Who - and How
Culture-Makers are Changemakers
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Trust and Intentional Serendipity
What happens when artists, cultural stakeholders, academics, journalists and audiences
from across boundaries get on a train together:
To date, EAST has engaged over 170 creatives from across the region, India, Europe and North America in three editions of the project. We have invited emerging and established artists, as well as ‘movers and shakers’ from the industry, regular passengers, journalists and academics on the journey, with the intention of creating a catalytic experience, in which they can learn from each other and develop synergies.
People who trust each other, work with each other: The emotional, physical and creative experience pushes boundaries and builds trust, inspiring participants to experiment across disciplines and explore alternative narratives. EAST teaches us how to create inclusive spaces with shared decision making, build bridges and co-create: it is not an easy experience but a powerful one.
EAST is a collaboration between individual creative professionals and organizations. It is shaped by a collective of creatives from the region and beyond. Founded by Geraldine Hepp and Poppy Spowage in 2016, EAST has been brought to life through collaborations with organizations, ventures and foundations such as What’s Good Studios, Distant Relatives Backpackers, Creatives Garage, British Council, Africalia, Goethe Institute, Burning Man, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Africa Culture Fund, CDEA, BASATA, TaSUBa and FireFly.
Work-in-progress Performances, Collaborations and Insights
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Connection and Co-Creation
when artists don't have to cater to
a specific market or grant?
The real impact of EAST lies in the creative re-birth participants experience on the journey and the collaborations and connections that emerge based on the trust they have built through this shared experience. It speaks to the potency of process vs output-oriented residencies and to the power of atmospheres, unique environments and shared adventures that allow us to re-imagine and re-invent ourselves and our worlds.
The ripple-effects include collaborations, insights and thought-leadership created by artists, thinkers, audiences and stakeholders.
EAST researches perspectives on industry challenges and opportunities, creating regional and global visibility for contemporary art in East Africa which is largely known for its safaris and exotic traditional culture. We are structuring conversations with artists, stakeholders and audiences to connect dots, and contribute to a thriving and globally connected creative economy in Africa.
This multidisciplinary art project on black hair came on the train in 2017 - and incorporated new collaborations with artists from EAST
An illustration and animation studio for education - the founders met on the train in 2017.
A track created 2016 by EA Wave producer JINKU feat. EAST artists Mo Pearson, Teto Tutuma, Michel Ongaro and Joseph Kiwango.
A video by Anna Cardovillis feat.
EAST16 artists, poetry by Checkmate Mido
and a dance by Adam Chienjo
Championed amongst others by EAST16 artists Jinku from EA Wave, Loa Myst (at the time with Cosmic Homies), TAIO (at the time Cosmic Homies), and Tetu Shani, the #NuNairobi movement gained a lot of wind following the train journey building on new connections made and inspiration gained.
off/track is a creative collective [not a legal entity] founded by Geraldine Hepp and Poppy Spowage. We create work in collaboration with partners and individuals.
EAST16 collaborated with Distant Relatives Eco-Lodge and Creatives Garage and was supported by British Council and powered by What's Good Live.
EAST17 collaborated with Distant Relatives Eco-Lodge, Creatives Garage, and was supported by Africalia and the British Council.
EAST19 collaborated with CDEA, Tasuba Arts College in Tanzania, and was supported by individual patrons, Burning Man Global Arts Grant and the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK.
LOST+FOUND 2021 was a collaboration between the EAST collective, MeshWorks, Freehand Studios, Positively African and Ugly Duck, supported by Africa Culture Fund, Goethe Institute Tanzania and Goethe Zentrum Kampala.
Lost+Found 2023 is a collaboration between the EAST collective, MeshWorks, Freehand Studios, Ugly Duck and Nafasi Arts with the support of British Council #SSAArts and Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council. In 2023, EAST is supported by Miller-Zillmer Foundation.
Photos by Lena Giovanazzi, Jude Clark, Bwette Photography, Christina Thompson, Danny Msirikale, Martin Kharumwa, Geraldine Hepp, Rohini Das or by courtesy of the artists and as indicated on Instagram.
Videos by Emily McCartney, Anna Cardovillis and Ali Musoke