In September 2016, we were chosen by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to develop a music strategy for the most musical island in the world: Cuba. The project has been going on since then, and it has been one of the most amazing and challenging projects. I have met incredible professionals and the most talented musicians. The project is funded by the Korean Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and is supported by the Cuban Ministry of Culture.
The project consists of a series of workshops, roundtables and conferences that have taken Sound Diplomacy to Cuba on seven occasions, and there are still two more to come! Five members of our team and two external experts on sound engineering and IP law have travelled over to Cuba, and we have visited three different cities so far, with two more to come. We have all learnt a lot from the Cuban music industry, and have thoroughly enjoyed each trip.
Alongside this, the project has taken me to Mu:Con, in Seoul, to join a Cuban trade mission to the Korean capital. And we have also been with some of our Cuban friends in Barcelona and at Music Cities Convention Berlin.
During the project we have spoken with many representatives from the main music organisations on the island, learning about the challenges and assets of the music sector and discussing the opportunities and how they see the future of music in Cuba. From these conversations, we have developed a series of recommendations, some of which are being implemented at the moment. These recommendations cover everything from music education and skills to internationalisation or digitalisation. We also designed the first steps for a music city strategy in Santiago de Cuba, a music paradise on the Oriental side of the island.
You can find more information on the project here.