Association of young artists building Cambodia's future cultural industries

CIAI - Italian Association for Aid to Children (INGO)
IFCD funding: USD 81,341 | Timeline: February 2012 – February 2013

© Dennis Jarvis

About the project

Aim
Create, train and support an association of young Khmer professional artists in Siem Reap as a means to ensure the viability of future generations of cultural industry professionals in Cambodia.

About the organization
Established in 1968, CIAI is an international NGO dedicated to defending children’s rights. Headquartered in Italy, it has local offices in Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam. It strongly believes that access to culture is necessary for attaining sustainable development. This is why it promotes both formal and informal artistic education but also conducts lobbying and networking activities to ensure children’s rights are fulfilled within national legislations. In Cambodia, it works in close partnership with NGO Cambodia Living Arts, who promotes awareness of the arts by lobbying cultural policymakers and major institutions in the goal to create a thriving cultural industry in Cambodia.

Local Context
The death of approximately 90% of Cambodia’s performing artists during the Khmer Rouge regime has been a devastating blow to the country’s cultural industries. The country is experiencing a difficult process of cultural revival because there are few artists left and there are not enough tools to transfer cultural industries know-how to future generations. Cultural industries are under-developed, despite Cambodia’s ratification of the Convention.

To assure that future generations will have equitable access to a diverse range of cultural expressions, youths and children need to be assured access to opportunities to experience culture at an early stage. Another aspect that is taken into consideration is that young artists have often become victims of child labor as they do not have the chance to be educated with regard to this issue.

Main objectives
This project’s main objective is to create an association that could provide training and assistance to young Khmer artists so that they can make a living from their creations. It provides capacity-building workshops with the aim to professionalize those artists and raise awareness about their right in an effort to promote economic and social development. The association supports the creation of an artist network. By encouraging artists to come together, this project facilitates public recognition, dialogue with stakeholders and support from relevant bodies in the Cambodian government. The association provides recommendation for the creation of cultural policies geared towards development, and it involves young artists in the process.

Main activities
Capacity-building is a central activity of this project. Artists receive training pertaining to practical issues in management, marketing and administration required for the operation of a cultural association. Students benefit from individual follow up. The project proposes to put in place strategic partnerships with the tourism sector in Cambodia, enabling integration of young cultural professionals into the labor market as a means to generate income. Furthermore, the association promotes interaction with and between cultural professionals, civil society, local institutions and government authorities. This project also entails raising awareness among young artists about their rights and providing legal advice when necessary in an effort to banish child labor, exploitation and slavery.

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