IPCH Directors Forum program expands global outreach and engagement in Africa

In 2021, Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) launched a new global outreach initiative, the Directors Forum. The objective of the Forum is to provide a trusted platform for leaders and entrepreneurs working in Africa’s cultural sector to connect, learn and collaborate as they build dynamic institutions in their communities. Empowering a new generation of leaders is critical to advancing IPCH’s vision of collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to culture that connect the past and present, and pave the way for a more secure future for global heritage.

IPCH engaged Charlotte Ashamu, a noted creative economy practitioner, to lead the initiative through its first year, mobilizing a network of over 25 cultural institutions across Africa including leading museums, archives, libraries and cultural centers. According to Ashamu, the activities of the Directors Forum represent “an immense opportunity to provide support services, funding and advocacy to enable the arts and culture sector to thrive in Africa and globally.” (Learn more by reading the full Interview with Charlotte Ashamu at the YATW website.)

Every month, the Forum invites directors of Africa-based institutions to an interactive, online program designed to advance knowledge and share resources on topics that are essential to dynamic cultural leadership. During the 2021 pilot year, 15 domain experts from 12 countries engaged Forum members on a range of topics such as preservation of collections, exhibition planning, and marketing, business, and fundraising strategies.

In addition, a needs assessment and survey were undertaken in order to appropriately tailor IPCH’s programming to meet the needs of the Forum’s participants. The Forum is currently developing its next phase of activities including professional development programs, trainings and public engagements in collaboration with the Yale Office of International Affairs (OIA). 

Recent participants in the Directors Forum share their views:


“The Directors Forum is an important initiative which, since its inception, has continued to be a resource for all stakeholders in the cultural sector in Africa. The forum makes its network available and makes it possible to create exchanges on important and topical subjects, but also to rethink our institutions and create strong links and bridges between all – in Africa and more widely – and all of this under the Yale umbrella.”

– Othman Lazraq, Director
Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden


“I’ve really enjoyed the diverse and honest perspectives shared during the sessions hosted by the Directors Forum. For me the Directors Forum has become an important space to make new connections, and to reflect and learn from practitioners who operate in similar contexts and face similar challenges.”

– Teesa Bahana, Director
32° East | Ugandan Arts Trust


“The Directors Forum has been an incredibly formative and supportive space. In addition to feeling the camaraderie between participants, it has also been a space of learning. We all come with our own sets of expertise, but each session has provided a new perspective with which to tackle our particular contexts, and this has been of huge encouragement.”

– Chrischene Julius, Acting Director
District Six Museum 


“Over the past months, the Directors Forum has provided an excellent avenue for learning and for meeting experienced museum and cultural professionals. The regular online sessions have also helped us to look inward and rethink our mission as a teaching museum at the service of a broad and diverse community. We already look forward to next stage of the program.” 

– Jess Castellote, Director
Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art 


To learn more, email the Directors Forum.