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NICH Holds Cultural Workshop to Test Belize’s Status on Culture

Apr 12, 2023

NICH Holds Cultural Workshop to Test Belize’s Status on Culture

Kim Vasquez

In 2015, Belize signed on to the 2005 UNESCO Convention on Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which encompasses the cultural and creative industries. As a result of our ratification, Belize must submit a report to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, on the status of our diversity of cultural expressions. In order to get the information, the Institute of Creative Arts today wrapped up a two-day workshop with cultural stakeholders and creative entrepreneurs, aimed at getting their feedback on policy, on what programs we have. News Five stopped in at the Government House where the event was held and spoke with Director of the Institute of Creative Arts, Kim Vasquez as well as Sylvia Batty, the National Coordinator of the event, to find out where we are and where we want to be with preserving our culture.

Kim Vasquez, Director, Institute of Creative Arts, NICH

“This is the second time we are submitting the report. What is different this time is that, as I said, we’re doing it in this manner where we are engaging and consulting and meeting with all of our stakeholders. This is just the start of it. This is actually a capacity building, a training workshop for the national team that will elaborate the report, and then we will then launch it to the public on Saturday because we want the public to be aware. We want to be open, that this is what we’re doing, and then we will continue to work together as a national team to put together that report. So there’ll be some more surveys, we’ll be continuing to speak to our cultural stakeholders to gather information on what we see being implemented, and how we can assess, and how we can plan for the future as well. Why should we care about culture? Because it is important. It is a fabric of who we are. It can very much contribute to economic development. We know that we have a vibrant and growing creative and cultural sector here in Belize and we need to build more awareness and we need to give support as well, both as government agencies, but we need to engage as well with, with civil society, with individual artists. We need to really work together in a, in a spirit of community to give support to the cultural and creative sector. Of course, we must acknowledge as well the support of our Minister of Culture, Honourable Francis Fonseca, who is very supportive of this initiative, as well as the Belize Secretary General for UNESCO, Miss Areini Palacio.”

Sylvia Batty

Sylvia Batty, National Coordinator, Cultural Workshop

“We have a cross-section of artists, artisans, statutory bodies are here and present. So we’re really, really appreciative of having that wide cross section of people. So we have a lot of key actors that are currently working within that cultural and creative industries. So we have B.T.B present through their cultural specialists, we have BELTRAIDE, we have the Institute for Social and Cultural Research. We have the Houses of Culture, which do fall under the Museum of Belize NICH. We also have some independent artists. We have some person representing private sort of cultural museums. And so really across section of different, um, actors that are really working within these industries. So some of the conversations we just had a really, interesting roundtable discussion where we realized that a lot of us are working within the same industries. We are doing the same work. We maybe use a little bit of a different language, but we’re moving toward the same goal. And so when you look at the diversity and the cross section of the different ways in which culture is sort of represented in Belize, we have the same. We all want to look at that vibrantness, that richness of what is Belize and represented, whether that’s locally, regionally, or internationally.”