Yes, through the involvement with international and regional artists in festivals, concerts, exchanges, workshops etc. Here are two example:
Colours of the Nile Documentary Film Festival:
For two years running, the Ethiopian Film Makers Association, in collaboration with a local company, Blue Nile Film and Television Academy, hosted 50 foreign directors/ cinematographers/ actors/ producers/ sound/ lighting/ costumes/ set design, scriptwriters in Ethiopia for two weeks to work with 150 Ethiopian film makers.
The event included:
- 30 Free public screenings of local and international documentaries and feature films in 3 venues in National Theatre, Alliance Francaise and Pushkin Centre. These were followed by public discussion with the director.
- Creating opportunities for scriptwriters to receive feedback and co-funding from foreign filmmakers to produce 3 films. This included local Ethiopian filmmakers.
- Exchange of skills, master classes, training, showcasing and discussion of films
This event was open to the general audience targeted in the training component. Filmmakers were drawn from all regions. Youth and women where majority of the 150 participants were women, also had the exposure and training.
(see also Selam Ethiopia in the Preferential treatment and its capacity building programs in the field of music)
Pan-African Circus Festival, by Fekat Circus
In November 2015, a dynamic group of Ethiopian young circus lovers called the Fekat Circus (the blossoming circus) organized the first African Circus Arts Festival with the support of UNESCO, the Prince Claus Fund, Fondation Alta Mane Geneva, Fondazione Alta Mane Italia, and few other minor donors.
Totally, 107 performers from Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South-Africa and Zambia attended the event to link, share, and highlight the continent’s cultural wealth and diversity.
The Festival program included three days shows in a central cultural venue, two days workshop among the artists, and three days meeting among the circus managers. Besides giving a vast audience (12,000 people) the opportunity to attend a unique circus performance, the Festival has been an occasion for African circuses to exhibit their talent, gain visibility, exchange experiences, and acquire new tools to better develop and promote themselves.
Despite its cultural, social and economic importance, circus is still poorly recognized in Ethiopia. Considering its expansion and the actual economic boom in several African countries, the Festival has been a successful way to showcase circus as an art form to count with in the continent’s development.
Main Festival out-puts:
- Creation of an African Circus Alliance (with 8 African circuses)
- Circus attracted the attention of local authorities, who then decided to open a TVET on circus arts.
The second edition of the Festival is scheduled in November 2017 thanks to funds from the European Union.
This extend beyond festivals and reach toward the cultural diplomacy.
The Ethiopian Writer Association and its international programme:
The Ethiopian Writer Association has a few international bi-lateral agreements. For example with the Egyptian writer association (mutual invitations and literature workshops are planned) or the Russian Writer association (only one meeting has happened so far). The strongest connection is with the Sudan Writer Association.
They also have a pan-african vision. In 2014, they organized a African Writer Association Meeting: 50 members from all over Africa and even African American writers spend a week in Addis, all paid by the organisation through sponsors. All organization developed good relationships but the dynamic of organizing another meeting in a different country is weak.
Since the Ethiopian Writer Association received a land from the municipality (3000 m2 plot), they want to organize the Pan-Afirican Writer Association and build a modern office, a guest house, a library and a stage for public readings. A school of architecture is currently working on the project that will need to be funded.
We can also mention a public-private partnership: The Ethiopian Art for All festival, orgenised jointly by the MoCT and the Visual Artists Assoication for the 3 past years. This festival based in Addis, but inviting artists from Amhara and Oromia regional states is changing venues evey year. In 2014, it was orgenised in Addis Ababa’s private galleries with additonal street performances, in 2015 it was held at the Ethioian Cultural Center and in 2016 at the Oromo Cultural Center of Addis Ababa. The budget of this event is provided by the Ministry of Culture (around 86 000birr)
The Ethiopian Visual Arts Association has established a partnership with the Youth Suddanese Plastic Artists Union thanks to the Nile Basin countries cultural cooperation programme.They already had reciprocal visits and exhibitions.