1. Your name, what you do (are doing) and your favourite African song/music video?
My name is ‘Funmi Adewole Kruczkowska. I am a Performing Arts lecturer and a Dance researcher. I also freelance as a storyteller and movement artist. Right now I am packing my bags for a trip to Nigeriaand Ghana– to see family and friends that I have not seen for a long, long time. My favorite song is Premier Gaou by Magic System.
I am also mad about ‘Wata No Get Enemi’ by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Neither are new songs but they are great dance tunes. As for videos – I like the comic musical videos made by Naija Boyz. Type ‘African Remix- Naija boyz’ in the YouTube search engine for a range of their videos, which are an ‘African’ take on chart songs such Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’. They are a scream.
2. What are your memories of the Africa Centre and or hopes for the Africa Centre’s future?
I first heard about the Africa Centre before I left Nigeriain 1994. I was told by fellow media people to check it out. I did just that. I was excited to walk through those doors and chat to staff, look at the notice board, check the exhibition, browse in the bookshop. I was proud of the central London location and its sense of history. It was quite memorable performing there years later, a few times with different theatre companies. At one point there was an African market, which was great. The uncomfortable facilities made the dance class less so. I also remember engaging in bemused conversations with other artists. Some of us had tried to initiate projects in collaborate with the Centre the way other spaces seem to be doing but nothing seemed ever to go anywhere. In future I would like to see lots of activities organized by the Centre, which reflect a diversity of interests –academic, cultural, political and social. Given the economic situation however, the Centre would have to devise new models of collaboration, partnership and fundraising. But there are hardly any outlets or space to investigate the culture of post-independent Africa, recent history or the issues of African communities inEurope, or engage in intercultural dialogues. There are few spaces where ‘Africa’ is leading the discussion and setting the perspective. It would also be an opportunity to investigate the business ideas (as opposed to the frauds and scams) of innovative people on the continent or those who work transnationally.
3. ‘If you could take over the Africa Centre’s Auction Hall for a day – what would you do?’
If I could take over the Africa Centre’s ‘Auction Hall’ for a day what would I do? Depends on the time of the year, the occasion or the theme of the season. A mixture of talks, performance, workshops and networking appeals to me. Let’s imagine the theme is ‘Arts and Business’ – an idea close to my heart at the moment. I would start about 1pm, on a Saturday, with a panel/seminar on the topic. About 3pm we would have an entertainment fair – a cross between a trade fair and a variety show. There would be stalls set up belonging to theatre companies and other art groups and businesses. Activities would include: a networking, speed-dating style event for arts and business people, workshops, and short performances, screenings, and comedy dotted though out the day. This event could be geared to promote a number of things, volunteering, crowd funding, collaboration etc. We could round off the event with a concert with dancing or club night. Or is the half a day up already?