The British Council, in collaboration with Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and the Cultural Centre, Universiti Malaya, recently launched the Hubs For Good programme and its online platform.
This three-year programme aims to support the local creative hubs, connecting these physical places that bring creative people together with each other, as well as with hub managers/leaders, stakeholders and the community at large.
These creative hubs could range from incubation spaces, a building that houses creative practitioners, a temporary lab or an online network.
“The British Council has been working with over 800 creative hubs globally since 2014. We see hubs as playing an integral role in the growth of the creative economy, gathering and representing creative communities.
“Hubs have featured greatly in our programming – as partners, collaborators, producers and researchers. We see hub managers as gateways and connectors, between public and private, grassroots and policy.
“We also see them as important leaders in the creative economy,” said Sarah Deverall, director Malaysia, British Council.
The Hubs For Good programme involves interrelated projects including country-wide mapping and research, an awareness and advocacy digital platform (www.creativehubs.my), a toolkit for the use of creative hub leaders and creative practitioners, and capacity building activities to address skill and knowledge needs of local creative hub leaders.
In Malaysia, the list of hubs include Arts-ED, ASK Dance Company, Borneo Bengkel, Damansara Performing Arts Centre, Five Arts Centre, George Town Festival, George Town Literary Festival, Gerakbudaya Bookshop Penang, Ilham Gallery, Kapallorek Art Space, KL Sketch Nation and Hikayat.
YSD, co-funder of this programme, has offered scholar- ships for research and the development of the toolkit and digital platform.
“YSD believes in the creation of more skilled Malaysians involved in the arts by increasing opportunities for arts education and empowerment towards sustainability.
“We hope that our support is enabling the participating hubs to thrive while building the capacity of other arts practitioners within their communities.
“We also aim to see them secure connections with regional hubs as well as local stakeholders, function more efficiently for positive impact, and become key drivers and catalysts for good,” says Yatela Zainal Abidin, YSD chief executive officer.
Universiti Malaya’s vice chancellor Datuk Abdul Rahim Hashim adds that this collaboration – between a local and an international establishment spearheading the arts and culture, and an academic institution – has created “a triangulation of skills and expertise by combining (their) strengths”.
“We believe that this combination shall benefit the society at large by building human capacity and engaging the society closer through a digital platform,” he concludes.