In our miniseries (Re)generating trust, we tackle the not-so-obvious link between youth and culture. Why is it important to give youth a space in the cultural sector? How can the EU institutions and member states do it?
Youth is presented in these episodes as advocate for culture and creative skills, able to regenerate societies and trust in institutions. This series is a platform for young professionals from the cultural sector and European initiatives who support them to expose their work and express their recommendations.
In this first episode, we hear inspirational examples of artistic and cultural collaboration between Europe and Rwanda and learn how European cultural centres can act as bridges.
Bios, sources of inspiration, and transcript
Johan-Hilel Hamel has been appointed as Director of the French cultural centre in Kigali, Rwanda – l’Institut français du Rwanda in September 2021, a function that he carries out with conviction and passion by creating junctions between this role and his past professional experiences. He previously worked as Director of culture of the Grand Angoulême, of Barbezieux in the French Department of Charentes and in Tunisia with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on live and audiovisual art with the Institut français de Tunis. He also led a theatre company for several years.
Sources of inspiration and references:
- Institut français: the public establishment in charge of France’s external cultural action, under the supervision of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture. It has a network of institutes throughout the world.
- Institut français du Rwanda: in Kigali, Rwanda, the French cultural centre is a place of exchange, of learning and events in the fields of knowledge and francophone culture. They regularly welcome Rwandan artists and international artists for performances and workshops open to culture professionals or larger audiences. The Institute has a multimedia library accessible to kids, offering culture for all ages.
- Chaillot Théâtre National de la Danse: presentation of the artist Dorothée Munyaneza, musician, author and choreographer who is associated with Chaillot National Theatre of Dance. In 2008, Chaillot became in France the first National Theatre “with a project built mainly around and from dance”. The ambition of this cultural institution is “to promote contemporary theatrical and choreographic creation” and “present any show belonging to the classical and modern repertoire, French or foreign, create any new work promoting access to cultural values for the widest and most diversified audience, and organise any cultural and artistic event contributing to the achievement of its mission”.
Jemima Kakizi is a Rwandan art curator and visual artist, founder of Impundu Arts center and co-founder of Rwandan Women Artists Collective. For the past decade, Jemima has used her art to tell stories and present solutions to issues that my society still faces like gender equality, unemployment, women empowerment, children rights among others. She recently curated an exhibition featuring ten Rwandan women artists around the crucial theme of art and mental health and was among Forbes Women Africa Nominee for Social impact awards 2023.
Sources of inspiration and references:
- Jemima Kakizi: check her instagram page to view her creations and the exhibitions she curates. Her last exhibition entitled “Walk with me” featured ten women artists around the theme of art and mental health.
- Art and mental health: article about the exhibition “Walk with me”, in which you can read “Kayibanda, who is a regular exhibitor, is of the view that more light ought to be shed on mental health issues, depression in particular, before it evolves into a full-fledged epidemic for Rwanda in the future, thus creating space for conversations on mental health through art, a preventative measure.”
- Art for Advocacy: learn about Jemima Kakizi’s ambition with art in her interview for Forbes magazine.
- Impundu Art Centre: the women artists’ community that Jemima Kakizi contributed to create and support still today with her curating work.
Kaya Byinshii is a Rwandan singer whose music is a unique fusion of urban, folk and soul. She has been passionate about music since a young age, grew up as a singer in church and joined a band at University. She released her first EP “Nyabyinshi” in 2020 and her first studio album “Ukwiyuburura” in September 2022. She made the opening of the Festival du Film Francophone d’Angoulême in 2022 and spent two months in France for an artist residency sponsored by the Institut français de Paris.
Sources of inspiration and references:
- Kaya Byinshii: musical production available on Spotify and on her Youtube channel.
- Opening of the Francophone Film Festival of Angoulême 2022: from August 23 to 28, 2022 in Angoulême, France, this festival celebrated the French-speaking cinema. For this 15th edition, Rwanda was made country of honour promoting the new generation of Rwandan film makers.
- Residency at the Rocher de Palmer: from October to December 2022, Kaya Byinshii joined the Rocher de Palmer which welcomes local, national or international artists in creative residency.
Elise Cuny is the author of the series (Re)generating trust on youth and culture. Prior to joining culture Solutions, she worked three years in Rwanda on a historical investigation on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. She has a background in international relations and European affairs and worked as project manager in Brussels for the think tank Egmont Institute where she was designing and organising training sessions for diplomats and civil servants of partner countries of Belgium and where she was in charge of preparation training for future civilian Belgian experts deployed in peacekeeping missions.
