British Council’s scoping reports prove culture matters

Arts and Culture professionals in Kenya will be delighted to know that the British Council is looking to partner and nurture local talent in a three year program

Dignitaries and arts and culture personalities congregated at the British Council in May last year, for the organization’s 2015 to 2018 arts and culture programme launch. “Kenya has been identified as a creative economy programme priority country, and we will receive three years of funding to deliver a range of activities, events, workshops under the creative economy programme,” said Tony Reilly who is the British Council Director.

The council researched East Africa’s arts scene, which is captured in three reports that informed the council’s new three year initiative. Findings from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia are documented in Scoping The Creative Economy In East Africa, Scoping The Visual Arts Scene in East Africa and Scoping The East African Music Sector. Kenya’s Sports, Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary Dr Hassan Wario, officially unveiled the three year programme and the reports, including ‘Culture Matters’ from the Edinburgh International Culture Summit report (2014).

Some of Kenya’s weaknesses according to the British Council’s scoping reports include: training, funding, cohesive structures, creative education and connection. Emerging strengths are listed as ICT hubs, socially focused start-ups, SMS messaging, and the visual arts to name a few. “We will seek out those exploring the frontiers between culture, enterprise and technology and support new collaborations, learning and policy development in Kenya. This is a clarion call for i-hubbers, and the inhabitants of silicone savannah,” Reilly stated at the launch.

“The primary focus of our engagement over the next three years would be with next generation Kenyan artists and audiences. We will maximize the opportunities to engage young artists, and new audiences through the social media and digital channels in many of our projects,” explained Tony Reilly, adding: “We believe firmly as an organization, that a shared experience in the arts contributes vitally to the development of societies, to shared prosperity and critically to mutual attraction,” said Tony Reilly.