Nairobi, 2 November 2023 – The King today visited Nairobi Street Kitchen, in Westlands, Nairobi to learn more about British Council’s work in promoting arts and culture in Kenya. During the visit, the King had an opportunity to meet with a diverse group of Kenyan creatives and gain insight into the Kenyan cultural and creative sectors through a well-curated and assorted exhibition and meet and greet.
During this engagement, His Majesty spoke to content artists in the music, fashion, podcasting, technology, and film sectors. In these conversations, they shared the value of Kenya-UK cultural exchange and home-grown innovations driving the growth of the creative industries in Kenya.
The King had an opportunity to engage with various Kenyan creatives including Shujaa Stories; Epica Jewellery; Genteel; and Avandu Vosi; Hisi Studio; Enda Shoes; Black Rhino who have been part of different cohorts of the British Council Creative DNA programme designed to support fashion businesses in Kenya develop skills, knowledge and networks in the fashion industry.
The King was accompanied by UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and British High Commissioner to Kenya Neil Wigan.
Sandra Chege, Head of Arts Kenya, British Council, said: “We were delighted to host His Majesty the King at Nairobi Street Kitchen where he met Kenyan creatives, and we had the opportunity to share some highlights from our arts and culture programmes in Kenya. Through our arts and culture programmes, the British Council works collaboratively with Kenyan and British creative talent to develop innovative, high-quality programmes and collaborations that strengthen cultural exchange and understanding. In Kenya we focus most of our arts sector work on supporting creative industries through skills development, strengthening networks and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs and artists to make new work that they share with new audiences.”
Highlighting the British Council’s work in arts and culture, she added: “We are committed to supporting young people to grow their talents in the creative space. Through our arts work in East Africa we promote new art, share skills of creatives and ignite partnerships between the UK and East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Sudan).
Details of His Majesty the King’s engagement with various British Council arts programmes
CREATIVE ECONOMY PROGRAMMES
The Creative DNA Fashion programme by the British Council is an initiative that aims to support the growth and development of the fashion industry in emerging markets. The programme focuses on developing sustainable fashion practices, promoting ethical and responsible fashion, and encouraging the use of traditional and artisanal techniques. It also aims to foster collaborations between fashion professionals in Kenya and the UK and create a cross-cultural exchange and dialogue platform.
The Creative DNA Fashion programme is designed to help emerging fashion designers, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals build successful and sustainable businesses. It provides them with the skills, knowledge, and networks they need to succeed in a competitive and rapidly changing global market.
This programme is focused on promoting alternative and innovative approaches to the global fashion system, aiming to demonstrate that the fashion sector in Africa is a professional choice for young people and a valuable contributor to the creative economy.
The ACP-EU Ignite Culture programme is Eastern Africa’s largest grant fund for creative and cultural industries. The programme provides financial and technical support to cultural entrepreneurs, artists, and creative businesses to develop innovative and sustainable business models, products, and services. In Kenya and other Eastern African countries, it is implemented by the British Council and HEVA Fund with technical support from the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States and funded by the European Union. The ACP-EU Culture programme, Eastern Africa – Ignite Culture, intends to boost the potential of the cultural and creative sector and its contribution to the social and economic development of the ACP countries.
The SoCreative e-learning programme for aspiring and early-stage young African entrepreneurs is focused on entrepreneurship and delivers a collection of free online courses for the next generation of African leaders to support them through their business journey. Upon completing the programme, participants will receive a certificate as evidence of their achievement. The programme is developed to support the British Council’s wider Creative Economy strand, designed to help develop an ecosystem in which young entrepreneurs can thrive.
Cultural Protection Fund
The British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund supports efforts to keep cultural heritage sites and objects safe, as well as the recording, conservation and restoration of heritage. The Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) is led by the British Council in partnership with the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It was launched in 2016 to protect vital cultural heritage at risk in conflict-affected regions and at risk because of climate change and natural disasters. The fund has supported projects in 16 countries across parts of the Middle East, North and East Africa, safeguarding a wide range of cultural heritage, including buildings, monuments and artefacts, music, languages and recipes.
Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth – #CultureGrows
Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth is an action research programme pioneering ways in which cultural heritage can improve the lives of individuals in Kenya and around the world. Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth seeks to pioneer ways of creating inclusive and sustainable growth, enabling local communities to benefit from this growth and to actively participate in the sharing and protection of their heritage. In Kenya, #CultureGrows works with communities to protect, value, discover and share Cultural heritage with all. Heritage, if properly managed, can be instrumental in enhancing social inclusion, developing intercultural dialogue and shaping the identity of a territory.
New Narratives is a transformative initiative designed to address prevailing narratives in Africa and the UK that might be outdated, biased, or perpetuate stereotypes. Certain narratives in society can create barriers between different groups, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.
By focusing on shifting narratives, the programme seeks to encourage critical thinking, foster empathy, and promote dialogue that leads to positive change.