With this series, she wants to create cultural inspirations by sharing ideas but also music, authors and concepts she appreciates.
Sources of inspiration and references:
- Rhizome: if you want to learn more about the concept of rhizome developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, listen to this episode of France Culture on philosophy or read this.
- L’Espace: a creative lab, private theatre and production studio, L’Espace is one of the most vibrant cultural scenes in Kigali, Rwanda, regularly organising and hosting exhibitions, concerts and theatre and dance spectacles. Read more about L’Espace concept here and on the birth of the project here.
- Rwanda Arts Initiative (RAI): a non-profit structure established in 2012 contributing to the professionalisation of art industry in Rwanda. Read more about their vision here. “For Rwanda Arts Initiative, art industry can substantially contribute to socio-economic development of Rwanda as a sector generating wealth through sustainable job creation, economic diversification and cultural value addition.” They recently organised the festival promoting Rwanda culture in Paris, “Kigali à Paris”.
- Ishyo Art Center: organisation working for the development and promotion of culture in Rwanda whose main mission is to “make culture accessible to all” and a platform for professional artists, cultural experts, creative entrepreneurs, and art lovers with the main objective of making culture available for everyone.
- Goethe Institut in Kigali: The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. They promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange and qualify, advise and interlink cultural professionals and support the development of sustainable structures in the cultural and creative economy by advanced training measures for cultural entrepreneurs or the internationalisation of creative companies. Read more about their mission here.
Damien Helly: You are listening to the Composing trust podcast, by culture Solutions – a series on European cultural action with the world. Is Europe still attractive? How is it perceived outside the EU? How do Europeans promote culture together in the world and with which partners? What have they learned together, what is their experience?
Our Composing trust podcast series will address these issues. Welcome to you all! My name is Damien Helly, the co-author of this Composing trust series, by culture Solutions. Today’s episode is the first of our new series (Re)generating trust on youth and culture. It’s presented by our colleague Elise Cuny who draws experience from the three years she spent in Rwanda. In this episode, she interviews young artists and professionals from the cultural sector in this country.
Elise Cuny: You are listening to the first episode of culture Solutions series on the theme of youth and culture, (Re)generating trust. With culture Solutions’ ambition to promote EU international cultural relations and question the ways Europeans and the EU engage culturally with the world, leaving youth behind seemed impossible. In this series, we present youth as cultural actors and artists actively influencing societies they live in, by their mobility, ambitions, ideas, creativity and creations. Youth is more than the future and it has the potential to regenerate if we give them the right platform. This is what this podcast will do. Exiting a hierarchical vision of society and getting inspired by Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze to get closer to a rhizome, growing horizontally with every element being connected to one another, as Edouard Glissant puts it, get away from a “single root” – and let youth influence culture.
In this series, we will hear about European cultural action abroad, importance of mobility for artists, role of artists in the community, but also listen to youth advocating for cultural heritage protection. We will discuss why it is important to support youth in the cultural sector, what forms this support can take and how it is beneficial to European external relations.
My name is Elise Cuny, I have lived and worked three years in Rwanda and I was amazed by the creation and artistic profusion there, that echoes a need to understand its past and reinvent cultural references. In the first two episodes of this series, I will take examples from Rwanda on how youth can regenerate and contribute to the cultural sector on different scales.
Art allows us to reinvent standards, to invent new norms and a new mode of expression when we don’t know, or no longer, or are not able to say. Art regenerates. What I saw in Rwanda echoes the commitment of young people around the world to protect the planet and cultural heritage. This generation knows that if we don’t act quickly to protect and preserve, it will be too late. The strength of youth is to create not out of nothing but for and through the past and the heritage.
In this episode, we will hear Johan-Hilel Hamel, Director of the French cultural centre of Kigali, one of the European cultural centre active in Rwanda spotting and promoting young Rwandan artists, and creating artistic bridges between Rwanda and Europe . We will also hear Kaya Byinshii, one the artists who has been performing regularly at the French cultural centre as well as in the Goethe Institute and for the delegation of the European Union in Kigali. She recently came back from a two-month artist residency in France and will tell us why cultural exchange is so important in the career of young artists. Finally we will also have the insight from Jemima Kakizi, Rwandan art curator whose goal is to support women and emerging artists by organising exhibitions in Kigali and the rest of the country. She replaces art in the centre of the community. Her last exhibition features ten women artists around the theme of art and mental health. She will tell us what she thinks is needed in terms of skills, and cooperation for art and culture in Rwanda.
