Publications to empower African arts sector

Adapting the Wheel: Cultural Policies for Africa is one of four publications to be launched by Arterial Network (AN) at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in Zimbabwe.

From the Press release: “Many African countries do not have an arts and culture policy or have an outdated policy. The publications, serving the continental arts and culture community, will be launched at Poetry Café within the Global Quarter venue of HIFA, in Harare, at 12.00 on Wednesday 27 April 2011.The four titles are: Adapting the Wheel, Cultural Policies for Africa; a collection of Contemporary Arts and Culture Discourses: African perspectives; an African Directory on Arts and Culture Information; and an Advocacy and Networking Toolkit.Driven by an Arterial Network Cultural Policy Task Team representing 12 countries, Adapting the Wheel provides a generic cultural policy framework which can be adapted to suit any African country. It is published in English and French.Contemporary Arts and Culture Discourses: African Perspectives is a compilation of seminar papers on cultural policy commissioned by the Arterial Network in 2010. It is the first in a series that Arterial Network intends to bring out annually. “The purpose of the series is to encourage rigorous engagement with debates relating to culture and cultural development, often emanating from beyond Africa, that concern the priorities, strategies, practices and allocation of resources as they affect the African creative sector,” writes compiler Delecia Forbes in her foreword.”It is intended not to contribute to academic discourse and debate for its own sake, but to inform action to change and improve the conditions in which Africans – and particularly artists and the creative sector – have their being,” Forbes ends off.The Directory is based largely on the website www.artsinafrica.com, carrying information on African arts, culture and heritage. A chapter titled Country profiles provides basic arts and culture information about the 53 African states, including national arts councils, public funding agencies, national competitions, festivals, key state and civil society institutions and organisations, educational institutions and media. The Directory also lists main festivals, events and biennals as well as continental and international funding agencies.It was published as a direct result of concerns expressed at the founding conference of the Arterial Network in Senegal in 2007, about the lack of available information.”This publication, together with the cultural framework and the toolkits, will provide arts and culture practitioners across the continent with substantial and practical strategies to build effective and sustainable networks of artists in African countries,” said Mike van Graan, Secretary General of Arterial Network.The Advocacy and Networking Toolkit was compiled from the learnings garnered from two Arterial Network Winter schools, in Cape Town in 2009 and Cameroon in 2010.The toolkits received an enthusiastic response when introduced to representatives from 29 African countries at a third AN Winter School in Bamako, Mali, earlier this month.Arterial Network acknowledges a list of generous sponsors and donors in bringing the above projects to fruition: the DOEN Foundation, Commonwealth Foundation, European Union, Hivos, Mimeta and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”