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Art for social transformation conference rumbles

Life & Style
TAI specialises in training artists to develop outlets for socially-engaged art and mutual understanding.

LOCAL arts mother body, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) in partnership with Teaching Artists Institute (TAI) headquartered in Baltimore, United States, will from November 4 to 7 host the seventh edition of the Artizen Conference on Art for Social Transformation Zimbabwe at Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare.

TAI specialises in training artists to develop outlets for socially-engaged art and mutual understanding.

It has, however, guided many sectors interested in using art culture beyond its aesthetic value in cultivating innovation and the art of possibility and is creating the world’s first model in Art for Social Transformation Master Planning.

TAI has satellite locations throughout the United States and internationally in Ghana, Uganda, Jamaica, Liberia, and The Gambia.

The journey of the Artizen Conference began in 2017, with the inaugural conference which was hosted in Ghana, followed by Gambia (2018), Uganda (2019), Tanzania (2020), South Africa (2021), Kenya (2022).

Zimbabwe was chosen to host the conference following the secondment of the former Matabeleland North provincial manager, Eunice Ndlovu, to the sixth edition of the conference in Kenya.

TAI founding fellow and chief visioner Kim Poole visited the country on July 13 to officially inform NACZ of the selection of Zimbabwe as the host country and also to interface with artists on issues they wanted to be on the agenda for the conference.

This year’s edition of the conference, to be attended by cultural and creative practitioners, among other stakeholders from all categories of the arts, will run under the theme Connecting Artist and Art Culture to Sustainable development.

NACZ deputy director Josia Kusena said the conference would focus on unearthing Zimbabwe’s symbolic landscape, cultural narrative  and opportunities to further integrate art culture into the local environment.

“We believe the hosting of the conference is an important capacity building potential for the sector and it complements our strategic efforts in the promotion and development of the arts sector,” he said.

“We do hope and believe that the relationship between NACZ and TAI will inspire growth of the arts and culture sector in Zimbabwe.”

The conference’s objective is to create the industry’s largest platform to encourage idea exchange for artists, community developers, the media, decision/policy-makers and potential investors in sustainable development.

In addition to fostering creativity in the social development sectors in order to bolster national development, the conference also seeks to recognise, promote and underscore the importance and value of art for social transformation in development aspirations and best practices.

The conference also seeks to recognise and reward stakeholders who have committed to nurturing aspirations and power of the artist, class and talent development.

It also increases social togetherness, harmony and promotes creativity in all development sectors.

Among the key speakers expected to address the conference are Ugandan Maxine Ankrah, Maisha Sullivan-Ongoza, Geraldine Newton, Kelli Sparrow Mickens, Pamela Hamm, Arthur Allen Deans, Mary Bush, Claudette Schofield Grimes, Obadiah Baker and Tiffany Robbins.

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