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Promoting culture and creativity in Ghana: bottom-up strategies for creative industries development

By Akosua K. Darkwah, Eleonora Belfiore, Adwoa O. Bobie, and Katherine V. Gough

Published in: Cultural Trends

Abstract: The neoliberal turn in the cultural and creative industries has led to two distinct bodies of work. Global North scholars focus on the tension between the emphasis on the creative industries as an engine of growth and the unequal access to the means of cultural production and consumption that neoliberalism presents. Global South scholars face a different reality; the increasing inability of governments to provide institutional support, particularly finance, for growing these industries. This article documents grassroots alternatives to financial support from the state for growing a cultural and creative industry in the global South. Drawing on data generated from multiple sources about the work of two private institutions in Ghana, this article shows how private institutions and individuals can fundamentally shape the creative and cultural industries in ways that allow them to make their mark globally, even in the absence of financial support from the government.

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Customized Prèt-a-Porter: West Africa’s Answer to the Quest for Sustainable Fashion

By Adwoa Owusuaa Bobie

Published in: Fashion Practice

Abstract: The discourse on sustainable fashion has so far ignored two important perspectives; the contribution of fashion from Africa and how socio-cultural factors contribute to sustainability. The paper bridges this gap. It discusses the West African prèt-a-porter fashion production model which is undergirded by socio-cultural milieu of exclusivity, uniqueness, and individuality. Customized prèt-a-porter is a limited-edition ready to wear model by Ghanaian and Nigerian fashion designers that ensures measured volume of production, demands high level of creativity, and proscribe sustainable laundry measures to ensure long-life span of clothes. The paper is a qualitative research study conducted in Lagos, Nigeria, and Accra Ghana between 2018 and 2021. It involved in-depth interviews of fashion designers in the two cosmopolitan cities on their experiences as fashion producers in Africa.

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Career geographies in the Ghanaian fashion industry: from brain drain to brain gain and brain circulation

By Adwoa Owusuaa Bobie, Akosua Keseboa Darkwah & Katherine V. Gough

Published in: Globalisation, Societies and Education 

Abstract: Brain drain has long been argued to be one of Africa’s key development challenges. This paper provides a more nuanced analysis of African career mobility through a focus on professionals in the creative industries, specifically Ghanaian fashion designers. Drawing on interviews with 31 fashion designers but focusing on the career geography of internationally renowned Kofi Ansah, we show how ‘brain drain’ turned into ‘brain gain’ and consequently ‘brain circulation’, fundamentally transforming Ghana’s fashion industry. The paper thus demonstrates how the knowledge and expertise return migrants gather through international career mobility can be converted into assets at an individual, national, and international level.

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By Rufai Haruna Kilu, Mohammed-Aminu Sanda, and Ana Alacovska 

Published in: African Journal of Economic and Management Studies

Key insights: There is growing scholarly discourse towards COVID-19 pandemic and creative entrepreneurship in the perspectives of Global South. Extant literature lacks sufficient empirical evidence on the subject matter. This paper therefore provides insights into business models and business model shifts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic among creative entrepreneurs in Ghana.

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Conceptualizing the Influence of Digital Musicpreneurs on the Music Streaming Ecosystem in the Global South: An Actor-Network Perspective

By Reginald Arthur, Olivia Anku-Tsede, Mohammed Aminu Sanda, Eleonora Belfiore, and Thilde Langevang

This paper appears in: Ahram, T. & Karwowski, W. (Eds.), Application of Emerging Technologies: Proceedings of the AHFE International Conference on Human Factors in Design, Engineering, and Computing. AHFE 2023 Hawaii Edition (pp. 56–67).

Abstract: This study, employing Actor-Network Theory (ANT), examines the impact of digital musicpreneurs on Ghana's music streaming ecosystem amidst the rise of music streaming and independent music production. Through qualitative research, it delves into the interactions among key actors in Ghana's music streaming landscape. The findings underscore the challenges faced by artists due to a lack of professional structures, leading to their adoption of multiple roles. Artist managers, often close associates, play a significant role in artist management. Additionally, the integration of streaming data into music awards decisions reflects evolving success metrics. Fanbase communities emerge as crucial supporters, promoting streaming culture and serving as pivotal resources for artists. By offering insights into the roles, challenges, and growth prospects of actors within the ecosystem, this study enhances understanding of Ghana’s dynamic music streaming landscape.


