The power of working together: Video reflection on the latest participant M&E

A few weeks back, the participants completed another evaluation of the AKE program as at late October. Here is a short video to highlight their core message, and to relate it more broadly to cultural industries:

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Update from the field: Hera, new tools, new ventures and TEAM work.

Its November already and AKE participants are now full speed working on their final projects and ventures. Our next milestone will be the AKE showcase (so far is planned for the 6th of December). We are now all working on  the things to showcase and the plan for the day! Stay tuned on more information on how to join us.

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Working at the AKE lab

Meanwhile some AKE participants report from the field on how their work has been advancing. As you can see there are many levels: personal projects, team work and final productions.

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Hera of Nwange background (by R Bancy)

Ruth Bancy (AKE participant from the game development team) shares with us one of the backgrounds she has been working on for Hera of Nwange. She has also been working with her colleagues on their joint venture VIDOSHO.

Ruth says about her project: “..It’s very challenging. I have had leadership roles before but not as demanding as this. The responsibilities and sacrifices that come with this role are a lot and I cannot afford to do mistakes neither fail either of them. I am happy that my partners are very supportive and it makes my work more easy “. Good attitude Ruth, we are looking froward to see Hera and learn more about Vidosho soon!

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Chunya alubum (Artist: Makossiri, art cover: Chela)

This is the cover for  the upcoming album of AKE’s multifaceted artist Makossiri! The cover art is  done by Chela (AKE participant and talented digital artist). The first single of this album  was produced by Reuben Besa (AKE participant and sound producer) and released the 11th  November. Congratulations!!

For Makossiri teamwork and collaboration are one of the most important aspects she has learned during AKE Program. “.. As an artist and creative, you learn that people and the relationships that are build thereafter are what takes you to the next level and make you visualize things beyond your usual thoughts. We have to be vulnerable and open to collaborate with different minds.” Well said Makossiri, we can not agree more with you!

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Mbuyu character (By R Macau)

In this image AKE participant Maurice Macau at the AKE lab working on the final touches of the Sponsa Animation Project (now in the 2nd and 3rd phase). He is being in charge of the character Mbuyu who is almost ready.

Maurice has been very inspired by children around him  “.. since they represent the true us, and the joy we also had as children sometime back“. Let us all not forget how we can use joy and curiosity as good resource for learning.

As a joint venture all of us in AKE have also been using some new tools and practices to communicate and organize the work. Right now for example we have in use Whatsupp groups, google drive and email and Slack and Trello are some of the new tools we have being taking on board. Developing new practices takes time but with the support from AKE tutors, Victor and Irish tutors, we are all learning.

Some of our Trello boards look like this today :)… loads of TO DO lists and conversations. Things are moving forward!

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AKE2016 One Trello board

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AKE2016 Some collaborative document writing and planning

We have also been sketching, analyzing and taking more notes on all that has being happening in AKE. Here Minna and I share with you one rough diagram we made illustrating some components of AKE program. This is part of our joint work towards an AKE model.

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AKE2016 The program in a nutshell (draft diagram by A Botero and M Aslamaa)

And AKE participants are also busy now formalizing and shaping some exciting new ventures, we like to see them as creative start-ups that aim to develop the role of the creative industries in Africa. All these ventures will be providing professional services to others in Kenya and abroad.

We have in the pipeline the following exciting businesses:

  1. Arktari Kreations offering animation, graphic design and web development services.  (Arktari has been featured before in the blog)
  2. Triple Touch providing entertainment services that include disk jocking, audio production, equipment.
  3. Vidosho offering architectural design, graphic design, animation and a series of e-cards products.
  4. VerbHouse offering services around cinematography, photography, advertisement
    and animation.
  5.  816Studio (working title)  a record label for selected Kenyan based artists.
  6. Pamoja Gamers (working title) providing game design and development services

Participant Interview – Artari kreations

Artari kreations is one of the several media ventures under development by AKE participants right now. They describe themselves as a techno-artistic company that specializes in music production, sound design, animation, web design and mobile development who are harnessing all the learning and skills they have been developing during AKE program. The team behind Artari hope they can have a full fledged startup by December as they have already started doing projects and have received many requests for their services. We spoke with Maurice Makau and Wilson Andika, 2 of the members of the team, who shared with us some thoughts on Artari and their story so far.

Q: Your venture seems to be precisely at the essence of the GESCI-AKE programme, could we ask you to tell us about your experiences? How the Artari Creations came to be?

