We Make Books 2022-2023

we make books ©SBMEN

We Make Books (2022-2023) is an initiative of Goethe-Institut Nigeria that aims at capacity building, international exchange, and networking of small and medium-sized art publishers, editors and writers within/across Africa.

To encourage the growing development of, and interest in the contemporary art scene across numerous African countries, the project is primarily focused on the creation and distribution of art books in collaboration with art book publishers, editors, art writers, critics, curators, and galleries across the African continent.

Within the context of the We Make Books project, Goethe-Institut Nigeria has partnered with African Art Book Fair (AABF) to present a two-day networking and capacity-building event in Dakar, Senegal (April, 2022). There have also been collaborations with the Society for Book and Magazine Editors of Nigeria (SBMEN) and Goethe-Institut Cameroon to organise and facilitate an Art Writing and Criticism Workshop (Lagos, August 2022 – March 2023) and a workshop on co-publishing for Art Publishers across Africa (Yaoundé, February 2023) to discuss and propose possible solutions to the issue of book distribution in the continent, respectively.

The project is looking to collaborate with art publishers (or publishers interested in the publication of art books), art writers and critics, book fairs, galleries, curators, art organisations, publishing networks, and other art & book initiatives in Africa and the African diaspora. The goal of this project is to promote a collective vision around the creation, publication, distribution, and sales of art books in Africa. The objective is to produce quality work, advance standards and exhibit the highest levels of professionalism.


In April 2022, We Make Books partnered with the African Art Book Fair (AABF) and MissRead (Berlin) to present a two-day networking and capacity-building event in Dakar, Senegal. The event centred on the publication, distribution, and circulation of art books across Africa.

Goethe-Institut Nigeria has collaborated with the Society for Book and Magazine Editors of Nigeria (SBMEN) to organise and facilitate an Art Writing and Criticism Workshop. The workshop comprised several online and physical workshop sessions (held in Lagos, Nigeria) to offer young writers training in art writing and criticism, copy editing, and style guides to grow their careers. Selected participants learned from established writers, editors, artists, and curators. The workshops were followed by other events such as guest talks by artists and art writers, field trips to local galleries and the Art X international art fair.
In February 2023, We Make Books in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Kamerun, AFRIKADAA (Paris) and Mosaiques (Yaounde), invited art publishers from Africa to participate in a program that looks at the questions and challenges around co-publishing between art book and magazine publishers in Africa.

The program supports the creation of a dynamic network of art publishers on the African continent and the participants were invited to become part of a group of publishers engaged in a continuous exchange on art book and magazine making, with the objective to develop cooperation between publishers and start co-publishing projects to be implemented in 2023. The workshop included moderated peer-exchange, input sessions, a mini-book fair with public panels and gallery/ artist studio visits.


For enquiries or collaboration ideas, kindly contact wemakebooks@goethe.de.