Dikan Center is a visual education organisation with Ghana’s first photography library. The Center’s Executive Director, Mr. Paul Ninson, sat with Right for Education to talk about his work and the impact he intends to make in the arts ecosystem.
R:Ed : Who is Mr. Paul Ninson?
I am a filmmaker and photographer who studied Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism at the International Center of Photography in New York. Before establishing the Dikan Center, I worked with organisations such as BBDO, AstraZeneca, Global Citizen, the Harvard Press, and Humans of New York.
R:Ed: What inspired this project?
‘Growing up, I realised we did not have access to visual education in our communities. The only source of education for photographers was the internet, which was not enough. Hence upon several studies and research, I decided to build a center which provides accessible visual education to all.’
R:Ed, How do you intend to build people’s interest in visual art education and make it accessible to all?
Dikan Center is an educational institute for all who want to use visual art media to interact. We have a photo library, a classroom, and aStoryLab.
The Photo Library stocks an extensive collection of photography books on African culture and descendants, Western culture and subjects like fashion, climate change, environment, and culture, among others in the diaspora.
Our classroom offers open workshops and fellowships that advance the training and development of photographers and filmmakers. Also, our StoryLab, for example, is an interdisciplinary research institute that explores immersive storytelling to enable diverse voices and perspectives. We are actually creating a course, which will be out soon for everyone interested in visual art education. It will also help photographers and other professionals to collaborate and tell a story.
R:Ed: How is the project funded?
Dikan Center is a Non-Governmental organisation, and our central fund is personal funding, and sometimes crowdfunding.’
R:Ed: What kind of photos do you curate in the Gallery?
We don’t have specific kinds of photographs; the Gallery curates works of various African and Diaspora photographers. We are currently having a photo exhibition of works from Emmanuel Bobbie and me, showcasing the rich chieftaincy culture in the Asante kingdom in Ghana.
R:Ed: What process will a photographer pass through if he or she should like to send in a photo?
For a photographer to send in photos, he or she must submit a proposal for us to know the kind of photographs they are bringing and if they meet our criteria.’
R:Ed: Do you offer space for other galleries and partners?
Yes, our doors are 100% open to other galleries and partners, local or international.
R:Ed: Do you auction your photos off?
We are still putting structures in place, and we have yet to begin that, but it will be considered in future.
R:Ed: Are there sustainable Job opportunities in the photography industry for the youth?
It depends. Photography is a new industry, and is a collective purpose for all of us to make it accessible to all. There is enough space for photographers to make money by developing concepts that sell. I am building myself, I am still working, and all of us are trying our best to make it a better place for all.
Also, look at our interview with Lady Linda Wong Davies, the Founder and Chairman of the KT Wong Foundation, which champions the arts in Europe, China and Africa.