Arts and culture practitioners from the Global South came together in South Africa in September 2014 to launch an initiative aimed at facilitating South to South collaboration and amplifying southern voices in the global discourse on arts and culture policy.
Fourteen representatives from Africa, the Arab region, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific joined together to begin planning an ambitious southern-led project, and to participate in mini-summits and public conversations in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The expertise of the delegates ranged widely. The group included artists, authors, photographers, arts managers, theatre managers and high-level representatives of funding agencies, NGOs, and IGOs.
The events in South Africa were coordinated by the African Arts Institute in response to the identified need for artists, cultural activists, cultural NGOs and creative enterprises from the Global South to meet, to consider the global context and their respective experiences, and to set and assert an agenda more aligned to their (not necessarily homogenous) interests and perspectives.
In events held with members of the public, the international delegates discussed a wide range of themes including artist mobility, the impact of geopolitical events on arts and culture, the implications of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, new opportunities for joint projects, and meaningful arts and culture policies that have been adopted by certain national governments. Also discussed was the global push for the inclusion of culture in the post 2015 development agenda.
These themes and others will be areas of focus for this Global South initiative as it begins to take shape over the coming months and years.