Developing step 2 in Nairobi programme

In Nairobi, Kenya, meeting with the people from the GoDown Art Centre and now developing step two of the educational programme ”Reaping the value out of your artistic creativity”.

GoDown Art Centre and Nätverkstan have cooperated since 2009 on workshops and developing ideas of how to build a capacity-building programme for artists and cultural entrepreneurs in East Africa. Professional artists from different art forms, university professors, directors, managers, and others from the cultural scene have been involved in building the content of the programme so that it will fill the needs found by the sector in the context of East Africa.

In the developing process Sian Prime at Goldsmiths University has been involved, also Kenya Polytechnic University in Nairobi, British Council, and Swedish Institute.

The result has been tested in two pilot programmes of 10 weeks that were run in 2012, each with around

30 emerging and professional artists in each group. And now we are gathering again to continue the journey of developing step 2 of the programme.

And I can’t help but think of the article in the new issue of the Art journal Paletten in Sweden about a week before leaving for Kenya. The article is arguing that all talk of entrepreneurship within the art is a sign of instrumentalization and the economization of the art, a result of this are courses on art and entrepreneurship at the university.

It’s necessary to always argue for the role of art and culture in society, and rightly being critical to some processes and initiatives. But to wipe away all efforts on trying to find useful ways to tackle artist’s reality as freelancers and how to deal with their livelihood as neo-liberalism is a little far-fetched. It can only be said by someone who doesn’t have to worry about money.

The reality in Kenya (and Sweden) is that you have to try to find ways to balance your artistic practice with income so bills can be paid and food put on the table. Some do this by trying to live on their art, some do this by finding bread jobs and pursuing the artistic practice and career on their free time. Solutions are many.

It’s not about becoming just like any other business, instead it’s the opposite. It’s about putting efforts into finding ways forward that works within the artistic field and for your artistic practice.

Reading the evaluations from the two pilots, participants seem to agree.

Leave a Reply