A new Arts Mobility Fund in Zimbabwe, set up as a partnership between the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust and Hivos, has started creating new possibilities for artists around the country, giving them access to markets and spaces that would have been otherwise inaccessible to them.
Launched in July, the fund is meant to help solve the mobility challenges that many artists face for both themselves and their products.
Often artists cannot go beyond their home towns and reach new audiences so they never develop to their full potential. This stifles their freedom of expression as it limits the number of people who can access their work and lessens interaction with other creatives.
Olga Muwhati, the Culture Fund’s Projects Officer for Marketing, Programme Development & Fundraising, said that the idea for the fund was motivated by the number of enquiries that they received for transport funding from artists.
The Culture Fund supports numerous projects and programmes in Zimbabwe’s creative sector, making the partnership with Hivos’ Expression and Engagement programme a natural fit.
The Expression & Engagement Programmes Officer at the HIVOS Regional Office in Southern Africa, Tambudzai Madzimure, said that the fund was meant to be a launch pad and not a crutch for artists to lean on. “Once artists have accessed the money and it has enabled them to expose their work to new markets we expect them to use that opportunity to establish networks and new revenue streams,” she said.
The mobility fund is available to all Zimbabwean arts practitioners, including arts journalists. The funds, which are payable directly to service providers, are distributed once a month.
So far, fourteen groups and individuals have been allocated funding to travel to various festivals and events around Zimbabwe in the initial six month pilot phase of the fund.
The idea is to grow the size and reach of the fund in 2014.