RaPaPro Creative Partnerships Programme
In 2014, the Ministry of Culture invited sixteen secondary vocational cultural education schools to participate in the creative partnerships’ programme RaPaPro, with an aim to motivate the students and their teaching staff to come out of their comfort zones – beyond the well-known borders of their educational programme – and build up yet unprecedented and undiscovered forms of cooperation with other sectors and develop a unified idea in a form of a creative partnership. In 2014, the support team of RaPaPro was established. Its aim was to provide all secondary-level vocational institutions of cultural education operating under the Ministry of Culture with an opportunity to present their creative partnership ideas, their unique formulas, and obtain financial support for their implementation. Ten schools grasped this opportunity by creating ten different creative partnership formulas. The four most successful projects gained financial support also in the second phrase of RaPaPro in 2015, therefore providing the greatest opportunity to develop, improve and actually implement their ideas in real life. The participants admitted that all the parties involved in the creative partnership programme RaPaPro were provided the unique opportunity to create something new, learn communication and cooperation skills with people from other sectors putting emphasis on empathy and tolerance. While working together with people from different environments and professional fields, they could also understand how the exchange of ideas of various specialists stimulates the creative diversity and establishes preconditions for a competitive cultural and creative industry development.
The diversity and accessibility of cultural education in Latvia is quite unique. There are sixteen secondary vocational institutions of cultural education, operating under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, in eight different towns of Latvia. Eight of them educate future professionals in the field of music, four are focusing on art and design, whereas one of them is a vocational dance school. All sixteen secondary vocational schools which offer cultural education can be distinguished by their high educational standards, and many of their graduates eventually become excellent performing artists. The alumni of the aforementioned schools can regularly be seen on theatre and concert stages both - in Latvia and abroad; their professional ability can be observed in person – in art and design exhibitions; the outstanding achievements of the students and graduates are promoted in the media. After the graduation, some of the students choose to prove themselves in other professions, therefore never becoming professional musicians, artists, designers or dancers, nevertheless, what they do become is part of the society, which, while working in other professional areas, create the demand for high-value culture, which plays a significant role in the development and improvement of the local cultural environment. And yet, the evaluation of the operation and achievements of the existing cultural institutions has lead the Ministry of Culture to the conclusion that the secondary level programmes of cultural education do not sufficiently promote the creativeness and self-sufficiency of the students or their desire to invent and collaborate with other communities and areas of speciality. This is where RaPaPro creative partnerships’ program intervenes in the traditional educational process.
After the pilot phase of the program and given its positive results, it is foreseen to develop it further on a larger scale and make it regular part of the cultural educational process. This type of collaboration form with other communities and sectors open-up completely new perspectives and opportunities where skills of the cultural education students can be applied and create unique collaboration forms that are mutually favourable and beneficial. Starting from 2017, schools will be challenged to find international collaboration partners in their projects. Based on the findings of RaPaPro, there are indications and interest for a gradual integration of a similar creative partnerships model into general educational system.
RaPaPro budget is approximately 37 K annualy.
11 RaPaPro projects implemented in 2014 and 2015 resulted in new skills and knowledge, generated contribution to economic and social issues and promoted culture-based creativity transfer to other areas, and vice versa. Teachers together with partners sought and developed a wide variety of partnership ideas, involved and fascinated students reaching concrete, usable and surprising results. Creative partnerships unearthed various cooperation formulas: music education students cooperated with the media industry as well as design education students found responsive partners between business education schools and ceramic industry companies, dance education students collaborated with design education students and artisans, art education representatives worked with Prison Administration and involved socially marginalized groups (women in prison) in the project. Various cooperation circles resulted in TV spots, design products - industrially manufactured dishes, clothes for a certain group of users, contemporary tourist tools, new musical instruments, social design and social art works.