The GoDown and the Arterial Network

The GoDown was part of a delegation from 14 African countries meeting on Goree Island, Senegal, in March of 2007 and whose objective was to discuss the theme “Revitalizing Africa’s Cultural Assets.” Research indicated that Africa contributes less than 1% to world trade in creative goods and services. Delegates resolved to unite across national borders to address their common challenges. A Task Team, which included The GoDown’s Executive Director, Joy Mboya, was elected to represent the five African regions and a secretariat was appointed to coordinate the activities of the Network. 

During Arterial’s second conference in September 2009, a constitutional framework was adopted, a 10-person steering committee was elected and country representatives were mandated to establish Arterial Network branches in as many African countries as possible.

The East Africa representatives in this first steering committee were The GoDown’s Executive Director, Joy Mboya and Sarah Nsigaye of Amakula Film Festival. In 2010, the Network’s East Africa Secretariat was formed, with its offices within The GoDown’s compound. It was headed by Garnette Oluoch-Olunya who is currently a strategic consultant with The GoDown. 

At inception, the aims of Arterial Network were: 

  1. To develop networks to lobby on behalf of Africa’s creative sector at national, continental and international levels. 
  2. To collect and distribute information to empower civil society in African countries to take informed action in their interests.  
  3. To facilitate debate about local and international cultural themes and develop African positions and leadership in such issues. 
  4. To help build new markets for African artists and for Africa’s creative goods. 
  5. To build capacity and leadership withing the African creative sector through training programs, mentorship, residencies etc. 
  6. To help improve the working conditions and defend the rights of African artists. 
  7. To promote and defend human rights, including the right to freedom of creative expression.  

The GoDown was an active member of the Arterial Network, convening and leading the Network’s Kenya Chapter. We also made significant contributions to the Network’s toolkits in arts marketing, arts advocacy, fundraising and a directory of information about the arts on the continent.