Sunday 30 April 2017

‘I went to London to attend a training organised by the King’s College. The title was Leading Culture in the 21st Century and it took place from the 6-17 April. This was the first time the King’s College organised this course we were 20 participants who all worked in the culture sector.

‘Half of the participants were leaders of very big cultural institutions like museums, theatres and etc. The other halves were representatives of independent and small and experimental organisations.

‘The opportunity came through the British Council and I received a bursary from the King’s College which enabled me to cover the costs to attend the training.

‘I am working in the cultural sector and when you go to London you can only be impressed about things happening there as everything is so fast and quick. It is like everything is happening right there in London! The city is indeed a very powerful centre attracting every kind of people from everywhere!

'I also saw that Londoners are very good at creating and opening air and spaces and creating new synergy.

‘Wonderful organisations and professionals were in the training and we all got connected in a very short time. We all had similar visions and we were so related that, in just two days’ time I was thinking that I want to live with these people around me.

‘The speakers were so impressive! Justin Simon, deputy mayor for the cultural and creative industry impressed us with how, in London, the mayor has a policy for the development of culture and there is a 25 years strategy!

‘There was also a great speech from the British Council Director for Theatre and Dance, Neil Webb.

‘I was also especially impressed by Judd Caley, who is an Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre. Her work has transformed the South Bank into a lively place. The work was so experimental and she and her staff were challenging themselves. She was at least 60 years old but she had so much passion!

‘Here in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia, we need to do great work. Buildings will not feed our soul. Art is occupying the backstage here. We need to have a reason for why we wake up in the morning. Otherwise, we will just go down and down. If we don’t want to be leftover we need to follow the global trends and creativity is one of the most essential elements in the new economic system. People need to respond to this fast change of society and if Ethiopia is to come up with interesting ideas and be part of this system then the people need to feed the brain.

‘All in all, it had been an inspiring event and I have received a lot of motivation and insight. I believe we need to create a federation of all cultural institutions and all cultural organisations in Ethiopia and this is my takeaway from the training.  

‘For example, we are currently providing a capacity building workshop for circus groups from around Ethiopia and 6 circuses, including Fekat Circus, are involved in this programme. We had a discussion and one of the visions that came out of this workshop was creating a federation of all Ethiopian circuses so that we will have a bigger impact.

‘If we have a collective voice instead of being just individuals we can be heard. We really need to create an inspiration. ‘

East Africa Arts is a British Council run programme that promotes new art, shares skills of creatives and ignites partnerships between the UK and East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan).