Founded in 1983 by an Act of Parliament, the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) is a statutory body tasked with overseeing the cultural landscape of Barbados. During the first two years of operation, it worked in areas of community development and culture. The island was at that time divided into seven zones, each with a field officer (now referred to as Cultural Officers) who had the responsibility of implementing development programmes within their respective zones and coordinating Crop Over Activities. These field officers were also responsible for supervising the staff at each of the island’s community centers and scheduling and timetabling the use of the centers.
The management team of the NCF comprises of the Chief Executive Officer, Manager of Administration, Chief Cultural Officer, Finance Officer, Marketing Officer, Senior Business Development Officer and Technical Officer and their mission is to fuel the development of culture through training, research and the creation of opportunities in cultural industries. The organization has both a developmental and commercial role in society:
- Developmental Role – involves the NCF using culture as a tool for national development and supporting various art forms and new cultural products.
- Commercial Role – the NCF is responsible for the promotion, production and hosting of cultural festivals and related events (including major governmental and national events). The two biggest cultural festivals promoted by the NCF are Crop Over and the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
In addition to its two major roles in the development and commercial aspects of culture in Barbados, the NCF has several functions and objectives:
- To stimulate and facilitate the development of culture generally;
- To develop, maintain and manage theatres and other cultural facilities and equipment provided by Government;
- To organize cultural festivals;
- To assist persons interested in developing cultural expression.
- To provide opportunities for Barbadian artists/artistes to showcase their talents with the end result being an increased demand for local work;
- To educate Barbadians concerning their heritage;
- To offer Barbadians and visitors alike a high quality cultural product that informs, educates and entertains;
- To equip our cultural workforce with technological skills and training to excel in their particular art forms;
- To strengthen the local cultural product and in the process increase profits to the shareholders;
- To create high quality products that will be competitive on the local, regional and international markets;
- To maximize the role of the cultural sector in the tourism industry.
The NCF is located in West Terrace, St. James and is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. They can be contacted via telephone at 417-6610 and more information can be found on their website, www.ncf.bb.