The Urban Cult Lab’Africa has brought six fab labs – digital fabrication laboratories – in West Africa together to co-design cultural events including artists’ residencies, live events and exhibitions.
African urbanization brings together different cultures, languages, traditions and heritage. Urban Cult Lab’ Africa contributes to making this diversity an opportunity to avoid sources of tension and conflicts, and rather develop an alloy of skills and talents to develop solutions to urbanization questions.
Associating six fablabs - BloLab (Benin), OuagaLab (Burkina Faso), BabyLab (Ivory Coast), Donilab (Mali), Sahel FabLab (Mauritania) and Woelab (Togo) - the project is fuelled by strong regional collaborations across the fab labs in the area of digital innovation for education; makers and artists; and goods and services. Urban Cult Lab’Africa promotes social inclusion, encouraging the re-appropriation of urban spaces to make their creative programme visible to the broadest audiences possible.
Urban Cult Lab'Africa during Covid-19
The international health crisis led the project partners to identify actions that could usefully contribute to the response to the epidemic in the different countries involved. The project partners are responding to the crisis by amongst others:
• Designing and producing much needed face masks;
• Raising awareness among young people on health issues during Covid-19;
• Developing animation films and comics to promote young health volunteers’ experience fighting Covid-19.
The selection committee saw potential in the project as model for socio-cultural collaborative innovation that are relevant to a local and global context. To utilise and mobilise a strong West African network through Fablabs - which is interdisciplinary by nature - together with other local stakeholders was seen as one of the winning strengths of the project. The committee found significant potential in creating successful cross-border collaborations, ideas and models in the region, especially by using currently marginalized spaces. Focus is not only through art but also potentially through traditional and local tech and science. It strongly addresses a relevant need as well as having potential appeal and outreach to youth and students, not just artists/entrepreneurs or cultural producers.