Lauren Clarke (2015) at Africa in Motion

Community Curation in Practice Africa In Motion

 In June, I joined the Africa in Motion team as Programme & Volunteer Coordinator. It has been a fantastic experience thus far – working with a small team has meant I’ve been able to get stuck into lots of different areas of the festival development. One of the most exciting projects I have been able to work on is our Pop-Up Festival in Paisley, which is be happening on the 29th of October at Thomas Coats Memorial Church. We will also be holding one in Musselburgh on the 30th of October.


The idea behind the pop-festival is not only to reach new communities and continue to develop our audiences as a festival – but also to move outside of the cities. As we all know festivals are usually concentrated within a particular city, but this pop-festival is an opportunity to move beyond those boundaries. It has been given us a chance to work with local groups in these communities and programme what they want to see, as oppose to parachuting in and screening what we think they should be watching.


In Paisley, we partnered with Create Paisley and Pachedu. Create Paisley works to deliver multi-arts workshops and programmes to the youth of Paisley, while Pachedu focus on promoting diversity and tolerance in the Renfrewshire communities. Through working with these organsations, we were able to engage the local community and have them curate the mini-festival. We spoke to them and conducted focus groups discussing the genre, country, language, themes they would be interested in – then hosted a curation workshop where we spoke about African Cinema and how we programme the festival.


Based on their interests we showed them a compilation of films – from which they selected three. Following the consensus on the film selection, we supported them in deciding on various complementary events to enhance the film screening. The group of individuals we have been working with have been fantastic – all really keen on the event and excited to take ownership of the mini-festival – which is exactly what we wanted from the beginning. The project has been about the communities – bringing local groups together and promoting community cohesion – and it has been eye opening experience for me to see how community curation can actually work in practice. It has made me reflect on the importance of engaging local communities in the process of curation and how film can really does have the power to bring people together.


It was has been a very exciting project so far and it still isn’t over – check out our Facebook event for further details:


Special thank you to Maria Suarez from Create Paisley and Johannes Gonani from Pachedu – this event would not be happening without them. Also the rest of the AiM team who have worked on this event.


I also would like to thank both Susan Kemp and Jane Sillars – who provided me with an overwhelming amount of support and training during and beyond my MSc in Film, Exhibition & Curation that have prepared me to enter the world of film exhibition.