I asked Johan-Hilel Hamel, why do we associate youth and culture, is it so obvious?
Johan-Hilel Hamel: If we have to associate it, it is because we consider perhaps in France or in Europe that it is a way, we always use this term which is a little annoying, but of individual emancipation, and of emancipation of the society. It is true that culture is a common element, a base between all citizens, also because we learn it at school. It is the core, the flesh. By imagining that grammar, learning to read, learning to count compose the skeleton, the culture is all that there is around, it is the use of all that. And the constitution of the sense that we can make of life is most certainly done at school and at the youngest age. That’s why we associate culture and youth but culture and old age, culture and middle age also works very well. When we need culture, we need it at all times.
I think that we could replace culture by sport and it would be the same thing, we need sport all our life as much as an intellectual activity. Besides, this link between culture and sport is quite relevant, physical exercise is just as important as mental exercise. Perhaps this taste is developed particularly at a very young age.
Elise Cuny: Jemima Kakizi has done a lot to represent and promote emerging women artists. She tells us why it is so important to give space to youth.
Jemima Kakizi: I think that is very important to give space to youth because they get to learn from other youth, first of all – and also as in Kinyarwanda they say, “the youth of now is the future of tomorrow”. Believing in the youth or giving them a platform makes them more confident, it also helps them understand that they are going to be tomorrow’s leaders. So if you do things right, tomorrow will be great. And as human beings we always want to do better, we always want to grow and learn. What they are doing is contributing to the growth of Rwanda, the community we live in to get better.
Elise Cuny: I asked Johan what he thinks youth can bring to the cultural and art sector in Rwanda.
Johan-Hilel Hamel: Rwanda is an extremely young country, so the word youth can be used in many ways. The whole society is young. Today, young artists are exploring other fields than that of their recent history. I notice that there is a will to reappropriate traditional Rwandan culture and to mix it with international cultures, mainstream, music, dance, and try to combine tradition and modernity in the works they create.
Elise Cuny: Jemima also gave her insight on how young artists have the ability to transform and renew visual arts in Rwanda and why it is important to support them.
Jemima Kakizi: Art is not new in Rwanda, because visual art for example has always been there. There is a style called imigongo, “les motifs décoratifs” [decorative motives] that Rwandans used to use. They all have meanings and it’s an abstract art, which does not make visual arts a new thing in Rwanda. But our way of using paints, our way of drawing portrait is kind of new. You cannot expect people who do not understand what you do to support you. As a curator and as an artist myself, it is something I have been also trying to work on and I do not expect the result in a second or even in a few months, it is going to take time but I am very positive that it will be possible in the future because as artists we have responsibility to take the arts to people, so that they understand what we do.
This is something I am trying to do. I have an ongoing exhibition entitled “Walk with me”. “Walk with me” is more on supporting each other in the community, having empathy and understand that everyone can have mental health problem, anytime, it is not something you choose. The exhibition is featuring ten women artists. The exhibition has two faces. The first phase was a fixed exhibition and the second phase is moving to schools and youth centres so that we can also have a conversation about mental health there on how we feel, how we can take care of ourselves. I did not want the exhibition to stay in Kigali only, I wanted this exhibition to go up country as well, bring the arts to people, understand that they can learn through art, that art can make them feel good, what arts can do in their lives. Life is a journey and we always learn along the way. The more exhibitions I curate, the more lessons I learn. For people who do not understand what we do as visual artists we have to include them.
Another thing that matters is that right now I am speaking in English but I always have my concept in Kinyarwanda as well. The exhibition in Kinyarwanda is entitled “Genda na nanjye”. In the past years most Rwandans felt like the art was not done for them because if everything is in English, and someone does not understand English, when they come they will feel excluded. That is why I think it is very important for artists here in Rwanda to understand that we are doing art for everyone but then you should not expect everyone to understand English. This is something very important that I would recommend to all curators wherever they are, Uganda, or Zimbabwe, make sure that the local languages are interpreted or that it is in both languages so that you know everyone that comes can be part of the exhibition in one way or another.
Elise Cuny: I also wanted to have Johan’s perspective on Rwandan cultural sector, in comparison with what he saw in France, in terms of artistic creation but also the structure and sustainability of the artwork. Those are factors that have an impact on artists at the beginning of their career.
