Despite the wealth of talent and rich cultural heritage that exists in Sub-Saharan Africa across the whole range of cultural activities, the majority of African nations remain largely marginal players in the cultural industries sector. Large-scale cultural enterprises are few and far between, and a large number of microenterprises operate alongside SMEs, often occupying the lower ends of the value chain and fail to attain economic viability. Numerous studies have stated the importance of the craft sector in employment and wealth creation but new research is needed to evaluate the impact of skills enhancement and enterprise development on social cohesion, community development, local identity and capacity building in the broadest sense. The available statistics focus primarily on the production and consumption of cultural goods that can be priced in the market. This perspective under-represents or completely excludes many of the cultural and social benefits. In fact the data may be said at present to be as much a process of discounting as of counting. How does the design and development of cultural enterprise promote healthier, more productive and satisfying lifestyles? The twentieth century transformed the entire planet from a finite world of certainties to an infinite world of questioning and doubt. Today it is even more necessary to cultivate connections and inter-disciplinary partnerships, for in our climate of rapid change, individuals, communities and societies can adapt to the new and transform their reality only through creative imagination and initiatives. The challenge lies in evolving a ‘bottom-up’ approach in which the objectives of the enterprise are framed through dialogue rather than unilateral, technocratic prescriptions from development agencies. Projects that do not take into account sufficiently the ‘human factor’ have a great chance of failing. Cultural enterprises stand at the crossroads between a subsidy-dependent sector and an economic sector. What are the keys to building the sustainability of these enterprises and optimizing both their economic and social benefits? This paper attempts to provide some answers to this question by examining the constraints faced, and the choices made by cultural entrepreneurs and the role played by the international community in shaping design education and craft enterprise in East and South Africa from the following perspectives: · the tension between skills acquired in the differing educational systems, cultural and physical environments and the ‘euro-centric’ educational model; · the impact and legacy of external expertise, technological aid and financial support · transforming welfare projects to viable enterprises · the centrality of building viable partnerships; · the symbiotic relationship between social, cultural and economic advancement of both the individual and the wider community.
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2007|
|Event||Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA) Conference: 'FLUX: Design Education in a Changing World - Cape Town, South Africa|
Duration: 1 Oct 2007 → …
|Conference||Design Education Forum of Southern Africa (DEFSA) Conference: 'FLUX: Design Education in a Changing World|
|Period||1/10/07 → …|