We like to think of the blank page of a notebook as a place where ideas meet a shape.
The notebooks in this story are much more: they are building blocks upon which a new generation of thinkers is created.
While this may sound far-fetched at best, it is exactly what is happening with the AtWork project.
“The ability to think critically is one of the greatest freedoms a human being can attain, and only someone who is free is able to transform their society” is the vision of Simon Njami, international art curator and one of the most influential African intellectuals. With this in mind, Njami joined forces with non-profit organization Lettera27 to create AtWork, an itinerant educational format striving to use the creative process to build a new generation of African thinkers.
The AtWork process is simple.
Connecting well-established artists with students of the most varied African backgrounds, the AtWork workshops prompt young thinkers to reflect on issues such as identity, culture and community.
Each student condenses their reflections on a personalized notebook, which is exhibited locally and online in the lettera27 collection, alongside pieces by the likes of Bili Bidjocka, Antonio Marras, Sigur Rós and others, in front of an international audience.
Much more than works of art, these notebooks are the precipitate of a thought at work. You can see them all on AtWork’s new website.
While ten legs of workshops are in the books since 2012, a new one is underway. Starting today in Modena, Italy, Simon Njami is curating a new thought-provoking exhibition, titled “Heterocrony”.
Good ideas are worth spreading, and here is a chance to help pen AtWork’s next chapter: a new Kickstarter Campaign is underway to help lay the foundation of a new workshop in Addis Ababa, Etiopia. Keep AtWork’s panafrican journey going strong and free across the whole continent.