The paper can be read at:


Exploring everyday resilience in the creative industries through devised theatre: a case of theatre students and recent graduates in Ghana

By Rashida Resario, Robin Steedman, and Thilde Langevang

Published in International Journal of Cultural Studies

Key insights: The concept of resilience has become widely used to account for how people respond both to acute crisis and, increasingly, to protracted precarity. Yet, cultural studies theorists have also vigorously critiqued resilience discourse as a tool of neoliberal governmentality. In this article, we turn from the discourse of resilience to the practice of resilience. We argue, through a case of theatre students and recent graduates in Ghana, that the practice of resilience can be both individual and collective. Moreover, we show that resilience practices involve the exercise of agency at various scales through the specific practices of coping, reworking, and resisting. Finally, we show the merits of using artistic research methods, such as devised theatre, to unveil the complex ways that creatives practice resilience in the everyday.


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‘The show must go on!’ Hustling through the compounded precarity of Covid-19 in the creative industries

By Thilde Langevang,  Robin Steedman, Ana Alacovska, Rashida Resario, Rufai Haruna Kilu, and Mohammed-Aminu Sanda

Published in Geoforum

Key insights: The article offers a qualitative examination of compounded precarity in creative work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on repeated in-depth interviews with twelve creative workers operating in the creative industries in Ghana, we examine one of the most prevalent practices for navigating, coping with, and managing compounded precarity: that of hustling. We empirically identify and discuss three interrelated practices of hustling in creative work: digitalization, diversification, and social engagement. We present a new way of conceptualizing creative work in precarious geographies by theorizing hustling, and the associated worker resourcefulness, improvisation, savviness, hopefulness, and caring not merely as an individualized survival strategy, but rather as an agentic and ethical effort to turn the vicissitudes of life into situated advantages and opportunities, and even social change.

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Imaginaries of platform entrepreneurship in the creative industries: techno-optimism and subversion in Ghanaian filmmaking

By Robin Steedman, Ana Alacovska, Thilde Langevang, and Rashida Resario

Published in Information, Communication & Society

Key insights: Drawing on interviews and focus groups with 50 filmmakers in four different regions in Ghana we show how Ghanaian filmmakers mobilize, deploy and resist imaginaries of platform entrepreneurship in their efforts to make sense of their situated entrepreneurial practices and to imagine the future of their creative businesses. We found that rather than naïvely adhering to techno-optimist imaginaries, through their practices, Ghanaian filmmaking entrepreneurs challenged the power geometry of the current platform ecosystem dominated by major Silicon Valley players.

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Care in creative work: Exploring the ethics and aesthetics of care through arts-based methods

By Thilde Langevang, Rashida Resario, Ana Alacovska, Robin Steedman, Dorothy Akpene Amenuke, Sela Kodjo Adjei & Rufai Haruna Kilu

Published in Cultural Trends

Key insight: Building on our experiences of conducting an artistic workshop in Kumasi in 2020 we argue that the ethics and aesthetics of care in creative work can best be captured and appreciated through the use of innovative arts-based methodologies that afford researchers the opportunity to explore care-fully the relational aspects of creative work. We show that artistic workshops themselves constitute a caring and socially useful form of empirical research that upholds the principles of ‘creative justice’ by fostering more respectful, attentive and affective relationships among research participants and between researchers and participants.

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The work of hope: Spiritualizing, hustling and waiting in the creative industries in Ghana

By Ana Alacovska, Thilde Langevang, and Robin Steedman

Published in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space

Key insight: Drawing on twenty four in-depth interviews with creative workers in Accra, we contend that in conditions of radical and pervasive precarity, hope represents a distinct form of work in which the potentialities of the moment extend the present into the future, while the future, however hazy and unimaginable, affects the economic vitality of the present. We explore three dominant practices of hope: hustling, waiting, and spiritualizing.

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Papers in progress


"Female Film Entrepreneurs in Ghana: Focus on Shirley Frimpong-Manso and Evelyn Asampana", forthcoming in African Screen Worlds (Duke UP)


"The Relational and Redistributive Dynamics of Mutual Aid: Implications of Afro-Communitarian Ethics for the Study of Creative Work", forthcoming in Business Ethics Quarterly


"Spirituality in creative work: How craft entrepreneurs in Ghana cope with precarity", forthcoming in Cultural Trends 

In development 

  1. The life/work knot in the creative industries

  2. ‘This place becomes a place’: Artists and placemaking on the margins

  3. “‘Squeezing Money out of a Rock’: Diverse Economies of Contemporary Theatre in Ghana.” 

  4.  Learning from Creative Entrepreneurs’ Lived Experiences in Creative Enterprise Creation and Sustainability: Insight from Ghana

  5. Ghanaian Artists and the Global Art Market:  A Socio-Economic Perspective on the “Silent Art Revolution” in Ghana

  6. Boosting Economic Value in Ghana’s Film Industry: Rethinking Media Policy, Regulation and Copyright Law

  7. Working with platforms: The use of social media in fashion entrepreneurship in Accra

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