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July 20 2017

Cultural Management Training | An all-round success for Arterial Network in Abidjan

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Following the celebration of Arterial Network’s 10th anniversary in Abidjan in March, the economic capital of Côte d'Ivoire once again hosted continental representatives of the network - this time for a regional training programme. From the 10th to the 13th of July, Arterial Network hosted a Cultural Management workshop at the National Higher Institute of Arts and Cultural Action (Institut National Supérieur des Arts et de l’Action Culturelle, INSAAC).

The workshop focused on the practical aspects of cultural management and emphasised the importance of the act of sharing experiences for participants to learn from real-life case studies. The workshop was led by Luc Mayitoukou (Adafest/ Arterial Network Senegal), who was assisted by Jean-Luc Gbati Sonhaye (Arterial Network Togo) and Diana Ramarohetra (Project Manager - Artwatch Africa).

Several speakers were invited to share their expertise and experience with the trainees. The first was José da Silva who is an editor, consultant and producer. He is also the manager for the Cape Verdean singer, Cesária Évora, and currently the head of Sony Music in West Africa. In order to give the participants insight into the business of music, he elaborated on the positions of artist manager, artist agent and tour manager, and introduced various tools of the trade, such as performance technical sheets, artist contracts etc. He also gave useful practical advice to the participants on how to succeed as an arts manager, through the effective management of artist-manager relationships and how to develop relationships with show promoters.

On the second day of the workshop, José da Silva delved into the digital tools used for the diffusion and promotion of musical products. He touched on the history of commercial sound recordings: from the first music rolls through to vinyl and the compact disc, finally culminating in digital mediums. The importance of social networks is universally acknowledged for generating a following for artists. Although some African countries have still not caught up with these innovations, it is now possible to sell artistic works to the four corners of the globe through the use of online platforms. Streaming is expected to upset the current balance in the future as the technology continues to upgrade. Its development may even cause radio and television to disappear entirely. To illustrate this last point, Luc Mayitoukou, the Manager of ZHU Culture, introduced his digital distribution platform with examples of some of the artists who have already signed with him. The presentation led into a discussion about the importance of recording accurate metadata, particularly for websites and software that pool multiple online resources together, known as aggregators.

Zié Coulibaly, the Deputy Director of the French Institute of Côte d'Ivoire who is also a teacher at INSAAC and a former administrator for the African Performing Arts Market (Marché des Arts du Spectacles Africain, MASA), discussed the issue of finance for arts and cultural projects. He presented on both market-type and institutional funding, as well as various best practices for the financial management of projects.

Seydou Koné, Director of Live Entertainment at the French Institute of Côte d'Ivoire, shared tips on risk management for arts and culture. The participants were introduced to the project risk pyramid, including factors such as delays, increased costs, materials, fire or other emergencies, HR issues etc. After identifying the possible risks, he discussed the various precautions to be taken before, during and after a public performance.

The practical side of the risk management module in arts and culture was enriched by a group field trip to the French Institute. Once on site, Seydou Koné and Zié Coulibaly demonstrated how the institute’s theatre is run. Following this outing, the participants visited the seat of MASA in Plateau, Abidjan, which is also the new headquarters of Arterial Network.

Jean-Luc Gbati Sonhaye facilitated a session on Arts Fundraising, assisted by Professor Yacouba Konaté (writer, museum curator, professor of Philosophy at the University of Cocody in Abidjan, art critic and the current president of MASA). Drawing from a wealth of experience in the field of culture and art, he emphasised the importance of planning. He encouraged the participants to clarify their plan of action up front and to be wary of false leads within the field of culture. According to him, the project sheet, or project plan, solidifies a project and makes it more sustainable, especially when it addresses the challenges and deficiencies of comparable projects on the scene. The arts and cultural sector is known for its flexibility. After all, competition can be conducive to the success of a cultural project. Professor Konaté explained that, "Everything is gradual; we have to build up gradually, to project ourselves forward by analysing the needs of the market and offering competitive products." Responding to a question about the influence of politics in cultural management, he said, "It is not politics that will solve cultural or economic problems,” before adding that "it is necessary to understand the function of local economies and their reality in order to be able to grow within the existing economic model at first." Professor Konaté also offered advice on how to lobby for funding for cultural projects.

The three-day training workshop ended with a closing ceremony for the participants, with certificates awarded by Professor Yacouba Konaté. The ceremony included members of the Ivorian and Togolese press.

Article written by the Association Heinrich Klose, Togo

Photo Credit

1, 3, 4, 6 - Arterial Network
2 - Evan Gnandi
5 - Evan N'yaa

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