Kampala, Uganda. 2014.
“…Development, wherever I’ve seen it, has never actually resulted in emancipation for the people being developed.” – Shahidul Alam
Three international campaigners, DRIK founder and photographer Shahidul Alam, academic Dr. Cresantia Frances Koya Vaka’uta and playwright Mike van Graan, explore how the arts can be used for development in more imaginative ways and the need for more South to South dialogue.
Can writers and arts organisations be more effective in putting culture on the political agenda as a driver of sustainable development? Chair Ellah Allfrey opens the debate.
Shahidul Alam is a photographer, writer, curator and activist. He set up the award-winning Drik agency and Pathshala, the South Asian Media Institute. Director of the Chobi Mela festival and chairman of Majority World agency, his work has been shown worldwide. Commenting on Shahidul’s recent book My Journey as a Witness, John Morris, picture editor of Life Magazine said, “One of the most important books ever created by a photographer, and it goes far beyond photography.”
Cresantia Frances Koya Vaka’uta is a lecturer in Education at the University of the South Pacific. Her research interests include Protest Poetry and Pacific Research and Evaluation. A poet and artist, she is interested in the role that the arts can play in formal and non–formal education with reference to issues of resilience, sustainability and crisis in the Pacific islands.
Mike van Graan is an award-winning playwright and Executive Director of the Cape Town based African Arts Institute (AFAI). AFAI’s mission is to develop leadership for Africa’s creative sector and to build regional markets for African artists. He was Secretary General of Arterial Network, a pan-African network of artists and cultural activists and is a Technical Expert on UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and Associate Playwright of Artscape in South Africa.
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey is an editor, critic and broadcaster. She was Deputy Editor of Granta magazine and Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. She sits on the boards of English PEN and the Writers’ Centre Norwich and is Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize for African Writing. She is a regular contributor to the book pages of NPR. A Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Ellah was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the publishing industry. UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.