Creative Caribbean program offering grants to Caribbean creatives

St. MaartenImage by Neufal

Creatives from the Caribbean, did you know a program launched on April 21 offering grants for people in the creative and cultural industries (CCIs)?

Officially, the program is called Creative Caribbean - An Ecosystem of "Play" for Growth and Development. Despite the terrible name, which doesn’t even remotely sound like anything connected to the creative community, the effort is intended for industries, including music, fashion, festivals, film, animation, new media, visual and performing arts. And it’s expected to benefit creatives, such as musicians, artists and writers among many others.

“It is an unquestionable fact that the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative sectors was tremendously significant, yet CCIs play a notable role in the economy and recovery from the pandemic," Saadia Sanchez-Vegas, director and representative of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean stated in a press release.

"Just recently industry stakeholders in countries, such as Jamaica, have reported losses of over $500 billion stemming from months of closure due to a prolonged ban on entertainment activities," reported the Jamaica Observer.

Creative Caribbean was launched to help by offering a three-year project that aims to develop a robust creative economy in the region with globally competitive businesses according to the press release from UNESCO, one of the partners behind the program.

Creative Caribbean is funded by the European Union with support from the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, and €3 million of funding has been injected into the program, according to the UNESCO post.

The Creative Caribbean project seeks to shift the paradigm from "the struggling artist" to creating an enabling environment where creatives are incentivized to produce and thrive and become a key driver of sustainable development in the region," Sanchez-Vegas also said.

Creative Caribbean is open to entrepreneurs in 15 countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Grants aren’t the only things that are supposed to come out of this project.

The project is expected to strengthen research and data collection, to facilitate market access opportunities, and to support the development of national artists registries, cultural policies and Creative Industry Development Acts.

That means that funding for this program will be used for far more than the grants.

In addition to UNESCO, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the University of the West Indies are also partners on this project.

Here’s a video from the program’s launch. Given the dry title of the program, watching a 2+ hour presentation was a pass for me. But feel free to dive in and share what you discover in the comment section. To get more information about the grant offerings without watching the video, visit here.

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