The Pan African Network for Artistic Freedom (PANAF) is excited to announce the inaugural edition of the PANAF Summit, to be held between 9 and 10 February 2024 in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
This Summit aims to discuss policies and advocacy strategies pertaining to artistic freedom across the African continent with consideration for both local and global contexts. Programme highlights include a keynote, plenary session, panel discussions addressing the Challenges and Opportunities for Artistic Freedom on the Continent, and an exploration of the Role of Government in Advancing Artistic Freedom.
This summit serves as a progression of the PANAF project, inaugurated in November 2021 across several African countries, including Nigeria, Gambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Since its initiation, PANAF has garnered a national network through local partners, mainly organisations operating in the civil society space within the cultural sector, and organisations representing artists at the national level.
The project has published reports, available on the official PANAF website, following commissioned research on the State of Artistic Freedom in the eight focus countries. Building upon this groundwork, PANAF has actively engaged in workshops with stakeholders, fostering dialogue, and lobbying policy makers for new or improved regulations in the realm of artistic rights, particularly focusing on freedom of expression and economic independence.
In addition, PANAF launched a website, serving as a multifaceted resource, networking hub, and advocacy platform. Recognizing the challenges faced by many creatives in expressing social-political concerns, the PANAF website includes a dedicated chat room for artists who sign up as members. This space allows for crucial discussions and provides a platform for voices on subjects that may be challenging to address in traditional media.
Teshome Wondimu, Selam’s executive director, expressed enthusiasm about the program for this inaugural edition. He stated, “The Summit stands as a beacon for the exchange of ideas, fostering collaboration, and collectively advancing the cause of artistic freedom in Africa and beyond.” He further emphasised the vision to transform the PANAF Summit into an annual platform, fostering a continuous dialogue on issues related to artistic freedom on the continent.
“We are starting small, but the vision is to grow the PANAF Summit into an annual platform, for a continuous dialogue on issues related to artistic freedom on the continent between stakeholders and policy makers. The goal is to provide a dynamic space for insights from around the globe, shaping the future of artistic expression in Africa and beyond.”
Wondimu envisions this summit as an important milestone in the ongoing journey to champion artistic freedom in Africa and beyond. He remarked, “With the PANAF project, we have managed to create a platform for collaboration, serving as a proactive force in raising awareness about incidents involving violations of artistic freedom.”
The PANAF Summit is organised by Selam and supported by the Swedish Arts Council.
Registration for the PANAF Summit is free. Click here to register.