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British Council Ends UK/NIGERIA 2015-16 Programme And Set For More Collaborations

The British Council – the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities – today organised a reception to mark the formal closure of the UK/Nigeria 2015-16.

Abuja, the beautiful capital of Nigeria played host to the closing reception which saw the gathering of top government officials including the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed ably represented by Mrs Grace Isu Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Arts & Culture, notable practitioners in the creative industry and the crème of the diplomatic corps including the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Paul Arkwright.

The UK/Nigeria 2015-16 programme was the first of its kind in West Africa organised by British Council. It had 3 main goals including the fostering of Innovation - which focused on building digital, technical and entrepreneurial skills and promoting creation of new work by young people in new, non-traditional arts spaces;
Increasing access to the arts focused on presenting art in public spaces to promote community engagement with arts and culture. It also built capacity and relationships to stimulate artistic collaborations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Performers during RoundHouse On Mass performance  at Muson Centre, Lagos
Candoco performing at the DisFix Showcase in Lagos

Dayo Liadi (Ijodee Dance Company) performing at the DisFix Showcase Lagos

The programme engaged young Nigerians (aged 18 – 35) by building new audiences for UK and Nigerian arts and culture and ran from September 2015 to March 2017 in several cities across Nigeria including Lagos, Calabar, Abuja, Kaduna, Abeokuta and Jos, and in the UK in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and Brighton.

With 79 UK and Nigerian partners involved in collaborations facilitated by the programme, over 199,032,000 people were reached face-to-face, online and through broadcast channels, 179 policy makers attended various conferences, seminars, workshops and events, 7,135 artists and creative entrepreneurs  were trained, and 25 people were awarded grants through the programme.

The immediate outcomes of the programme – new collaborations & stronger understanding between UK and Nigerian Creatives, better skilled artists and young people, more audience for the arts – are evidenced by testimonials of participants and beneficiaries of the programme during the closing reception. The UK/Nigeria 2015-16 Arts & Culture programme was no doubt one of the most audacious programmes in the arts landscape of Nigeria in recent times after the renowned Festival of Arts and Culture held in Nigeria in 1977 (FESTAC).
Fashion DNA Image Makers photoshoot

Pottery making classes at House 33  as part of the Maker Library Project in Abuja

UK/Nigeria 2015-16 also helped facilitate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Nigerian and British Governments meant to act as a catalyst for transforming the creative industries into a creative economy. Under the MoU, the British Council is expected to use its capacity, business knowledge, network and technical expertise to drive this development and transformation.

Carol Moore, one of the facilitators of the Acting Together project with a participant, Olabode Moses of Video Waves Kaduna

The highpoint of the closing reception was a showcase of the impact of the UK/Nigeria 2015-16 programme, testimonials by selected project leads from Lagos, Calabar and Abuja and a presentation of the end of programme report by the UK/Nigeria 2015-16 Programme Director and British Council Head of Arts West Africa, Ojoma Ochai.

And you can be sure, I attended and covered the event too. I have more materials I can share with you if you need on this programme. You can get in touch via 
Ebenezer Opara, Myself and other media personalities at the event

L-R Kamal, Ebere Obioma, Me and Dotun Roy

See more information on the UK/Nigeria 2015-16 season:

About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.
We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.
Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.