Training Senegalese cultural managers in cultural policy implementation

Groupe 30 Afrique (NGO), Senegal
IFCD funding: USD 99,550 | Timeline: January 2012 - January 2013

© Jeff Attaway

About the project

The aim of this project is to provide Senegal’s future cultural officials with sustainable training, including general guidelines on cultural policies and highlighting the contribution of culture to sustainable development.

About the organization
Established in March 1999, Groupe 30 Afrique is an inter-African cultural exchange network. Its headquarters are in Dakar, Senegal, and the group is present in 20 African countries, working on several fronts: information gathering and dissemination on AFRICINFO and SUDPLANET, its websites, which it manages jointly with Africultures, the French association; and the organization of politically significant artistic events, such as a photography project on democracy in Kenya during the post-election killings. One of the group’s flagship projects is the establishment of “cultural suks” in Accra, Dakar, Nairobi and Tunis, displaying a variety of African cultural products for non-commercial and information purposes.

Local Context
In Senegal, the potential of cultural industries for development has been acknowledged to some extent and initiatives have been taken to develop the arts and creativity, building infrastructures and boosting local initiatives. Nevertheless, the country’s full cultural and artistic potential remains underexploited.

New hope was raised by the change of government in March 2000. A participatory approach was taken in drawing up the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP II). It has defined the State of Senegal’s policy for the 2006-2010 period, by recognizing that “culture’s twofold role is to be seen not only in the promotion of economic growth, but also in the context of the other development objectives, such as support for the environment, the preservation of traditional values and the protection of institutions”.

Challenges, such as the low level of professionalization among artists and operators in the sector, the lack of recognition and statutory regulation of cultural professions, the sector’s diminished professional status, the limited institutional capacity of the Ministry of Culture, underuse of the potential of national cultural diversity and the lack of social protection for cultural professionals, are highlighted in the official version of PRSP II.

In order to tackle these challenges, Senegal has taken action in keeping with the guidelines set under the 2005 Convention and is committed to protecting and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions.

Main objectives
The overall objective of this project is to promote the potential of culture for development in Senegal by establishing an educational body known as FUTUR ACADEMY. The aim is to build the capacities of directors of cultural organizations locally, as they often need support in order to formulate, implement and monitor cultural policies both locally and nationally. The target beneficiaries are therefore the leaders of Senegalese cultural civil society, networks of arts professionals and directors of regional and departmental cultural centres. Mobility is crucial to this project and officials of Groupe 30 Afrique’s FUTUR ACADEMY travel throughout Senegal in order to build the capacities of cultural project leaders nationwide.

Main activities
The academy’s first classes are on the design and implementation of cultural policy in Senegal within the social, economic, political and cultural contexts in which art is practised. Other classes cover cultural entrepreneurship and leadership and portray cultural industries worldwide. Management of cultural projects is taught in intensive courses in which qualified mentors conduct practical workshops. Other short courses cover topics such as information technology, networking, fundraising, financial management and research skills. In addition, the FUTUR ACADEMY holds a course on African culture, thus giving participants an overall view of the history of artistic practices on the continent. Participants are encouraged to be mobile, as it is important for cultural entrepreneurs to spend some time in various parts of the country in order to have a better understanding of Senegal’s cultural diversity. Lastly, each training activity is used to develop toolkits and publications for subsequent training courses.

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