A: We are glad about the compliments you raised over the existence of our small venture that is yet to grow. The set up for Artari Kreations was drafted on February, early this year. We wanted our venture to address challenges in four artistic areas: music design & production, animation & motion graphics, web design & application development and finally graphic design & illustration. After realizing that we had among ourselves what we needed, the real formation came to be. The team came together during the first stages of the AKE up-skilling face when we started doing things to prove that it could work and that we could deliver the right things to the first clients we encountered. It’s a good experience having this venture, although there exists a few challenges here and there. For a start we are good to go.

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Members of Artari Kreations with other fellow participants of AKE2016 during a showcase event completing the AKE skilling phase at the GESCI Office in Nairobi (Image by GESCI)

Q: What are the most pressing issues now? Where are you putting effort these days?

A: Artari Kreation is just in its genesis phase, we should grow and develop. Like any other business, marketing and sourcing for clients is an inescapable hurdle. Fortunately the challenge gradient has been less steep for us because of the strong network and friends of the team members. Also, we believe we have an interesting mix of multidisciplinary thinking in our team. This allow us to come up with productive and commercially feasible ideas that can easily make sense to our clients and that we can sell.

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An interactive visualization of the skills of Artari team made for their website. (Image by Artari Kreations)

 Q: How are you getting the word about Artari out there?

We already have our website launched (artarikreations.co.ke) and are now busy working in a couple of job requests. We have developed a strong social social media presence on networks like Facebook , we created a youtube channel, and constantly work to fine tune things like google search. We are working under the concept of ”artari creative brothers”.

We are still exploring more mechanisms of instilling more marketing features into our branding system at the same time that we try to utilize all the already available resources and information.

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Artari team members at work, creating!

Q: What is the most pressing issue for the future of Artari?

Improvement and quality! It is our dream and desire both for the whole AKE program (and your research), and also our clients and our business as well.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 10.52.38Artari creations is a joint creative effort of: Francis Ndambuki, Maurice Makau, Wilson Andika, Pharis Mukui and Kennedy Njeri Wangombe

They are joined by Chela Nancy and Edna Taabu as special guests.

 

It seems AKE program is managing to provide an inspiring place where like-minded and complimentary skills meet to learn, try out things and help each other.

Monitoring & Evaluation: Your Experiences So Far

Working in creative industries means constantly checking on how the market, your clients, your collaborators, and you yourself as an artist-entrepreneur are doing.

 

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Let’s see how we’re doing right now and what kinds of ideas you have for the GESCI-AKE Creative Media Venture. You have just completed the first evaluation. We summarized your ideas for you here.

Please take a look, and if you feel like it, add new ideas as comments below!

Participants:

The best of the best:

  •    Screen-ups are essential! “Help in our growth”.
  •    Team work is key! “The same spirit will keep us walking”.

Practical take-aways this month:

  •    Specific artistic-creative skills: Exaggerated forms to create an interesting animation; character design; how make a soundtrack; creative writing and drawing, scripting; how to use Adobe after-effects; HUD Interface: “A very interesting topic and an achievement!
  •    Concrete constraints and practices: Media law, intellectual property rights and law.
  •    Tools of the trade: “I learnt that a client can reject your entire year’s project if he/she feels it is not right. And to save on time it is good to start afresh considering the input of the client.”

We need more of:

  •    Time! “I would love if we could be meeting up even on the weekends and extra hours just to catch up with the current ongoing projects”.
  •    Connectivity: Better Internet access.
  •    Specific tools: Adobe after effects and other software, scripting…
  •    Business-market-marketing-start-up skills and knowledge: industry knowledge and analysis, (global) marketing strategies “I feel I need more knowledge in project management in the field of talent and also more in networking.”
  •    Instructional design: Video tutorials, smaller projects; AND complete projects. Field trips?

Tutors:

The best of the best:

  •    The interactive open classes: the life cycle model.
  •    Screen ups: Work shared from blogs and from videos and audios; rigging of characters; great progress in sound design; great work in 2D animation!
  •    Guest speakers (especially the intellectual property lawyer “who came as a guest this month provided very useful information for the students and us tutors on legal practices to adhere to when dealing with clients to avoid mishaps and copyright infringement”).

We will do [more of]:

  •       Every class is important and time management is key so that it may be easier for everyone to progress at the same time at the same level.
  •       Smaller class assignments, maybe to check the progress and encourage more student discussions; will integrate the enterprise model as well.
  •       Focus more on exposing the students (through videos) to international industry experts.
  •       Repair all slow machines.