Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, says the possibility of Barbadians tapping into the global animation industry is “very real”, and offers opportunities for engaging the island’s bilateral partners.
Senator McClean shared her views on the $250 billion industry with the media following a tour of the Animation MVQ Level 2 training programme, at the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity’s (BIMAP) lab on Harbour Road.
The programme is offered through a partnership with BIMAP and local digital content production company, West Toonz.
“When we think of animation we think of anime and we think of Japan; we think of what happens in Canada, but … I believe that there are several resources and opportunities we can tap into to ensure the dreams of these young persons are realised and that they are able to partner with established companies to subcontract and to produce,” she stated.
She added that with the advent of technology, Barbadians interested in pursuing a career in the industry would have an opportunity to be global citizens and connect with the world without leaving the island.
The Foreign Affairs Minister noted that the just-concluded Barbados Network Consultation featured several discussions on the animation industry, and explained that it was not just a “conceptual exercise”, but an opportunity for Barbadians who have an interest in graphics, art or information technology to combine their different skills and talents to develop animation.
Senator McClean indicated that she would formalise opportunities through her Ministry and take advantage of the potential or existing agreements with Barbados’ bilateral partners to explore training opportunities for the fledgling sector.
Chief Executive Officer of West Toonz, Curtis Padmore, explained that there were persons interested in the animation industry but they believed that artistic talent was required.
“This is a long way away from Walt Disney drawing on paper and having flipping papers; this is a very computer driven industry, and as you look around the lab, these are high-powered machines that are running the fastest processers…learning the rudiments of computer software, Mathematics, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). [They] all facilitate your ability to enter the animation industry; it’s not purely artistic talent anymore,” he emphasised.