DAY 24: Co-Creating Kampala’s Creative Industry Based on Empathy

a Day of Learning by Gloria Kiconco, Kampala, Uganda, 28 July 2017

6 Steps to a Stronger Creative Industry

How do you imagine the future of the creative industry in your city? Do you hope to see a vibrant industry? Do you want to see more opportunities or different opportunities for creative fields that are not prioritized?

What do you imagine your role to be in that future?

I had an opportunity to begin answering these questions for myself under Age of Wonderland’s global project, 100 DAYS OF LEARNING. On July 29, 2017, we held A Day of Learning at Design Hub Kampala titled Co-creating Kampala’s Creative Industry. Some elements worked and others didn’t, but it was a priceless learning experience.

I invite you to do the same by co-creating your city’s creative industry with other artists and creatives using the simple guide below. This guide is drawn from the successes, mistakes, and lessons of that day.

Some definitions:

Co-creation — working with end-users and stakeholders to solve a challenge
Creative Industry — The physical and economic world of arts and culture
One of the pieces created by participants out of their objects. They elected to exchange objects with another group.

Step 1: Start at the end

What do you want to learn or change or improve about your creative industry? Our workshop focused on how creative people can work together to make the creative industry in Kampala economically viable. Structure your workshop with the goal in mind.

Kerry Bradshaw, Awamu

Step 2: Call and Response

Send out a call for participants. We did a call for half the participants and the other half were on invitation. Most of the participants who came were people who responded to the call. They were driven by their internal motivation.

Step 3: Design the Day

Co-creations are usually interactive and they use activities and discussions as learning tools. Here is a detailed recipe to recreating our day of learning:

1. Introduce the purpose of this workshop and share expectations.

2. Use warm up activities to break the ice and encourage listening, participating, and respect. I used improve exercises like Beat, Yes Circle, and Follow the Follower.

3. Storytelling for empathy: Request participants to come with an object that is personal enough to tell their story, but that they are willing to leave behind.

Liz Kobusinge uses her object to tell her story

4. Setting the context: Take half an hour or so to brainstorm with everyone on what you want to see in the future of your creative industry. Use the How can we?… exercise, which lets you frame problems as opportunities. Instead of saying “There are not enough opportunities for illustrators”, you ask “How can we create more opportunities for illustrators?” (Tip — use sticky notes)

5. Look for common themes in the ideas that you brainstorm and put these up on a wall so everyone can refer to them and work around a few central ideas. For example, a more general theme might be “Creating opportunities in the city instead of outside Uganda”

6. Ask participants to get into groups. In those groups they will use their objects to create a solution (a concept, product, or process) that responds to a theme.

7. Leave time for groups to present their outcome and create a discussion.

8. At the end of the workshop ask participants to give feedback on how it felt working together and creating solutions. Ask them to finish these three phrases/questions: I was inspired by…., I wish…., How can we?… so that feedback is practical and constructive. (Tip — use sticky notes or mind maps)

Step 4: Don’t dictate, Facilitate

Don’t get hung up on your own perspective and dictate the process and outcome. Leave room for other voices and suggestions. You might be surprised.

Step 5: Make it public

We held an exhibition at the end of the day at the Design Hub and invited the public to interact with the ideas from the workshop. They had a chance to write down their own ideas and continue the conversation. Which reminds me…

At the exhibition

Step 6: Continue the conversation

There is no definite solution that can be created in a day. Keep the conversation going and let the exchange of ideas inspire others. A solution will be created over time.

A final thank you to the participants:

Kerry Bradshaw (Awamu), Gerald Odil (DHK), Jantien Zuurbier (DHK), Astrid Mourik, Liz Kobusinge, Liz Mbabazi, Sahiba Turgesen (Book Enthusiasts in Kampala), Lawrence John Okoth (Design Without Borders), Monica Kansiime (Mango Tree), Raymond Malinga (Creatures Animation), Rachel Kagumba (Leaves Animation), Justus Kojax Koojo

To the artists that documented the day:

Dianah Bwengye (Mango Tree) — Illustrator

Esther Mugarura — Photographer

To our Partners and hosts:

Design Hub Kampala

And especially to the Commissioners and Co-Producers:

Age of Wonderland’s 100 DAYS OF LEARNING