Arts & Culture
We play a central role in the mainstreaming of contemporary African arts and culture in the UK through our highly popular Africa Writes and Film Africa festivals and other important initiatives.
Established in 2011 and 2012 respectively, Film Africa and Africa Writes were founded by the Royal African Society to celebrate the best contemporary African cinema and literature, showcasing work that would otherwise remain unknown to UK audiences.
Although things are slowly changing, the majority of African films still do not get theatrical distribution in the UK and the publishing industry has also demonstrated a lack of diversity and inclusive representation. Film Africa and Africa Writes aim to bridge that gap.
As audience festivals, we provide opportunities for diverse audiences to connect with the plethora of contemporary stories arising from the continent and its diaspora. Over the last eight years, Film Africa and Africa Writes have jointly welcomed almost 40,000 people, with a growing percentage (over 60% on average) of young audiences (20-30) who identify as Black African, Black British or Black Caribbean.
Following a successful run of eight consecutive years, Film Africa and Africa Writes will now be held biennially, with the festivals taking place in alternating years. In the fallow years, we will keep working towards our mission by developing both platforms into wider arts programmes.
Our long-term goal is to mainstream African arts and culture in the UK, contributing to a positive shift in the British public’s perception and understanding of Africa, as well as in the creative sector, which we believe ought to reflect our population’s increasing diversity.
As part of this vision, we recently worked on a research report in partnership with the British Council looking at present-day public perceptions and audience engagement with contemporary African arts and culture in the UK.