[Below is a message from the Chair of the Council of Management of the Africa Centre in London's Convent Gardens. A new building is in the works and the Centre has a new website. This message is taken verbatim from their new website.]
Welcome to our new Africa Centre website!
The Africa Centre is being renewed to serve its stakeholders better. Since its inaugural launch in 1964, the Centre has played an important role in projecting a positive face of Africa in London, providing a focal point for all forms of cultural and social activities related to Africa through meetings, talks, visual arts exhibitions, cinema, literature, and the performing arts.
As you may be aware, financial difficulties led to the deterioration of the Covent Garden building, ultimately hindering the full and effective use of the facilities and affecting programming. The latter has now been reduced to a minimum and we are currently forging ahead with plans to redevelop the premises and sustain its operations into the future.
The purpose of the present redevelopment is to guarantee a future Africa Centre where the building’s main facilities can effectively serve the Centre’s remit as a topflight contemporary African cultural and creative centre in Europe, whilst at the same time providing income generation that will ensure long-term sustainability. Business of Culture were brought on board to manage the Centre in the interim and to direct and advise on the Development of the Centre and its future organisation. Considerable progress has been made in stabilising the Centre’s operations and finances and in creating a credible foundation to go forward.
Since the redevelopment process started in 2006, we have come a long way. A lot is happening and various project preparation strands are coming to completion. These include the Feasibility Study carried out by a professional team led by Ash Sakula Architects and project managers, Malcolm Reading Consultants; the commercial and business case for the future centre, incorporating the findings of a thoroughly researched cultural demand assessment, carried out by Good Communications and Business of Culture; the fundraising strategy being developed by The Philanthropy Company and the development of a new programming vision for the future Africa Centre. During this transitional period the centre will continue to be involved in small-scale but exciting cultural events that will pave the way forward.
As Chair of the Africa Centre’s Council of Management since 2004, and on behalf of the Trustees, I would like to reiterate our determination that the Centre’s role be continued and enhanced in the future, free from the uncertainties of the past twenty years. We are committed to realising the potential of King Street site, which has been one of the main strengths of the Centre in its forty-year history and, and offers an unrivalled 'shop window' for Africa in central London.
This new website forms an essential part of our series of initiatives intended to incubate the new Africa Centre in people’s minds, and to reflect the dynamism and excitement of the redevelopment process on an ongoing basis. I encourage you to visit the site regularly for updates on progress made, as well as for details of upcoming programming activities and initiatives.
Oliver Tunde Andrews
The Africa Centre