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Nick Cavanagh

UK/Nigeria 2015–16 was a major season of arts in Nigeria aimed at building new audiences, creating new collaborations and strengthening relationships between the UK and Nigeria.

Programmed in association with a host of partners, it commenced in September 2015 and featured more than 30 projects and more than 340 events in art, fashion, design, theatre, dance, music, literature and film throughout Nigeria and included showcases of Nigerian arts and creative industries in the UK.  

UK/Nigeria 2015–16 focused on creating access to art, new digital work, innovation, art in public spaces and working with young people.

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).

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.

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 Information & 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 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. 

Download pictures from the UKNG Closure Event below