From creative potential to creative economies: Creating viable business models for African arts and culture
On a global scale, creative industries have demonstrated continued growth, even during times of recession and crisis and contributed significantly to the economy. Africa’s art-and creative landscapes have seen exciting developments in the past years that contributed to their visibility on regional- as well as on a global level. In many cases, creative industries such as the South African music- or the Nigerian film industry already constitute important economic sectors in their countries. Still, much of the overall potential of the sector remains untapped. Transforming this creative potential into a vibrant cultural economy requires innovative concepts. Furthermore, the economic potential of the industry needs to be fully recognised in order to unlock its vast potential.
Besides the direct contribution of the creative industries to economic growth, arts and culture can have knock-on effects on the wider economy through interactions with other sectors and can therefore make a valuable contribution towards diversifying economic growth. Furthermore, developing and recognising skill-based arts and culture can have wider positive social- and environmental implications. In light of the overall conference theme, this panel therefore aims to explore the transformative potential arts and culture hold for building resilient African economies and the business opportunities arising from this. This panel therefore aims to discuss the following key topics:
Moderator: Ronke Lawal, CEO, Ariatu PR
Ronke was born in Hackney, East London of Nigerian parentage. Having graduated with honours from Lancaster University and the University of Richmond Virginia (USA) with a degree in International Business (Economics), she started her own PR and marketing business in 2004. In 2011 Ronke Lawal was honoured to receive a Precious Award for Inspirational Leadership. In January 2010, Ronke became the Chief Executive of the Islington Chamber of Commerce where she remained until the end of 2012 and became a Non-Executive Director of The Hoxton Apprentice in 2011. She joined the Board of Trustees of Voluntary Action Islington in 2012 where she is also a Director of The Voluntary Action Academy and is currently on The Employers Panel for the National Employment Savings Trust. She is a Mentor for The Cherie Blair Foundation and for The Elevation Networks Start Ups Initiative. She is currently on a Board Member of TRiBE, An Empowerment not for profit organisation which aims to give young black women opportunities to thrive. Apart from her active business interests, her varied passions outside the businessworld include food, travel, music, literature and most importantly living a life she loves. Her love for food led her to create The ‘Who’s For Dinner?’ food blog, www.whosfordinner.com. Ariatu PR represents clients in a variety of industries including the entertainment, fashion, lifestyle & beauty, food and luxury goods sectors with a particular interest in the Africa/Caribbean Diaspora community.
DJ Abrantee, Radio Presenter, Capital Xtra UK & TV Personality
Abrantee is one of to the UK’s biggest and most influential Urban Radio DJ and TV personalities. He has established himself as one of the most recognisable voices and personalities on the urban and African music scene and most notable the newly emerging Afrobeats music scene across UK. Abrantee presents the weekday Drive Time and the Afrobeats show on the radio station CapitalXtra. He also hosts “The Abrantee show” a brand new, thirty-minute television entertainment program. Abrantee furthermore hosted some of the biggest musical festivals and events with the likes of Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Dbanj and T-Pain and has held exclusive interviews on both radio and television. Amongst his grand catalogue of prominent interviews Abrantee has hosted events headlined by African stars such as P Square, 2Face R2Bees, Atumpan, Olu Maintain, Ice Prince, D-Black, Wizkid and others. In 2014, Abrantee received the biggest award in UK radio as the ‘Radio Personality’ of the year at the BEFFTA’s and was nominated for Best DJ at the 2014 Urban Music Awards. Abrantee also adds a BEFFTA Honorary award for his outstanding contribution and pioneering work for the growing Afrobeats Music scene in the UK.
Minna Salam, Founder, MsAfropolitan
Minna is an award-winning writer, blogger and commentator. She is the founder of the pan-African feminist blog, MsAfropolitan, where she writes about African popular culture, arts, mythology and social criticism. She is a member of Duke University’s Corporate Educator Network and the Guardian Africa Network. Her commentary is featured in The Guardian, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.
Claude Grunitzky, Founder of TRACE Magazine, & Co-founder TRUE Media
Claude is the founder of TRACE, and co-founder/chairman of TRUE, a New York and London-based transcultural marketing agency. In February 2003, Grunitzky and two business partners completed a multimillion-dollar financing deal led by Goldman Sachs Group. As a result, the TRACE brand is now being leveraged globally across various television, event and interactive platforms. TRACE, which now reaches an audience of more than 80 million people across 150 countries, was successfully sold to a French investor group in July 2010. Grunitzky was raised between Lomé, Togo; Washington, DC; Paris and London. Growing up, Grunitzky, who speaks six languages and carries three passports, was exposed to many different cultures. These foreign interactions shaped his transcultural philosophy and informed the creative energy of his media ventures. Grunitzky is also the founder of TRUE AFRICA, a new MIT-incubated media venture. An MIT Sloan Fellow and a French American Foundation Young Leader, Grunitzky sits on the board of Humanity in Action, a foundation that works internationally to build global leadership, defend democracy, protect minorities and improve human rights. The recipient of many distinctions, he was named a finalist for the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2007.
Nosarieme Garrick, Founder, MyAfricaIs Documentary Series
Nosarieme is passionate to expose the rapid cultural and technological advancements exploding among the youth in Africa. A citizen of the world, with roots in Nigeria and the United States, she focuses on African culture as a writer. Her articles helped establish new ties between the establishment and young African political, economic, technological and cultural leaders. In 2010, she founded Vote or Quench, a youth empowerment campaign educating young Nigerians on the importance of their vote in local and national elections. Nosarieme also spearheaded the live production of the first youth-centered presidential debate. Before starting My Africa Is as a web-based series, she interned with the Economist newspaper and was mentored by the company’s CEO on the business of media. Nosarieme lives to tell stories of young people living, thriving, inspiring and connecting the World community through My Africa Is.