For many years, the creative industry in Uganda has not had the support and mentorship that other sectors, such as the science-based fields of expertise, have had. Opportunities such as funding and scholarships have always been easily accessible to other fields whereas finding these same opportunities in the creative field was almost unheard of.
The field of arts has been modeled as undesirable, a dead end, and dare I say, not worth pursuing. However, with the introduction of startup companies in Uganda over the past five years that are actively funding the creative industry and partnering with the government to support creative initiatives around the country, all this is changing.
MoTIV (Makers of The Innovation Village) Africa started as a department within The Innovation Village, a destination that entrepreneurs call home; which is focused more on the tech-startup ecosystem. With time, the MoTIV team leader saw a need to support startups in the creative industry.
There were not many opportunities or spaces for these kinds of startups to scale and grow and that was the motivation for setting up the MoTIV campus they are now in. The space was set up in partnership with MasterCard Foundation and became operational towards the end of 2019.
One of the popular murals that grace the MoTIV creative space Source: motiv.africa
Creating a Space for the Creatives
The overall purpose of MoTIV is to have space for a community of creative industry professionals to aid collaboration and also access to tools. The campus has textiles, a wood and metal factory, a media studio, and a co-working space. MoTIV has also invested in a community department that is staffed with people to help content creators in both creative and business aspects. MoTIV aims at offering training and skilling for creative business entrepreneurs; that is people interested in textiles, visual arts, wood, metal, and media. They also have equipment rentals and space for events.
“We believe that all creative businesses have the potential to grow given the right environments and support. We are also really cool and love to dance so we always look forward to finding creative ways-such as showcases- to support the musicians and performers under our mentorship", says MoTIV Arts Associate, Trevor Mukoli who is in charge of designing programming and curating exhibitions that skill artists and grow the audience for contemporary art here in Uganda.
MoTIV is a game changer when it comes to equipping and supporting the creative community in Uganda. “The creative industry here in Uganda still needs significant stimulation and MoTIV is one of the first steps towards that growth. There has not been such a significant investment in human resources and infrastructure dedicated to growing both the quality of creative output, and also the business structures of creative businesses. This helps create sustainable and inclusive growth, from helping to create markets in Omwoleso Africa, to exhibitions for emerging artists (art salons) and business development support for startups. These efforts are how MoTIV is changing the industry,” Trevor Mukholi adds.
One of the exhibitors at the Motiv Omwoleso market (Photo: Internet source)
For an artisan looking for assistance or a space where you can grow your skillset, as well as encounter incredible opportunities to build your career and business, one simply just has to walk into the MoTIV campus and inquire about ongoing programming. You can also check out their social media platforms where current updates on relevant workshops and events are posted.
For MoTIV, the plans for the future are limitless and include continuing to grow business ecosystems that create jobs, have vibrant local art markets, and create linkages for creatives to markets at a regional and international scale, in addition, to growing an exciting, inclusive and healthy culture of creative work in Uganda.
Images of the Art Salon at MoTIV exhibiting work of emerging artists (Photo source: MoTIV)
“I’m very grateful to work at MoTIV and contribute to creating platforms and opportunities that grow creative work. There are so many biases creatives have had to overcome and their contribution to society is often overlooked, but that is now changing. I want to extend thanks to our team lead at MoTIV, CK Japheth, and the tribe team for supporting us in the efforts to build structures for a sector that was almost non-existent. There have been many ups and downs and lessons to learn but the journey is exciting and I’m glad to be on it with a great team", notes Trevor.
More of the MoTIV Art Salon (Photo source: MoTIV)
The Future Looks Bright
There is a lot of hope for the future of the creative industry in Uganda. With platforms such as MoTIV, a foundation is being laid for the future generation of creatives in Uganda. Biases about artistry being a dead-end line of work or just a hobby are being broken, and an example is being set by MoTIV, and many other initiatives that are setting the pace for Uganda’s creative industry.