The Creative Industries of Cambodia Association for Development and Advocacy (CICADA) has recently recruited eight candidates as its first-ever group of Stand for Culture Fellowship recipients.
As part of the fellowship, they will hold a workshop and give a presentation that focuses on cultural policies in Cambodia and across the region and rally support for the artistic and cultural sectors and the creative industry.
In an interview with The Post recently, So Phina, a member of CICADA’s steering committee, explained the criteria they used for awarding the fellowships as well as the benefits and obligations that come with them.
What exactly is CICADA and what are some of its programmes?
CICADA is a newly registered association whose vision is to see a more diversified Cambodian society with the cultural and creative sectors here properly valued and achieving growth toward their highest potential.
CICADA aims to represent and seek support for the creative and cultural industries for an inclusive and sustainable development that ensures that the creative and cultural industries are at the heart of economic and social policy decisions.
Currently, CICADA has two major programmes: The Stand for Culture Fellowships and two research projects that focus on identifying talented human resources in the cultural sector.
The Stand for Culture Fellowship focuses on cultural policy and rallying public support. The programme aims to increase knowledge about how to cultivate human resources in the fields of arts and culture, both as fans of art and to rally support for the arts.
The aim of the programme is that the fellowship recipients gain knowledge of the Kingdom’s ecosystem of cultural policy and gain experience with lobbying for support.
The programme provides the recipients with key skills for work relating to public relations as well as experience and easy-to-apply skills in collecting data and then analyzing and using that data, building a network, building arts communities, and forging partnerships with actors in other development sectors so that they can work together and support each other.
Who are the eight recipients of the Stand for Culture Fellowships?
Iem Tithseiha is an imaginative writer and filmmaker. He is an artist who wants to show the public how to unleash the imagination and he is also a student of sociology, history, psychology and politics.
Lach Ratana is a translator, writer and editor from Battambang province who graduated from the University of Media and French and then worked in journalism until 2006, when she started a career as a documentary filmmaker. She’s also a document analyst at Bophana Centre and a translator and writer for the French NGO Sipar.
Sang Sokserey is a rapper, content creator and songwriter for Production 208 and a producer of original music for “Phleng” at Smart Mobile. She is a former student with the Tiny Toones NGO who has gained recognition from other hip-hop artists and the public at home and abroad for her music.
Sorn Sokkheang is a journalist and a video producer with more than eight years of experience producing documentary videos and reporting on local business news. Her current project has her looking for subjects for a documentary she has planned that will detail everything about starting a business in Cambodia and building it into a national or even international brand.
Mao Kakada is an official at the National Authority for Sambor Prei Kuk who is in charge of staffing and inventory. In 2015, she graduated with a degree in archaeology from the Royal University of Fine Arts, after which she began working at the Ministry of Culture in a position responsible for the conservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage and coordinating the work of encouraging the ongoing creation of a living national heritage.
Ry Monisovanya, better known as Fia, is an independent artist and designer from Battambang province. Her work has mostly consisted of street performances and paintings that reflect difficult social realities. She is also the founder and director of the Arts and Mental Health Project, which has support from the government and leading NGOs.
Ya Ratha is the Phare Performing Social Enterprise Production Manager. He graduated from Phare’s school in 2013 and took on a promotions coordinator role for their productions. He has also directed many local and international performances for Phare Circus and was one of the primary organizers of the “Tinis Tinus” arts festival.
Mam Senleaphea is the head of administration and human resources at Phare. She has more than 10 years of experience in that role and has worked at Phare since 2015. In 2019, she was the founder of the “Green & Grow” project at Phare that included circus, theater and music performances as well as visual arts and animation with the goal of reducing plastic consumption in the Kingdom.
What were the criteria that you used to choose your candidates or recipients?
We have three judges that participated in scoring the shortlisted candidates. The recipients of Stand for Culture Fellowships are selected based on their work experience in the arts, culture and creative industries, with a strong interest in work related to mobilization of support and, in particular, the candidates will also get further opportunities to become involved in mobilizing support for the art sector through the programme.
What activities will the fellowship recipients be engaged in?
To participate in the Stand for Culture Fellowship, the winners are required to attend four professional workshops that focus on practical skills for collecting information, analyzing it and using that data as well as on team work and making effective presentations. They need to attend an online talk on regional cultural policy by experts from the region.
What can the fellowship winners expect in terms of benefits for themselves or their careers?
Fellowship recipients will get an opportunity to further develop many skills that are essential to their careers in the arts and also gain opportunities for building arts communities, networking in the arts locally and abroad, greater acknowledgement or awareness of their achievements within the creative industries. And, yes, there is also a financial reward paid to each fellowship recipient.