Jenny advises on the pilot programme of Arterial Network’s African Creative Cities in Harare (Zimbabwe)
On May 1st-5th, on the margin of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Arterial Network’s pilot programme (2016-2018) on African Creative Cities was launched in Harare (Zimbabwe).
On May 1st, acting as the scientific adviser for the programme, Jenny was invited to lead a preliminary meeting workshop with the team of Harare Creative Cities to discuss the implication of the project for the city. Different representatives of cultural and creative organisations from the civil society attended, with the common objectives of furthering the development of cultural spaces and eventually the creation of an urban cultural policy. The latter is especially significant in a context where the official framework regulating the intervention of arts and culture at the level of the local government still dates from Rhodesia times.
On May 4th, the official launch of the pilot programme took place in the presence of the president of the steering committee Arterial Network Continental, Mamou Daffe, at the creative hub Moto Republik. The event was well attended by the actors of Harare’s cultural scene, the media and press, and cooperation services. While Jenny gave a presentation of the pilot programme and what ‘creative city’ could imply for a city as Harare, Mamou reminded of the importance of a strong committment and engagement of the civil society in this process.
Arterial Network’s African Creative Cities Programme draws on the experience of Ségou (Mali) and its Festival sur le Niger (Mamou Daffe being the founding director), and is resolutely engaged in investing in arts and culture as both a vector and pillar of sustainable local development. Indeed, the project is primarily based on the engaged commitment of the civil society. The vision of the programme is to develop a network of cities that have a creative and vibrant cultural life, responsive to their citizens, accessible to all, while effectively supporting local human and economic development and diversity. To achieve this vision, the programme intends to facilitate cooperation and partnership between local authorities and the civil society, in a way that contributes to the development and implementation of arts and cultural policies, strategies and programmes in African cities.
Organised around three main pillars that are capacity-building, advocacy and networking, the main objective is to encourage each city to develop a cultural policy or a strategy for the development of culture through a network of creative cities based on the specific cultural identities of the city. After a call for application, five cities located in each region of the continent already committed to lead this pilot programme, through the intermediary of local organisations of the civil society: Harare (Southern Africa); Mahé (East Africa); Nouakchott (North Africa) Pointe Noire (Central Africa); and naturally Ségou (West Africa). While in May the programme was launched in Harare; in June it will be the turn of Pointe Noire in the framework of Nsangu Ndji Ndji Festival; mid-June in Mahé Victoria; and in July, Nouakchott during the Assalamalekoum Festival.