Excited to be on the Business of Culture Panel at this year's London Business School Africa Day.
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The Business of Culture – Boosting the impact and export value of African culture
An UNCTAD 'Creative Economy Report' in 2010 noted that worldwide demand for music and other 'creative industry' products not only doubled between 2002-2008, but remained stable and resilient during the global recession. Already one of the most dynamic sectors of global commerce, creative industries are now presenting themselves as novel solutions to alleviate poverty, generate employment, and drive economic growth in developing nations.
Africa's fertile heritage of cultural forms has made for exciting times over the last decade, as it sees its art, music, film and literature gain in value and recognition on both the national and international stage. This panel brings together authorities from some of the continent's most successful cultural businesses to share their experience, optimism and strategies for the future. Panellists will discuss the untapped value of Africa's creative talents and cultural heritage, the progress that has been made thus far, as well as the best strategies in the future for nourishing, financing, protecting and exporting Africa's culture and cultural businesses to the world.
Founder of the Johannesburg Art Fair and Director of Artlogic
Ross Douglas founded the Johannesburg Art Fair in 2008. Since then it has grown from strength to strength, showcasing the best in contemporary South African and African art and design, and quietly shifting the focus on the continent away from folksy craftwork towards cutting-edge contemporary art.
Ross graduated from a degree in Philosophy and Economics at the University of Kwazulu-Natal before travelling to the Okavango Delta in Botswana to work in the emerging eco-tourism industry, to Mozambique to produce a documentary on the demobilisation of Renamo and Freelimo soldiers, and back to South Africa in 1994 to work on commercials and documentaries for TV and the National Geographic. Re-producing William Kentridge’s animated Soho Eckstein series into an event with 35mm film projection and live music in performances across New York, London, Berlin and Milan, was the turning point that led to the founding of Artlogic, a company that produces art events by selling branding rights to corporates. Artlogic launched the Joburg Art Fair in 2008, successfully partnering with FNB to create a marketplace that would bring together buyers, sellers and ideas, and is fast evolving into the premier annual art event in Africa.
Founder Storm 360 Records, Chairman of SocialMediaWeek Lagos
Obi Asika is a passionate advocate of creative industries, with his company, Storm360, at the forefront of driving urban entertainment across Nigeria and the rest of Africa since its founding in 1991. Originally named Storm Productions, it began by engaging in nightclub promotion, music television production, artist management and music recording, launching the first Afro-Hiphop group, Junior & Pretty in 1993. In 2004, this spawned Storm Records, which managed artists such as Ikechukwu, Naeto C, Sasha, GT the Guitarman, Dare, Jazzman Olofin and Tosin Martins. Storm Productions branched into television through a partnership with IBST Media, a broadcast facility company, forming Storm Vision, which produced some of the biggest television shows ever seen in West Africa, including Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO); Play TV; Big Brother Nigeria; The Scoop; 100% Naija; ILN Teacher’s TV; The Apprentice Africa and Dragon’s Den. Storm Vision has also produced music documentaries (This Day Music Festival 1 & 2), adverts (Heart of Africa) and other audio-visual content. Now, as Storm 360, which launched officially in September 2008, Storm offers clients a one-stop source for customized, creative content solutions through audio-visual, interactive, experiential or music-based platforms.
Obi's wide-ranging interests take him to other sectors such as oil and gas, real estate, information technology, agriculture, sports marketing and media. His various positions include: Executive Director, Heritage Preciousland, Lagos (1990-1991); Managing Director/CEO, PSTC Nigeria Ltd (1993-1998); Executive Chairman, Maya Procurement Services, Lagos, since 1999; Founding Partner & Executive Director, Sutton Group (June 1999- October 2002); Founding Director, PPI Limited, Lagos (April 2002- February 2005); Founding Director, Direqlearn Nigeria (August 2002) and Founder and CEO of Gateway Africa (December 2003). Obi has also held Board positions in Bladi Property and Investment Ltd, China Holdings Ltd, Ohaji Farms Ltd, Oilscan Nigeria. Obi graduated from the University of Warwick with an LLB Hons in 1990, after which he attended law school in Lagos, was called to the bar in Nigeria and served as Legal Analyst in two Lagos-based firms from 1991-3.
Parminder Vir OBE
Director, PVL Media
Parminder is an award winning film and television producer, with over 20 years of production experience of documentary and feature films, who has worked for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, major international channels around the world and Formation Films, her own independent film and television production company. She is Director of PVL Media, a specialist consultancy facilitating cross border business with emerging markets (Africa, Asia, Latin America and Middle East) in media, creative industries and education sectors. Clients include: Ascension Media Group, Guardian Media, Media Guru, Pyramedia, Omnicom Media Group, Orient Global, Optimum Releasing, Cause Entertainment Venture Fund, ITN Source, Goldsmiths University of London, Liverpool John Moores University, University for Creative Arts, National Film Video Censors Board Nigeria, Royal Shakespeare Company, MTV UK and ITV.
