A new critical path for creatives

March 3, 2022

The New Ways of Working for Creatives (NWoW4C) trajectory disrupted operational realities in the arts and media forte for makers. Resource of Open Minds (ROOM) Southern Africa collaborated with partner organizations, subject matter experts, and content makers to improve content production and content conservation conditions.

2021 was characterized by uncertainty for artists, creative hubs, actors, performers, and journalists among the content creators who heavily relied on co-working spaces and resources, public gatherings, and physical productions to sustain their work and safeguard their stories. To add on, the different individuals suffered at the hand of Covid-19 directly and indirectly. Some lost loved ones, colleagues, and neighbors to the pandemic, some suffered from the illness and its adverse effects on well-being, and all were limited by the protective regulatory measures that reduced the economic consumption of and investment in creative work.

The New Ways of Working for Creatives (NWoW4C) Research detailed findings on the impact of the global crisis and gave recommendations on how to strengthen the sector and promote resilience. Among these recommendations ROOM Southern Africa narrowed in on Intergenerational learning, Financial Sustainability, Animation, and Archiving.

Power of memory

Cultivating the lived realities of Ben Michael Mankhamba, Stanley Onjezani Kenani, Agness “Buya” Ngambi Yombwe, Albert Nyathi, Dr Rebecca Chisamba and B’Flow, their words of encouragement empowered makers to focus on the future. The experts shared how makers’ work harbors communities and how it is important that they are not intimidated by passing circumstances. ROOM ensured that the culture of reflective narrative learning, a.k.a. cultural storytelling, lives on by producing audio-visual letters accessible to young makers, readily available on the regional Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels. A hybrid watch party launch of the letters shared with the audience Hivos’ values on supporting critical cultural content and its effect on Civic Rights in a Digital Age.

“Creatives and finances may at first seem like water and oil. There is a general myth that creatives only care about content making and shy away from numbers.”

Our Financial Sustainability for Creatives Research demystifies this idiom reflecting measurable financial management know-how among maker entities. Of the 11 organizations represented in the region, makers showed a sound understanding of basic processes and procedures for handling and logistics.

However, financial management doesn’t equate to sustainability and KFM Consultants and Mayittah Research Insights walked creatives towards achieving the latter. ROOM is happy to present the Creatives and Money Matters Research report, Financial Sustainability for Creatives Capacity Building Workshop report and Training Guide, and the Art of Money for Creatives Toolkit. These resources are made accessible through our website and different partner organizations in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“To preserve institutional memory (portfolio of evidence), impact, lessons learnt and assist reflection for future programming.”

In this Animation and Archiving capacity-building activity, makers and animation enthusiasts went through a 5-Day beginner-level compact animation training followed by an archiving workshop using the Stimulus Africa Digital Strategy Canvas. Among the top-voted problems posing as obstacles for storing content were: limited access to resources, lack of appropriate information and knowledge, geopolitical disadvantages, inaccessibility of ICT hardware and software, high cost of data, resistance to change, and the internet being a scary place. Stimulus coordinated collaborative problem solving, and together with ROOM and the participants, co-created measurable solutions.

“Art and media have the power to question dominant structures in society, propose alternatives and bring about change.”

As we continue to strengthen diversity, inclusion and contribute to more progressive societies, ROOM believes in the critical role of content makers in steering debate and dissent in the societies we live in. We believe that freedom of expression is the main measure of openness in society and in the power of makers to resist the shrinking civic space.