Q & A: Tyrone Grima - “The perception of people towards art still needs to change”
Maltese-born Tyrone Grima, 39, recently started working as a Director at the Institute of Creative Arts in the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology. He is a theatre director and producer of Theatrencore, the author of four books and the founder of LGBTI Drachma. Currently, he is accomplishing another feat, a PhD in Spiritual Theology.
Tyrone Grima, Director, Institute of Creative Arts, MCAST
1. What are your favorite books and why?
‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus has left a tremendous mark due to the solidarity aspect.
Simone Weil’s biography on spirituality and the integration of otherness with mysticism concentrated on detachment and nothingness.
2. Have you engaged in adult learning? In what ways and what did you learn? If not, would you consider it?
Yes, of course! I have a BA, MA and currently doing a PhD in Spiritual Theology. I have attended the TEFL course, engaged in the Spanish language (at a basic level), attended Drama School with the Directorate for Lifelong Learning, studied Acting with the London School of Music and Dramatic Art, and obtained a postgraduate in Spirituality and Dramatherapy and a PGCE in teaching.
3. What constitutes a good creative arts school for adult education?
Lecturers who are skilled and comfortable in what they are doing, particularly, who have excellent intrapersonal skills. A successful school needs good resources for educators and learners. Every institute should have the desire to keep on improving on already existing standards. Lecturers should have their skills improved both vertically and horizontally and learners should aspire to improve their skills, as well as have the will to learn.
4. Are there any factors related to creative arts and education that you would like to improve? Mention a few.
Generally, in Malta, the Arts have made gigantic leaps. The status of an artist has risen and an artist can have a full-time job. I also believe that the Malta Arts Fund has helped immensely in this regard, by offering schemes and structures to stimulate the professional standard.
Within the educational sector the Arts have also grown exponentially. My predecessor, Mr Stephen Vella, created various courses that were made available to a wide-range of learners. The courses grew and so did the student population.
However, the perception of people towards art still needs to change especially in pop culture. By pop culture, I include both the lower and higher strata of society. The validity of an artist and an architect should be the same.
5. What are your views on the creative arts and the digital-age?
At MCAST, 95% of our courses are heavily dependent on digital equipment and digital apps. However, the digital age also creates challenges especially among adult educators who constantly need to be updated with technology. The need for constant training and people with skills is becoming ever-more persistent.
6. What is an inspiring story that you have come across?
An idea was proposed to the Coordinator of Student Support Services, which became a collective effort. A ‘shop’ was organised at school that included stuff that lecturers got from home. The things could be taken by the students themselves and free-of-charge. The shop was promoted as an eco-shop, the idea of re-using being at the forefront. This had an underlying factor, to help the students in need. The amount of things that the lecturers got was amazing. It was so successful that when the students took something, they left something of their own in return. In fact, it has already been held three times!
7. What would you recommend to a person who would like to start working within the creative arts industry?
Imagination, perseverance and to remain totally human.