Parminder is currently a non executive director of Goldcrest Films, advising on the investment of an EIS Film Fund for a slate of feature films. Film Fund investments have included Wuthering Heights, Iron Lady, Now is Good and P&A deal with Lions Gate Distribution. Previously she was the Manager of Ingenious World Cinema, an equity fund investing in cross-cultural feature films from the emerging markets with Ingenious Media Investments. She is board director of Asia Task Force a government advisory group to promote cross border business; Board director of FilmAid UK and a mentor on Doug Richard’s social enterprise, School for Creative Startups, which fosters entrepreneurship in the creative industries. Previously she served as Non Executive Director of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2006-2010); Founder Board Director of UK India Business Council (2004-2009); Board Director of the UK Film Council (1999-2005).
She was awarded an OBE for her services to the Broadcasting and Film industry in 2002 and an honorary Master of Arts, in recognition of contributions to international film industry by the University for the Creative Arts in 2010. Other awards include the Asian Women of Achievement Award for Media 2001; the Media and Arts Award at the Asian Jewel awards 2003 and the Windrush Diversity Award 1999.
Playwright and Screenwriter
Ade Solanke is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. She was born and raised in Notting Hill, West London. Her company, Spora Stories, tells the dynamic stories of the African diaspora. Her debut play, Pandora's Box, had its world premiere in London in 2012 to great acclaim and was nominated for Best New Play in the Off West End Theatre Awards. It won Best New Play in the Afro-Hollywood Awards. Critics described it as "absolutely brilliant" and "magnificent." She is currently writing the screenplay for Nigerian director Tunde Kelani's forthcoming film, 'Dazzling Mirage.' Ade has an MFA in Film and Television (Screenwriting) from the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts where she was a Fulbright Fellow and Phi Beta Kappa International Scholar. Her first screenplay, Femi's Thirtieth, was a semi-finalist in the Academy's Nicholl's Screenwriting contest.
In Los Angeles, she worked as a story analyst for several Hollywood Studios, including Sundance and Disney. She's taught scriptwriting at Goldsmiths, University of London, and at Pan-African University, Lagos, Nigeria. A former arts journalist, she's written for The Times Literary Supplement, The Voice, The Guardian, The New Statesman and West Africa Magazine. Earlier in her career, she was voted 'London's Top Youth Entrepreneur' for her writing business.
Founder and Managing Director, Brand Communications
Terhas has more than 15 years’ experience in brand development and management experience, working in Canada, the Middle East, Africa and the UK. She takes a pragmatic approach to creating and managing brands. Her hands-on management style ensures that Brand Communications’ diverse and collective thinking leads to a distinct customer experience for every client.
Terhas spearheaded the African Investment and Finance Conference in 2008 at the London Stock Exchange and has amassed an impressive portfolio of high-level contacts with the African media. She also maintains constant contact with leading personalities in private and public companies and has a strong track record in advising major corporations on engagement with diverse communities.
Terhas counts Ecobank GlaxoSmithKline (Ghana), Bank of Industry (Nigeria), AFC, ZAP Zain, Goldkey (Ghana), UK and South African universities, ITV, COI, NHS London, Diabetes UK and the Health and Safety Executive amongst her clients.
Publisher for GQ Style and Associate Publisher for Fashion GQ
Vanessa Kingori currently holds dual roles at magazine power house Conde Nast UK. Vanessa is both Publisher of men’s fashion bible GQ Style, a title which has reached the pinnacle of its commercial success under her tenure, and Associate Publisher – Fashion for GQ, Britain’s most successful quality men’s lifestyle magazine.
Following swift success at the company, including two sizable promotions within her first two years, Vanessa has not only become the youngest person to achieve the title of Publisher at this prestigious company but she is also the first black person in the role in Conde Nast UK’s 95 year history.
Vanessa is extremely well connected within the worlds of fashion and press publishing. Outside of work she uses her networking skills to benefit the 'TG Foundation', a charitable organisation caring for victims of sexual violence in the Congo. She also sits on the advisory committee for 'Design Africa' – a body focused on the promotion of strong design talent related to Africa.
SVP & MD, Viacom International Media Networks Africa
Director, Royal African Society
Chief Investment Officer, IFC Infrastructure
Anchor, CNN International