Centers of Learning for Photography in Africa

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Centres of Learning for Photography in Africa (CLPA) is a Goethe-Institut supported network of photography schools and educators from Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan.

Initiated in Berlin in December 2014, CLPA’s main aim is to contribute to the professionalisation of African photography and ensure future generations of skilled and conscious African photographers by strengthening and promoting photography training on the continent. Goethe-Insitut’s role as an incubator, has included providing mainly financial, and infrastructural support, hosting conferences and facilitating communication between network members during the first project phase

The individual contexts vary, with each network member facing their own set of challenges, solutions and opportunities; therein lies the network’s strength. CLPA is based on the premise that the exchange of ideas and solutions between organisations sharing the same goal and ambitions is a sustainable way of improving the photography training landscape on the continent.

CLPA’s first network meeting took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in May 2015 and included training for trainers, project management training and a curriculum development workshop. In October the same year, CLPA met again in Bamako, Mali, where the network discussed its future strategy and hosted a public forum themed ‘The state and the future of photography training in Africa’, as part of the official program of the 10th edition of Bamako Encounters.

In October 2016 the network met in Lagos, Nigeria in connection with Lagos Photo Festival. The public forum hosted by CLPA as part of the festival program was themed ‘African Knowledge Production through Photography and Interdisciplinary Artistic Practice’. A photography school survey and mapping of schools on the continent was also commissioned.

2016 also saw the birth of CLPA’s quarterly network newsletter, through which the institutions keep abreast with photography training related activities and developments across Africa. In addition the newsletter, which currently is spearheaded by John Fleetwood with rotating editorship among CLPA’s member institutions, features individual members’ thoughts around their work, their role as trainers and practicing photographers as well as reflections on the state and role of photography on the continent and beyond.

In 2017 the CLPA-members are working actively towards the realisation of collaborative projects.