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What Having A Dedicated Startup Act Means For Africa’s Creative Entrepreneurs

When I heard of the move by several African countries to adopt an official Startup Act my first thought was it’s about time. Having spent over 10 years promoting the work of and supporting African designers and the African design industry the one thing I hear a lot of in my conversations with designers and other industry professionals is a wish that local governments do more to support startups and entrepreneurs.

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Christmas Wishes From Atelier Fifty Five

Once again the festive holidays are upon us, and I want to take the time to say a big, heartfelt thank you to you dear reader for being a part of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. This past year has been one of reflection and metamorphosis as the platform undergoes significant change to move it forward, and I hope you will continue to join me as it does so. Change is not easy, it is challenging and exhausting, so as always I will be taking some time away from the platform to rest and relax in the company of loved […]

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Small Business Saturday Buying African Design And Introducing The Shop at Atelier Fifty Five

Small/independent businesses can find it hard to compete with the ‘slash all prices’ nature of major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Whilst large established retailers can afford to drastically cut their prices in a bid to attract shoppers, for the small business owner following suit could mean barely making a profit and negatively impacting their bottom line. Enter Small Business Saturday an annual event that encourages consumers to support their local small independent business owners by spending their money with them instead.

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The importance of investing in Africa’s creative economy

It has been a busy few months for African talent on the big screen as actors and movies get recognised for their efforts during the annual awards season. We congratulate British-Ugandan actor Daniel Kaluuya for his Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Oscar nominations, and winning the BAFTA EE Rising Star award. His success, and for others like him is a testament to the long hours of hard work, commitment and self-belief one has to put in, in an industry that is notoriously hard to break into. And this is a journey that needs support not just from family, friends, and […]

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Atelier Fifty Five Turns 7 As African Design Enters A New Era

  Today marks seven years of blogging! Seven years ago today I made a career shift and started a blog with vague ideas of what I wanted to do as a career, and no real idea of how I was going to get there. From the moment I created my first blog post to now when I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry -part of what I collectively refer to as the ‘golden age’ of contemporary African creativity- but to also create a career alongside it. The journey to this point has been a […]

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Remembering Kossi Aguessy, A Visionary Designer and Artist

  It is with great shock and sadness that I learned about the death of the designer and artist Kossi Aguessy on 17th April 2017 on what was his 40th birthday. Having first discovered and featured his work on the website in 2011, I later had the privilege of interviewing him for a Design Indaba profile. The exchange was both fascinating and insightful as he shared his hopes and visions for future projects.

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Farewell to Babacar Niang

Babacar Niang [Senegal] [Image credit: Furniture Collection by Babacar Niang – Southern Guild] A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an exhibition opening on the 24th March in New York that would feature the work of Senegalese furniture designer Babacar Niang, amongst others. It is therefore with great sadness and shock that I just learnt of Babacar’s passing on the 25th March 2015. Babacar, working through his studio Nulangee, possessed a unique design vision that brought forth sublime designs infused with his trademark lifelike qualities. A great talent, Babacar’s passing leaves a void in Africa’s burgeoning design industry, one that will […]

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Books: Introducing Contemporary Design Africa

Contemporary Design Africa  [Image credit: Contemporary Design Africa, Cover – Thames & Hudson] Back in September 2014 I hinted at some news I was looking forward to sharing a few months into the future; well that time has now come and I am so thrilled to finally be able to introduce my forthcoming first book- Contemporary Design Africa, which will be published by Thames & Hudson in May 2015 in the UK, and in early June in the US. 

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Christmas Wishes

[Image credits: DIY Wax cloth Christmas Decorations – Stuff of Dreams] It certainly has been a busy year and I just want to take this time to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and may the festive season be one of love and happiness, rest, and relaxation. [Image credits: The images shown belong to: Stuff of Dreams. If downloaded and used elsewhere must be credited accordingly]

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Atelier Fifty-Five is Four

Atelier Fifty-Five turns 4 Today marks four years of blogging, didn’t think I would last this long, but what an incredible journey it has been. The site has, and continues to be a great source of inspiration for me… and although over the past year or so I haven’t posted as much as would have liked it has been with good reason. Over the coming weeks, I am looking forward to sharing some exciting news on where the blog has led me, best summed up by my favourite African proverb: ..and as ever my heartfelt thanks go out to all […]

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Events: New Year. New Inspirations.

[Image credit: Africa is Now – The Design Indaba Expo] As 2014 gets underway, it brings with it the promise of another great year for African design, music, fashion, art and all-round creative inspiration. 2014 sees Cape Town, South Africa take on the mantle of World Design Capital, bringing with it a whole host of events; and late 2013 saw Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo elected a UNESCO Creative City, designated the ‘City of Music’, and in doing so becomes the first African member of the Creative Cities Network launched by Unesco in 2004.  

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Introducing Atelier Fifty-Five

After a few hiccups and blips in getting things sorted, African Daydreams has now changed to Atelier Fifty-Five. For updating any bookmarks and links, the new URL is now www.atelierfiftyfive.com. I have tried to make the transition as seamless as possible, so the previous URL: www.africandaydreams.com will be redirecting to the new one until the New Year. 

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Christmas Wishes From Atelier Fifty Five

[Image credit: Glittering Angel Christmas Card – Kipepeo]   What a busy year it has been, and with the Christmas holidays just around the corner, once again I find myself mentally shutting down. I will not be posting between now and the New Year, so I would like to take this time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year. I hope the holidays will be a time of joy and togetherness for you and your loved ones, and may 2013 shower you with blessings of good health, happiness, success, and seeing your dreams come true.

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Reflecting on Two Years of Blogging

Storage: Trunks, Chests, Boxes and Blogs Storage trunks will always remind me of school. Although I was not a boarder the beginning and end of term would always bring the flurry of activity associated with arrivals and departures, and signalling a beginning or an end. Large storage trunks and chests, whether shiny and new, or battered and bruised, and filled with the owner’s belongings would be stacked to one side waiting to be taken away and unpacked of their practical items and treasured memories.

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Creative Conversations: Digital by Design at the V&A

Digital by Design Sessions   It has proved to be an exceptionally busy week, and I have been spending quite a bit of time either moderating, or thinking about issues surround creativity for Visible by Design’s Digital by Design sessions running simultaneously at the V&A’s Sackler Centre, the hub for the London Design Festival, and online. We have had attendees logging on from Kenya and Hungary and the sessions are open to anyone whether you are a creative or not, Wednesday session was joined by a medical student who brought her insight into how she uses creativity to the discussion.

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