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The second pilot course Creative Entrepreneurship – Reaping the value out of your creative work has just finished its ten weeks program. Around 25 musicians, illustrators, visual artists, sculptors, storytellers, poets and more participated to review their ideas, reflect on their lifecycle, look ahead and finish with an eighteen months plan.
During the course they have had lectures of well-known artists in different art forms telling their lifecycle and sharing their experiences, and courses such as marketing, IP Rights, pricing, and others. On examination day well-known musician Makadem told his story, telling the group that challenges don’t stop. Every level has it’s own challenges, and it never stops.
The pilot program is run by GoDown Arts Centre. Nätverkstan has been one of the partners in building content and preparing for the start of the program with funding from Swedish Institute. The cooperation started in 2009.
Ghanian writer Kojo Laing talks softly but with emphasis. Every word comes from the heart and touches the heart of the audience. It’s the most generous and honest presentation I have heard in many years.
It’s like a curse, he says about writing. He can’t stop. He has tried to stop, but he just can’t.
Coming from a Christian family in Ghana, his father was a priest, and with all his five siblings working within the church, he is the only one being a writer and also in pressing doubt in faith, something that is also topics in many of his books. He leans forward in his chair, looks over the audience, hitting his chest with his hand and asks, insisting on the honesty of this question: Am I a fool? Am I crazy having this doubt? Can anyone in the room say that they are anywhere near the doubt I have?
His writing is anything but a simple process, he tells us. One of the books took eight years to write. He wanted to write Ghanian and English, not for the sake of it, but because he wanted to squeeze out the English from the Ghanian languages. With his hands he shows us the guesture of thoroughly and hard squeezing water from wet laundry. And that took time. He picks up the book, shows it, and looks at it, exhausted. And goes quiet.
He answers each question posed by Kwani Trust Chairman Tom Maliti sometimes with a big smile of a question that he founds on the spot, then continues with a story and sometimes ends abruptly. The room gets quiet a short second before a new line of thought is unfolded.
Kojo Laing is like a ghost in his own country, he describes his situation. His books are mainly published outside of Ghana. But on the question if he would rather write something else, if he got the chance to re-do things, something less controversial that sold many, many copies of his books and made him more famous, his answer is distinct and clear. He couldn’t write anything else. This is what he writes.
A young woman raises her hand and asks what he suggests a young writer should think about pursuing a career as a writer?
Be yourself, is his first answer. Read as much as your brain can contain. The more you read, the more complex you become. And it applies to experience as well. Paradoxical experience. Encourage many identities. It will be needed as the world goes smaller.
And he adds and laughs: And when you get advices you reject them.
Kwani? Litfest 2012 is a yearly literature festival run by Kwani Trust in Nairobi. This year the theme is Conversations with the Horn. Writers, artists in exchange.
Christmas carols are on the schedule this afternoon and on stage of the outdoor assembly hall in the township Kogorocho in Nairobi, the young musicians are in deep concentration practicing for a show later on this week. And a small taste of the concert is given in an open session for whomever who would like to listen. Kids fill up the rows, together with a few others and us guests.
”Making music can make a difference” says Elisabeth Njoroge, Head of the Art of Music Foundation, the Foundation behind the project. Getting the chance to play an instrument, learning music, can actually change peoples lives, she says, and tells us examples of children from the slums who get a chance to play and how that has opened new possibilities and hope for a future.
Ghetto Classics, the project was named by the children, started in 2009 and has become an important contribution in the township. The foundation also runs the National Youth Orchestra in Kenya with the same ambition and conviction:
Music can make a difference in the lives of young Kenyans.
Nätverkstan, together with Ole Lützow-Holm, Assistant Professor at Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg, are in Kenya to work together with GoDown Arts Centre on the education Creative Entrepreneurship. Read more of Nätverkstan’s cooperation in Kenya here.
Last Friday (November 30) Belgrade’s first one-year mentorprogram, Creative Mentoring, was launched at Gallery 12 HUB. Eleven creatives together with there matched mentors gathered for a Kick-off setting off the program.
The ETC-group, formed together with the Swedish Embassy in fall 2011, gather eleven cultural and social entrepreneurs in Belgrade with high ambition to start, build, and pursue their initiatives in and around Serbia within their different professions. The group decided to start a program for mentoring being inspired by the idea of exchange of knowledge and experience which was the base in the Creative Society–project run by the Swedish Embassy last fall.
In April 2012 the group started the discussion around mentorship in a workshop held by Nätverkstan, which followed by a study trip to Sweden, many meetings, a ”dreamlist” of possible mentors, and finally asking high-profile individuals to be mentors for a year.
And last Friday the formal Kick-off set off this interesting project!
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