CLIC - Culture to Connect is one of the most recent EUNIC-EU joint efforts, aiming to bridge Europe and Cuba and boost the Cuban cultural and creative industries and artists. Besides supporting the CCI through exchange, capacity building and co-creation activities, the project also aims to stimulate innovative and resilient urbanism in Havana. The project focuses on music, cinema, design, visual arts, architecture and urbanism.
Cuba has one of the highest artistic education rates in the region and hosts important cultural institutions and events. The country is currently in a process of adapting its economic system while trying to expand its connectivity, still limited and expensive for many citizens. Where industry or technology may be scarce, creativity has demonstrated its great potential as a source of sustainable development and social inclusion.
The CLIC project, funded by the EU Delegation to Cuba, is coordinated by the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID) and implemented together with the EUNIC cluster in Cuba. Jorge Peralta, Cultural Counsellor at the Embassy of Spain in Havana is in charge of the project and speaks about the launch of the new initiative.
EUNIC Cluster to strenghten the EU as a key partner in cultural cooperation in Cuba.
The EU and its members have a long tradition of cooperation in the cultural sector in Cuba. The recently created EUNIC Cuba cluster seeks to find synergies and increase the impact of its cultural cooperation activities. In order to reach this goal, the EU Delegation in Cuba has allocated a budget for this EUNIC Cuba initiative.
How has the project been received in Cuba so far amongst different partners and target audiences?
The cluster has only been officially created at the end of 2018 and from the start we have been absorbed in setting up this ambitious project. Amongst EUNIC cluster members based in Cuba we have established a dynamic of joint and collaborative work, having regular meetings and exchanges on planning specific activities of the project. Individual members have provided valuable sectorial expertise helping to establish connections with relevant local partners.
In the first phase of the project, the focus has been on boosting existing local initiatives and existing local structures in the cultural industries. The CLIC project supports the organisation of exchange, educational, research, promotion and co-creation activities around four strategic areas:
- Supporting the development of Cuban cultural industries
- Strengthening the capacity of creators and professionals linked to them
- Inserting Cuban artists in professional networks and markets in Europe
- Stimulating innovative, inclusive and resilient urbanism in Havana
All the activities are driven by the idea of promoting young Cuban talent and connecting Cuban artists and professionals with European counterparts.
All the activities are driven by the idea of promoting young Cuban talent and connecting Cuban artists and professionals with European counterparts, thus strengthening their capacities. CLIC is based on the exchange of experiences and knowledge, for which Cuban and European experts from the most varied disciplines participate: cinema, dance, fashion, music, architecture and visual arts.
The project has been very well received by local partners. At the institutional level, the project has also caught the attention of the Ministry of Culture in Cuba providing inspiration to some of its own initiatives. At a later stage of the project, we are hoping to collaborate with the ministry more closely by bringing European artists and experts to the forum on cultural industries, for example.
What have been the challenges and opportunities brought by Covid-19? Did you have to make many readjustments?
Initiated before the pandemic, the CLIC project has had to adapt to the conditions that the new reality has imposed. The official launch of the project has been delayed by several months. Some initiatives have been entirely designed for the virtual space, while visits of European artists and experts have been generally substituted by online seminars. Far from being an inconvenience, this has been a learning opportunity in an area that is especially relevant for Cuba.
We have focused on generating digital content and creating a digital platform. The digital aspect was already part of the project design and with the impact of the pandemic, we have upscaled this part. Digitisation is an important topic in Cuba and it is a relevant opportunity to channel our efforts to boost digitisation processes for the cultural and creative industries in Cuba.
The CLIC project has supported the following activities in 2020:
CALENTAMIENTO GLOBAL: 9 of the most avant-gardist Cuban fashion and furniture brands have joined to create the joint collection “Global Warming”, with a focus on sustainable development and immersive experience.
INCUBANDO: 12 young Cuban producers and directors working on their debut film have participated in a week of training and networking workshops with European filmmakers, scriptwriters and producers, among which Oscar-nominated director Hubert Sauper.
PRIMERA BASE: 3 novel Cuban bands, winners of the Primera Base Music Contest, have produced and launched their singles on online music platforms and received integral training on self-management and online marketing. Discover them here: Los Monos Lácteos and Kill the Party.
RÉQUIEM SIÁ KARÁ: Spanish choreographer Susana Pous - and Mi Compañía, the company she directs in Cuba -, French choreographer Radhouanne El Meddeb and Italian composer Matteo Franceschini have co-created a piece of contemporary dance that will be featuring in Cuba and Europe in 2021.
INTELIGENCIAS COLECTIVAS CUBA: an online platform to identify, research and scale constructive solutions that are the results of processes of collective intelligent and emergent heritage.