Johan-Hilel Hamel: Rwandan artists do not have a sectorised way of thinking, that is to say that there is not a musician who only does music or a dancer who only does dance, they are all transdisciplinary, they all move from one discipline to another, from one sector to another and this gives totally free creations – which break the codes, which break the walls of the sectors. It is very refreshing. The other thing is that they are in short production circuits insofar as there is not much money and means. A creation follows an idea in a very fast way, there is no logic of production as in France where sometimes it can take two years to produce a theatre show. Here, there is the text, the actors and let’s go. It has good and bad sides because it means that there are little means and that the artists finance themselves or find other means but this trans-disciplinarity and this freedom of creation is something very significant in the country.
Elise Cuny: 2023 is the European year of skills. I asked Jemima what skills she needed as a curator to perform her work better.
Jemima Kakizi: For now, the skills that I need the most are on how to get the exhibitions funded. You can have a very big project but no one is ready to sponsor it, which discourages artists. I know a lot of people who are not doing art, not because they do not want to be artists but because it is hard to pay bills by doing art only, relying on selling paintings only. Even if someone does not buy a painting, there is a way they can support artists, by for example supporting their projects or even including them in the work they are doing. For example, learning through art is a very powerful tool, anyone in any organisation can use that. I had a chance to work with different organisations such as UNICEF, Creative Action Institute, Girl Effect, I would encourage organisations and other people to include learning through arts in the work they do because it is the best way to learn and from my experience people like it.
Elise Cuny: Let’s hear now how a European cultural institute can support young artists, Johan describes to us the strategy of the French cultural centre in Kigali.
Johan-Hilel Hamel: We support young Rwandan artists in several ways. First of all, we program them at the French Institute. We offer them a platform, a stage with quality technical equipment, the support of a technician, with communication, so we promote them in the country. There is a training dimension, meaning that as soon as we can, we put them in touch with French or European professionals or professionals from the continent (Africa) as it happens regularly. We design masterclasses that can last from one day to a week or ten days in different sectors. And finally there is a dimension of cooperation which is probably the most important because it is the one that supports young artists most effectively, we send young artists to Europe, in France in particular, for artists’ residencies in cultural operators, and perhaps also in this dynamic there we imagine partnerships with big festivals or big cultural establishments that honour the young Rwandan creation.
Elise Cuny: Jemima gave us her views on the ways to support artists that go beyond funding.
Jemima Kakizi: Supporting artists means to even come to their events. When I started working seven years ago, we did not have enough support, you would do exhibitions and few people would show up. But now they are many, events can be crowded, especially on the opening of the exhibition. Support doesn’t always come in the form of money, support also comes in encouraging someone or even commenting or having a conversation about what they’re doing. They can learn from you and you can also learn from them.
Something else that I would like to mention is that I think it is very important to always remember women. As a person who is curating for women, I know that we do not have visibility. Women have even been erased from history of art. It is not that we did not have women artists worldwide or Rwanda, East Africa or in Africa, it is because at some points some of the women artwork were seen as crafts – but why ? I think it’s time for art practitioners, museums, art industry to do something. It is not about focusing on women only, but it’s about remembering that women have been left behind for centuries in the Arts and rewrite their history and make a change. If women are doing something, include them, if you think about an exhibition, an opportunity, remember that women artists are there. Make sure that you include them one way or another, because also women have many barriers that are stopping them from flourishing. Doing the arts 100% like men for example, if you give birth, life is gonna be different as a mother and as a provider. For very many reasons, you can have your periods today for example and you will have them for three days so you will not be as productive as you were. There are many things that are making women not be more proactive, it is not something that you can control so I think that it should be taken into consideration, so that women artists get empowered and are also given a voice and opportunities.
Elise Cuny: A European cultural centre abroad not only supports the artists in-country but can also make the artist connect in Europe, and worldwide.
Johan-Hilel Hamel: If I spot an artist, it is not only to have him perform at the French Institute of Rwanda, but also to connect him to the Francophone Film Festival or the Chaillot National Theatre or the Cité Internationale des Arts or the Théâtre de la Ville de Paris so that these professionals who are in large institutions can be in dialogue with them and potentially program them, produce them and then bring them to other places, other territories. So what we can bring above all is the network, with institutions that are up to the level of the artists. The institutions have means, a strike force in terms of communication and an extremely important public melting pot. The artworks that we see here in front of us [at the Institut français in Kigali] can have a capacity of up to 120 people. When I think of Kaya Byinshii who made the opening of the francophone film festival of Angoulême, she must have been 23-24 years old at this time, last year, it was the first time she did a concert like that, the first time she went out of Rwanda, and she absolutely did not lose her means. There was in front of her Anne Hidalgo, François Hollande, Rima Abdoul Malak, she managed her concert, everyone congratulated her afterwards saying that she was a wonderful artist, and today there are lots of positive things ahead for her. She goes to France regularly, she is going to do the music for the next documentary of Marie-France Brière, she is going to be programmed at the Boule Noire, she is going to do an African tour. We saw this artist, we saw her talent, we discussed with her and we made the connection.
