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Atelier Fifty Five by Tapiwa Matsinde Consulting Liz Riley Photography

Advising On African Design

If you’re looking for a richer understanding of contemporary Africa’s dynamic design and creative landscape, I’ll provide direction, context, products, research, even introductions.

The African continent is vast and diverse. It comprises 55 recognised states, all of them contributing differently to the continent’s rich, expressive, and thriving creative culture. I’ve been exploring, researching, watching, and meeting the creatives who are making their mark in the world of African Design. They are fascinating individuals with compelling stories. 

Awareness, knowledge, investment, and opportunity are key to sustaining the success of Africa’s design industries. As the industry grows, it continues to draw attention from a global audience keen to learn more about it. 

If you find you need a deeper understanding of Africa’s dynamic design and creative landscape for your cultural organisation, museum, gallery, event, retail business, or educational institution, the atelier 55 Consultancy and Guest-Curation service is the perfect start. Through a dedicated consultancy, I connect galleries, museums, retailers, collectors, and other cultural organisations with designers, makers, and information, building awareness with research, articles, curation, and speaking engagements.

I like nothing better than seeing a fruitful partnership bloom from one of my connections. Let’s work together to bring the work, design, and creativity of talented designers, makers, and creatives from the continent to the attention of local and global audiences.


I would be delighted to guest-curate your exhibition or industry event

These are a few of my most-recent exhibits as curator or guest-curator. Enjoy!

An exhibition presented by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) explores the subject of rubbish and presents approaches to using trash to create valuable products. I curated the section dedicated to upcycling in Sub-Saharan Africa.
For further information about ifa Pure Gold visit the website.
Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair – GUEST CURATOR
Appointed 2017 guest curator for the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase, hand-selecting 5 exquisite Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the African continent. Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair is a leading showcase of high-end artisanal design and food and wine.
For further information about Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair visit the website.
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Kind words

"It was a pleasure working with Tapiwa. She was professional, incredibly well informed. Tapiwa's depth of knowledge and sincerity on the subject is hard to come by. The level of curation was impeccable. Not only is her work 'good on paper' but, the relationships she builds with designers all over the continent and from the diaspora through her work is telling of her genuine passion and pioneering spirit in the area of African Design."

Cassandra Twala

Curator, Sanlam HmC, South Africa

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Kind words

"The idea of inviting Tapiwa Matsinde as co-curator of our project PURE GOLD arose from the knowledge of her book: Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa has done a really good job of proposing exactly the examples that documented and confirmed the central idea of our touring exhibition. I would like to underline that Tapiwa Matsinde’s contribution to this exhibition is very complex and as such becomes an important part of the whole project."

Volker Albus

Curator, Pure Gold, ifa, Germany

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Speaking & Presentations

Engaging, informative, impassioned and stirring
Ask me about presenting at your event

I have been honoured to share my knowledge of Africa’s contemporary design industry.

The Colonial Heritage – The Picture of Africa Today – PANEL SPEAKER
Invited to be a panel speaker at a discussion held during the exhibition Wot ist Afrika? at the Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, speaking about design in Africa from a post-colonial perspective.
For further information about Wot ist Afrika? visit the website.
Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow – PANEL SPEAKER
Invited to be a panel speaker at Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow exhibition at Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg, speaking about my book and the work I do in promoting contemporary African design.
For further information about Flow of Forms / Forms of Flow visit the website
Creative Mornings, Johannesburg – PANEL SPEAKER
Invited to be a panel speaker at a special edition of Creative Mornings Johannesburg, held at the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair. For further information about Creative Mornings Johannesburg visit the website
Digital By Design – CO-MODERATOR
Co-led three interactive blogging sessions discussing creativity and the creative process. London Design Festival event held at the V&A’s Sackler Centre.
Creative Challenge / Ma UCA Epsom – SYMPOSIUM SPEAKER
Presented related MA research to industry professionals and students. University for the Creative Arts (UCA) event, held at the Kensington Rooftop Gardens, London.

He who learns teaches

African proverb