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November 02 2016

General Council 2016 | A Decisive Turn for a New Arterial Network

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#ANGC2016 #weareArterial #noussommesArterial

Revitalisation, emulation, cooperation and solidarity are the overarching themes that are set to define the next chapter of Arterial Network following the General Council meeting held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare, from the 28th to the 29th of October 2016.

The annual gathering that saw the participation of representatives from fourteen countries (Mauritania, Morocco, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Togo, Seychelles, Uganda, Central African Republic, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe) allowed key members of the network to lay the foundations for a new Arterial network, inspiring debate on new directions to take with renewed energy.

Resolutions and Relocation
The General Council meeting opened on the 28th of October with a welcome address by Arterial Network Chairperson, Mamou Daffe, followed by brief introductions by each national chapter of the network, describing their activities of the past year. After a series of reports on 2016 by the Chairperson, Treasurer and Finance Manager, the floor was opened to delegates to discuss resolutions and recommendations going forward. The biggest decision taken, ratified by a vote put to the General Assembly, was to move the Arterial Network Secretariat office from South Africa to another African country which is still to be determined. Twelve countries voted in favour of the relocation of the Continental Secretariat to another African capital - with only Swaziland and South Africa voting against.

Another major discussion point was the commitment to increase female representation within the network. This proposed resolution will be amended to the Arterial Network Constitution at the Biennial Conference in 2017. In the meantime, chapters and affiliates have been called upon to encourage the participation of women within their structures, particularly in leadership positions. This resolution is also in accordance with the African Women Cultural Leadership (AWCL) programme launched in April 2015.

In total, a dozen resolutions were taken and will be supervised by the Executive Committee members: Mamou Daffe, George Camille and Daves Guzha.

During the course of the General Council, the vast majority of discussions centred on the situation of national chapters and affiliates who remain the lifeblood of the network, as well as the specific actions necessary in order to make a real impact on the arts and cultural sector in Africa. Mamou Daffe hammered home that: “Development is an action, it depends on our ability to act... let us work together to improve our performance... both connection and action are the keys.”

The second day of the General Council focused on the continental programmes, namely Capacity Building (SHIRIKA, AWCL and Cultural Management), Artwatch Africa, and Information Dissemination and Communications. The multiple successes at National Chapter level were also detailed by representatives from Mali, Nigeria, Congo Brazzaville and Zimbabwe.

10th Anniversary and Programmes
Over the first nine years, Arterial Network has developed numerous programmes and has successfully positioned itself as an arts and cultural reference point on the continent. That being said, it has been acknowledged that many challenges still exist and new paths need to be forged.

Over the coming years, activities will revolve around three major Arterial Network programmes, namely Capacity Building, Advocacy (through Artwatch Africa) and Creative Cities. As announced at the General Council by Dr. Jenny Mbaye, the Creative Cities programme will be launched in four (4) different cities in 2017: Harare (Zimbabwe), Pointe Noire (Congo Brazzaville), Mahé (Seychelles) and Nouakchott (Mauritania). The selection of these four cities was made after the call for applications made in September 2016.

Many other activities will complement the network’s calendar for 2017, including regional meetings to enhance networking and collaboration between national chapters and affiliates. One of the biggest events planned for 2017 will be the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Arterial Network on Gorée Island (Senegal) in March 2017. This meeting will mark a turning point and reunite cultural actors and partners who have supported, and continue to work for, the future wellbeing of the network.

Contemplating the future with renewed confidence, Arterial Network is fully invested and led by a pure pan-African vision, making use of the strongest tool in its arsenal: its creativity.

"Art, through our imagination, is a tool that opens the field for possibilities, allowing change... art is change, this is the future..." - Mamou Daffe

Photos: Takudzwa Chihambakwe, Adafest/ Arterial Network Senegal and Walaha WebTV

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