I consider that a French or European institute is a simple link, a bridge between this continent and the European continent; in reality we are not more than that. We should not imagine that we are talent makers because the talents exist, they are there, we see them and we will say to institutions in Europe: “look, be interested” and then it is the institutions in Europe that choose or not to work with the artists.
Elise Cuny: One of the ways a European cultural centre can create bridges for artists from partner countries is through artist residency. Kaya Byinshii, a young Rwandan singer who was nominated for the RFI Discovery price 2021 tells us about what she thinks of cultural exchange and mobility. The music you’ll hear is the song “Mana y’i Rwanda”, God of Rwanda, the first song of her album released last year, entitled Ukwiyuburura.
Kaya Byinshii: Culture is an exchange. The way an artist goes to Europe and comes with a different perspective or a different colour on the painting they’re already had in the mind, is the same way somebody from Europe comes to Rwanda for example or to any country in Africa. It is also a motivation for an artist to be able to actually put in practice what they have, to motivate their spirits of inspiration, because for example if you help them sign into a label or into some production projects – because they will know they will have somewhere to put that, they will also be inspired to create and to go back and think how did it inspire me.
Elise Cuny: Why is mobility so important for young artists?
Kaya Byinshii: It is just always a good idea to move. Meeting people in France, it was a different culture, a different way of speaking – that was for me the most beautiful. Connecting with artists and musicians who have a different way of listening to music because with music it goes all the way to the roots. I learned for example about the music business, the way it is all aligned operational wise, the whole intellectual skills around it. And I got to introduce Rwanda. I went as a Rwandese, it shows in the way I walk, the way I talk, the way my talent is expressed. I just feel that spirit and I feel like it is also an opportunity for them to learn about that, to think “I heard someone, I met this girl, Kaya Byinshii”. It is just an incredible exchange.
Elise Cuny: It is important to offer the opportunity for artists to travel to Europe, but also bring European artists, and expertise in the country of cooperation. The concept of residency can take place in Europe or in the partner country, and benefits are mutual.
Johan-Hilel Hamel: Here we have Dorothée Munyaneza in art residency with the Chaillot Theatre for two months. She is creating a piece that she will present in Paris and in many other cities in France and Europe in 2024. In 2024, at Chaillot National Theatre of Dance there will be a Rwandan season of around a week-10 days and the idea is to present the diversity of Rwandan artistic creation, its youth, the new generation, 30 years after the genocide because in 2024 it will be the 30 years of commemorations.
Dorothée Munyaneza is here in direct contact with young Rwandan artists, she will tour with them, she will also play this role of spotting, she will connect them, go on tour – with all that a travel tour can bring in the life of an artist. Perhaps there is also a training dimension to working with an artist who is very well known in Europe, like Dorothée Munyaneza, and a young artist, whether he is French, European, Belgian, German or Rwandan, I think that it structures a career.
Elise Cuny: Education is a way to link youth and culture. Jemima touched upon learning through art, and I asked her to develop her opinion on that.
Jemima Kakizi: In a few words, art and education are the same but those are things that are done differently. Art is big, art is interesting and we should do more of it. Because through the arts you can educate anything, you can talk about mental health using the arts, you can talk about teenage pregnancy, you can talk about empowering women. Art is another way of learning that is different maybe from what we are used to in schools but a way that is very powerful. There is a project I have worked on in 2015 and 2016 with UNICEF, where I was facilitating children to learn through art. It was very interesting, I got introduced to the climate change topic and from that time I also use recyclable materials to create. I was hired to do something and I learnt from them and they also learned from me, as I was able to facilitate children to express themselves through art. I saw that kids enjoyed it and they did not forget what they have learned. The year after, some of the paintings they made were used for UNICEF calendars. For some of them it was their first experience, it is something that is going to stay with them for the rest of their lives. It creates memories as well, this is something you are creating for the first time and you will never forget. When you learn through art, you are learning and enjoying at the same time.
Elise Cuny: During her two month residency, Kaya also had the chance to present her music to kids in class, she tells us what she thought of that.
Kaya Byinshii: During the residency, I was doing the “actions culturelles” [cultural missions]. I was going to the schools with young kids and that was the best. The way they were enjoying it, they don’t know you, they probably just do geography in class but then they just feel your music, it was very interesting.
