Contemporary African Arts in the UK

The current offer of contemporary African arts and culture currently presented in the UK is limited, but there is a clear openness and appetite amongst audiences for more. 


In June 2019, we launched a report in partnership with the British Council presenting original research on present-day public perceptions and audience engagement with contemporary African arts and culture. Entitled Contemporary African Arts: Mapping Perceptions, Insights and UK-Africa Collaborations, our report explores the untapped opportunity to expand and improve the existing offer for the UK’s increasingly diverse audiences. 


Featuring specially-commissioned essays and 16 exclusive interviews with leading contemporary African arts professionals, the report aims to support UK programmers in their endeavour to navigate the African creative sectors and present contemporary African work, which we hope will ultimately lead to a greater quality and quantity of African artists being able to share their work with UK audiences. We also hope the report will support Africa-based programmers and creatives by shining a light on opportunities for collaboration and connection, both within the continent and internationally. More broadly, we hope the report will prove useful to anyone interested in African arts and culture, sparking conversations and generating further interest amongst the wider public. 


This report feeds into our strategic aim of connecting leading African creatives and thought leaders with diverse audiences and arts practitioners in the UK, fostering mutuality and stronger collaborative relations. The results of our research area clear call to action to present more audience-led contemporary African arts programmes in the UK, based on strong collaborations with artists and programmers on the continent.  Arts venues, programmers and curators can and should do more on this front and we hope this report serves as a useful resource and enabler for this positive cultural shift. The findings and insights from this research will also serve as an evidence base for the continuation of the Royal African Society’s cultural and educational work. 


Read the full report here. Contemporary African Arts Report 2019