include theme organizers, Maltese and English proof-readers, illustrators, as well as web designers who keep a regular watch on the website’s maintenance. While at face value it looks like an easy task that can be done by a small number of people, the page offers its unique challenges. The organizers need to come up with fresh initiatives and competitions every week and other members need to be ready to produce results in real-time. With the continuous flow of material received for upload, the team has to sort, organize and prepare material for publishing in the most professional way possible. It’s a tough job but the very reason we exist is to unite and help people and add value where possible. This is sometimes all it takes to find incentive to do your very best.
We asked John what lessons the coronavirus pandemic has taught him and his team so far and with creativity at the heart of his reply he said, “ In life one must be prepared for every eventuality. While on a normal basis we take care of organising outside events for the masses, this pandemic forced us to adapt in a whole different way: keep everyone active inside their homes. Every day is a new lesson where you learn that nothing should be taken for granted.”
We agree that searching deep within at a time of crisis, and looking at something in a new way is fundamental and really lies at the heart of true creativity. It’s refreshing to see someone in authority leading from the heart.
John believes, the instinct to care for others is primordially in our nature and with or without this situation we find ourselves in, this should always be present in all of us and he hopes that as a result, the act of caring will be more present all around us.
And so do we. We shall be watching avidly at what wonderful talent will evolve next.
Gozo – Unity in Creativity: Facebook