Elise Cuny: After listening to these inspiring ideas, I wanted to know what can be done more or better for cultural cooperation between Europe and Rwanda, and why it is mutually beneficial. The EU is present in Rwanda with its delegation, and embassies of its member states: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Beyond France, Germany has also opened its cultural centre in Kigali, the Goethe Institut. European projects exist such as the yearly film festival in the framework of European Autumn of Culture, displaying some of the best and latest European cinema productions and often for free. Through the African-Caribbean-Pacific-EU Culture program, the Rwandan agency in charge of cultural industry, Rwanda Development Board, obtained funds to support film and series production and promotion in the growing Rwandan film industry. But when it comes to visual arts, theatre and literature or direct support to artists, so far, cultural initiatives have been very much led by member states on individual or bilateral initiatives, leaving there space for more coordinated action and cooperation.
Johan-Hilel Hamel: With the Goethe Institute we sometimes have joint programs but we have also responded to a call for applications together, which is the Franco-German cultural fund for which we have been awarded a prize with the objective of training, production, and dissemination of young Rwandan artistic creation with a view to the event that will take place in May 2024 at the Chaillot National Theatre of Dance where the idea is to produce works of young Rwandan artists who will be displayed in this great European institution and who may then be called to tour in France and Germany. We also have projects with Belgium, particularly on literature or on cinema with the centre Wallonie Bruxelles International. These are national approaches that at some point combine to support a sector. We could imagine more concerted actions with European partners on certain actions.
It can happen on big operations like the international book meetings but it is not really European approaches because the Canadians are present, the Algerians or the Moroccans can be present or even Canal +. I remember that in my previous functions there were European calls for applications such as Europe Creative which could include a country from the African continent in a European logic. European projects are time-consuming, long-term approaches because they are large calls for applications with a lot of money and a lot of means to support sectors and develop industries and eco-systems in countries. I think that today the European approach has the seeds for it to work, but there is probably a second stage to open, now that there is a booming cultural sector that needs to be structured. We will probably need very effective calls for projects like Europe Creative to develop the creative and cultural industries in this country.
Elise Cuny: Among the structures who already support the development of artists careers and art industry in Rwanda, we can quote the Rwanda Arts Initiative founded in 2012 by Dorcy Rugamba with the goal to contribute to the professionalisation of art industry in Rwanda, Ishyo Art Center, founded in 2007 by eight Rwandan women including its director Carole Karemera with the mission to “make culture accessible to all” and L’Espace, a Creative lab, Private Theatre and production Studio founded by Dida Nibagwire and Wesley Rusibiza. When thinking of cooperation programs with partner countries, knowing the preexisting structures is important to build up on their efforts and strengthen those.
Jemima Kakizi: I think that there is a lot of collaboration needed. In Europe, the art industry is more advanced than in Rwanda so there is a lot we can learn from them but also there is also a lot they can learn from us. For example, as a society that is reserved, that puts heritage and culture first. I think it is very important when bringing a concept from Europe to Rwanda to build it in a way that we understand, because we cannot be part of something we do not understand. Sometimes you see projects coming to Rwanda but the way it is implemented does not align with our culture, with our lifestyle, and our way of understanding. I think it is very important to know. We have a lot to learn from artists from Europe and they can also learn a lot from us, that is why collaboration, sharing skills and trying to solve problems together is important.
Elise Cuny: This episode focusing on cultural bridges between Europe and Rwanda is an inspiration for artists and professionals from the cultural sectors. We saw that there is space for more coordinated cooperation from European projects that can benefit creative and cultural industries in partner countries, because there is a lot to learn from how Europe has structured this sector but also a lot to learn from ways artists create and think about this sector abroad. In the next episode, we stay in Rwanda and we will meet professionals from the creative and cultural sectors who took part in youth program initiatives promoting young leaders in the sector. We will explore with them the potential of regional cooperation initiatives such as the African Union-European Union youth cooperation hub and the Global Cultural Relations Program.
Damien Helly: Thank you for listening to today’s episode of our Composing trust podcast by culture Solutions! If you liked it, you can subscribe and follow us on your favourite podcast platforms, and contact us at culturesolutions.eu.
The views expressed in this podcast are personal and are not the official position of culture Solutions as an organisation.
Musical creation credits: Introduction and closing by Stéphane Lam; Mana y’i Rwanda (Intro) by Kaya Byinshii – Ukwiyuburura (2022)