International Forum on Cultural Spaces opens in Kigali

Herve Kimenyi
Hereve Kimenyi (R) listens on during the press conference at Rwanda Arts Initiative. (Photos by Nadege Imbabazi)

A forum that seeks to highlight the critical role of art and culture in urban environments is set to open in Kigali tomorrow.

Dubbed International Forum on Cultural Spaces for Kigali, the two-day forum will take place in Kigali Marriott Hotel.

The gathering is organised by the Rwanda Arts Initiative (RAI), in partnership with the Center For Fine Arts in Brussels (BOZAR), and the African Architecture Matters, an architecture office based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The forum, which the first of its kind, will further seek to expose and discuss the role of art and culture in the urban environment, as well as existing challenges in Kigali in particular.

Also to be discussed are existing challenges in Kigali and opportunities offered by adaptive re-use of existing buildings.

At a press conference to launch the forum at the Rwanda Arts Initiative in Kimihurura this morning, March 14, stakeholders underscored the importance of art and culture in urban environments as drivers for socio-economic development.

The International Forum on Cultural Spaces for Kigali has drawn stakeholders from the creative, the private and public sectors, including multi-disciplinary experts from the African continent and beyond.

Prior to the forum, a mapping exercise was conducted to identify abandoned sites that could potentially be integrated into the City of Kigali’s master plan as new cultural spaces.

The exercise was undertaken by 26 students from the University of Rwanda, Uganda Martyrs University, and University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Working in two groups, the students developed scenarios for the adaptive re-use of certain vacant sites in the City of Kigali.

Some of the sites identified include; Kigali Central Prison, former Belgian School, Mironko Plastic Industries, and Covibar.

Ultimately, the aim is that such sites are integrated in the city’s master plan, along with existing cultural and heritage sites.

The students and their respective instructors will present the results of their work on the closing day of the forum on March 16.

Experts and stakeholders at the forum will seek to initiate linkages between the economy and culture to foster more sustainable and inclusive economic growth, by articulating win-win combinations of multifunctional commercial, cultural, and real estate models of management.

The experts will aim to link economy and culture for a more sustainable, creative and inclusive economic growth by articulating win-win combinations of multifunctional commercial, cultural, and real estate models of management.

The forum will kick off with a keynote address by Professor Lesly Lokko, from the University of Johannesburg, on the topic of decolonisation of public spaces in Africa. 

Different cultural actors in Europe and Africa will also present successful reference projects of cultural infrastructure and buildings that have been adaptively re-used.

The forum will further unveil the concept of the African capital of culture, an initiative to be started in the city of Marrakech, in Morocco next year.

The forum will also present the concept of the African capital of culture, an initiative to be started in Marrakech in 2020.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

 

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