Research project

Understanding and Supporting Creative Economies in Africa: Education, Networks and Policy

Project overview

In line with the Highlight Notice and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to build collaborations across a range of countries which receive Official Development Assistance (ODA), the research network will connect and mobilise different communities, including academics, practitioners in the creative/cultural sector and cultural and creative policy bodies. It aims to develop a better understanding of the creative economies in emerging African countries and to explore strategies to encourage and enable sustainable context-specific cultural, social and economic development. The network will provide a platform for academics, creative practitioners, and policy and network bodies to reflect on their work and practice in relation to creative economies in Africa. It will facilitate knowledge exchanges between the Global North and the Global South, highlighting the importance of context specific knowledge and encouraging connections between local cultural production networks.

The research network has four main objectives:
1. Compile a literature review of existing research which aims to understand the specific context of emerging creative economies in Africa, with a focus on the role of creative education, cultural production networks and policy;
2. Develop an open access knowledge platform which acts as a point of reference for the work of academics and practitioners in this area, with case studies, links, interviews, working papers and policy briefings;
3. Through systematic analysis, develop a clearer articulation of the relationship between localised knowledge and practice in the creative economies of three African countries (Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa) and opportunities for the development of sustainable ecologies of cultural production and consumption;
4. Explore the potential role that universities might play in the African context for bringing together researchers, creative practitioners, policy makers and civil society to work towards sustainable and local cultural development.

Two sets of networks will be created to address these objectives. The first set will encourage flows between the North and South and will benefit UK-based academics and policy makers interested in knowing more about the specificities of African creative economies as well as African-based academics interested in discussing current UK expertise in relation to mapping and investigating creative and cultural production ecologies. The second set will encourage South to South exchanges, knowledge flows and collaborations. It will be academically informed but more practice-based to allow academics and practitioners in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa to situate and understand their own practice and when possible to learn from each other's experiences. These networks will be centered on three 'Creative Hubs' anchored around three local universities. In the first year, small scale workshop activities will be organised to gain a better understanding of the key questions highlighted for each hub. In year two, three academic seminars, one in each hub, will be scheduled to consider the knowledge and questions developed to that point in relation to theories and practice. The Nigeria Creative Hub will focus on 'Creative Education and Careers' to explore the role that education plays in shaping the practices and careers of emerging and established cultural producers. The Kenya Creative Hub will explore 'Sustainable Cultural Production Networks' to consider the role that local networks play in helping cultural producers to find, connect and ultimately build sustainable relationships with local and international audiences. The South African Creative Hub will explore 'Mapping Creative Economies: frameworks, data sources and policies' to examine the role cultural mapping plays in developing countries.


Lead researcher

Dr Brian Hracs

Associate Professor
Connect with Brian

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs