Global Challenges Academy

Networking Opportunities for Artists in EastAfrica

Networking New Opportunities for Artists in East Africa

  • Goal 1: No Poverty
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Partnered with: University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh; Makerere University, Uganda; British Council Kenya, Kenya; African Arts Trust, United Kingdom; 32 Degrees Ugandan Arts Trust, Uganda; Uganda Com Art Skill Develop & Recycling, Uganda
  • Region: East Africa

Creative industries are a key area of growth for East Africa, but investment in the creative sector is still needed for artists to establish a career and build sustainable livelihoods.

How we are meeting this challenge

This project is addressing the obstacles artists face in East Africa who want to build sustainable careers and decent livelihoods. Developing a series of network workshops which will facilitate artists and arts organisations to scope and define tangible new opportunities and career pathways.

It will develop thematic challenges identified by participants, addressing them from many perspectives. It will also and share the knowledge and experience of East African scholars, artists, art professionals, policy makers, audiences, and the international research team.

Uganda sustainable livelihoods

Who will benefit

National Culture Policy in Uganda identified the potential for the cultural industries to create employment opportunities and produce economic gains at all levels, promoting creativity and expressing messages that foster understanding and peace. While the East African Community Creative and Cultural Industries Bill was passed in 2015 to boost economic opportunities for artists, since then little has come from it.

This project led by Dr Andrew Burton is working to enhance the careers and livelihoods of artists in East Africa by the ‘setting up of networks in culture’. The aim is to benefit participants in the project, the visual artists and arts organisations active in East Africa.

The workshops part of the project will focus on practical methods and strategies for practitioners to improve their livelihoods, sharing experience and gaining new knowledge of:

  • potential benefits of collaboration
  • professional development
  • mentoring
  • entrepreneurship
  • opportunities offered by new modes of art production
  • working in the public-realm

The project will help visual arts organisations, funders and policy makers gain new knowledge through discussion about new strategies for artists' careers, and hear ideas from the artists themselves. This will inform future strategy and organisations will gain new understanding of the relevance and potential application of academic research to their activities.

There will be six on-site commissions that will give network participants and audiences an opportunity to engage with contemporary art made in response to specific environments, including museum and heritage contexts. This could stimulate future interest in and enjoyment of the contemporary arts and their appreciation of the relevance of creativity in East Africa.

The project anticipates that proceedings will generate ambitious long term ideas that would benefit from further development support from regional and international sources. Researchers are interested in working with new collaborators in the arts and academia to contribute to future research that responds to opportunities to capture this support.

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Project team

  • Dr Andrew Burton, Newcastle University
  • Dr Robert Lowry Newbery, Newcastle University
  • Dr Joost Fontein, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Lilian Mary Nabulime, Makerere University, Uganda
  • British Council Kenya, Kenya
  • African Arts Trust, United Kingdom
  • 32 Degrees Ugandan Arts Trust, Uganda
  • Uganda Com Art Skill Develop & Recycling, Uganda

Let's work together

If you're interested in working with us on a future research project, or would like to collaborate, email us today: global.challenges@ncl.ac.uk