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January 30 2017

Arterial Network Turns 10 and Moves to Abidjan

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Arterial Network will be celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of the network with a variety of activities in Abidjan, Ivory Coast taking place over Friday the 10th and Saturday the 11th of March 2017. From the 1st of February 2017, the network’s Secretariat, that has hitherto been based in Cape Town (South Africa), will also be based in Abidjan, after an agreement was signed with MASA Côte d'Ivoire, the Market for African Performing Arts, for a co-working space in the city known as ‘the Paris of West Africa.’ With the celebration of their first decade and with the imminent relocation, the network is turning over a new leaf by demonstrating its renewed vigour and purpose.

10 Year Anniversary
Established in 2007 during a conference on Gorée Island (Senegal) as a vehicle to support the arts and cultural sector in Africa, Arterial Network has both learned from a few setbacks (political, financial, logistical etc) and experienced a great number of successes while fulfilling its substantial mandate. The organisation has managed to overcome many significant dividers, such as language, cultural divides and limited mobility across borders, by constantly evolving to suit the most recent circumstances.

Today, the network has renewed its promise to its membership, partners and funders by reaffirming its primary goals and tightening its ship with a view to greater success in the years to come. According to the network’s continental Chairperson, Mamou Daffe (Mali), "Art, through our imagination, is a tool that opens the field for possibilities, allowing change... art is change, this is the future..." After all, the network is built on the shoulders of individuals who, at their core, are passionate about arts and culture and their potential for development in Africa - a belief that they have defended despite the numerous challenges they continue to face.

With diverse members and partners across multiple fields, such as artists, activists, cultural policy experts, arts educators and human rights organisations, Arterial Network has made great strides in advancing change with regards to a number of contentious issues, such as limited access to art markets, limited capacity in terms of project management, arts marketing and fundraising, and differing circumstances for artist’s rights to express themselves creatively without fear of retribution. In the past 10 years, a network of cultural infrastructure has been laid that now promotes regional collaborations, sharing of knowledge and art practices, as well as an increase in academic research that has delved into the continent to raise the status of the African perspective on their own arts and cultural sector - eschewing research that previously had been led by the Global North.

The Anniversary celebrations will be held in Abidjan over the 10th and 11th of March 2017. The two-day event will gather representatives from the network’s national chapters and affiliates, as well as invited guests, such as funders, artists, and major African arts and cultural experts.

During the course of the General Council in Harare in October 2016, it was voted that the Arterial Network Secretariat office would be moved out of South Africa to another African country. After months of careful consideration, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, was selected to host the Secretariat and an agreement was signed with MASA Côte d'Ivoire to share an office space.

The move will ensure that the Secretariat staff are ‘closer to the action’ and will ease their ability to travel across the continent as required in order to support the network’s members and aims. Similarly, they will benefit from working closely with a well-respected West African arts organisation who will doubtless have much to share about their practice and their region.

To read more about the history of Arterial Network’s origins, click here

If you are a member of the press and would like to download a press release with more information about Arterial Network, please click here.

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