Professionalizing the cultural sector

Artists participating in a Programme of Artists-in-residence for theatre. Credit: Themacult/ITI Tchad and International Theatre Institute (ITI)


Armed conflict has devastated Chad and has long plunged this land-locked nation into cultural and artistic isolation. In an effort to help revitalize Chad’s cultural industries, the Maoundoh Culture Theatre and the International Theatre Institute organized intensive artistic training and cultural management forums. By mobilizing all cultural sectors and organizing meetings of artists, the initiative helped renew the perception of culture in Chad and professionalize the sector.

They also launched a kiosk and website to promote Chadian music. These activities have assisted scores of cultural professionals to build an artistic network, develop skills, and promote their work. A month-long artists-in-residence programme for musicians and a 45-day theatre-residency brought together local artists, as well as artists from neighboring Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Two public concerts, a music CD, and a DVD of the theatrical performances were produced and are available at the new kiosk, which offers artists a venue to sell their works.

“For a long time, I have been fighting to show my younger brothers that the best things don’t always come from somewhere else,” explained one of the musical trainers, Diego. “Even in Chad, we can do great things.”

His inspiring message is reaching emerging musicians like Kevin Ndiladoum who said the training helped broaden his skills. “I learned other techniques in composition, singing, and in research. On top of that, I shared the experience with many other artists,” he enthused.

The project also organized three cultural management forums for individuals in the music and theatre sectors, a four-day training in administration and management for cultural enterprises, and a

During the trainings, forums and residency programmes, participants established networks to ensure cooperation lasts. Today, quarterly meetings are taking place with the participation of interested cultural actors who meet to discuss and share their views on various issues.

“Overall, participants acquired skills and knowledge in the arts as well as in managing cultural projects,” said Anicet Djoubana Koublengar, responsible for the project. The new website (www.themacult.org) brings Chadian artists out of technological isolation and serves as a cooperative, information and promotional tool for cultural actors in Chad and the region, he said.

While further investment is essential, Anicet added that the project “lives on through the kiosk and distribution of works, through the establishment of new artistic networks, and the website. As well as through participants who have improved skills and a greater possibility to improve their work conditions and the quality of their artwork.”

Media coverage of the initiative’s activities raised a broader interest in Chad’s cultural sector. Since participating in the project, the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) has had greater exchanges with local authorities. During the project’s implementation, the Chadian President approved the country’s first cultural policy providing the Ministry of Culture with a framework to invest in the cultural industries. This is encouraging for Chadian artists and cultural professionals who are eager to see their works thrive in Chad and internationally.

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