April 23rd, 2011 was when the first Poets and Writers Online (POWO) forum was held at the iHub, Nairobi’s tech community space. This was following months of planning, meeting and deliberating on the need for a monthly event where creative writers could meet and an attempt to bring bridge the gap between Kenyan Creatives and the burgeoning tech community.
Although POWO was started as a forum for Poets and Writers with an interest in using the internet for publication of their work and as tool for branding and marketing, it outgrew this humble goal to become a monthly event that brought together thespians, artists and techies for networking and discussions on pertinent topics affecting Kenya’s creatives.
In the three years that POWO ran, its achievements laid the foundation for various initiatives paving the way for more creatives venturing onto the internet to start amazing projects.
Through panel discussions, training workshops and masterclasses on topics such as Intellectual Property, entrepreneurship, Open source software, blogging, activism through art and many others, POWO left an indelible mark in the creative space in Kenya.
Though POWO was discontinued due to lack of funding at the time, I am happy to say that its making a come back.
A lot has changed in the 3 years that POWO went on a hiatus. Now the power of the internet and more so social media is more evident now. It has not only become the first source for news and information, it has also become a powerful tool for Kenyan Creatives to establish themselves through showcasing of their art and craft as well as a great platform for personal branding and marketing. This last part is especially important at a time when the Kenyan mainstream media space continues to lack the drive to provide a similar platform to the different types of emerging creatives.
AWO (Artists and Writers Online) as the forum shall be known- seeks to continue bridging the gap between the tech and art spaces in Kenya by holding forums, masterclasses and other networking events that provide hands on skills, information, mentorship and a platform for discourse on the future of creatives in this Digital space.
AWO July Edition
Indeed that is the theme for this month’s #AWOJuly edition
The Intersection between Kenya’s Creative Economy and Technology.
We have 2 panels made up of thought leaders and daring creatives who have ventured online and thrived. Join us at PAWA 254 on Saturday 23rd, 2016 from 10 for this interesting discussion that will look at the double edged sword the internet is to creativity. See the event poster below.
Magunga Williams and Wangari of Peperuka World will be selling their merchandise. Come ready to buy some African books, interesting fridge magnets and stickers.
Go here to sign up. Entry is free.
I leave you with a quote by one of the 1st POWO guest Speakers, Njoroge Matathia.
“As a writer, I cut my teeth on the internet a space where as far as writing goes, the dabbler meets the hobbyist and the MFA backed craftsmanship meets raw talent. The internet: a veritable patch pourri of style and form; a babel of trained and untrained voices; a cacophony of the phony know-it-alls outshouting of the too-smart-for-TV pundits; the only place in the wide world where genius shares both a podium and accolades with mediocrity.”
Read the rest of this article ” Made on the Internet” here.