By Andrew Mulenga
If numbers are to be of any consequence, Africa will be well represented at the 5th World Summit on Arts & Culture in Melbourne, Australia this year as seventeen Africans have been awarded bursaries to attend, courtesy of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA).
According to a recent announcement in the Arterial Networks monthly bulletin, delegates have been selected from Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Zambia will be represented by Victor Makashi, Director, National Arts Council of Zambia and Prince Lamba, Chief Cultural Affairs Officer, Department of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.
The summit will run from the October 3 - 6 and according to an online welcome statement by Australian actress and Hollywood film star Cate Blanchett, the summit "will bring thinkers, provocateurs and arts policy leaders together to share stories about the arts and its role in our lives."
"The Summit theme; Creative Intersections, acknowledges the arts as a thread. A thread that weaves and binds together the many different parts of our lives; health, family, commerce, humanity... It is this precious thread that helps shape our identity and binds together in a common spirit. It is critically important that arts policy makers, the people who directly impart the lives of artists, find time to talk together. The Summit promises to be a creative global melting pot," states the message.
As much as Blanchett's meditative statement may be indicative of the summits expectation, it is tempting to muse on how Africa's proxies to world events tend to play a bench warming role and how they often return without much to show, save for conference photographs and a few knickknacks purchased through the cordial provisions of per diems.