Find out more about the projects and people behind the creative work showcased in our online exhibition. Between 2017-2021 AKN commissioned projects in Ghana, Sierra Leone, DRC, Kenya, Niger, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda. Each was led by African experts and community leaders alongside UK-based researchers.

Bila Pi Kuc

Bila pi kuc is a community-led research project, utilising the creative art-based therapies of drama, music, film and dance as a tool for social healing and reintegration of ex-child combatants in war-affected Northern Uganda. This project provides a new narrative that is inclusive of the voices of former child soldiers in a way which humanises them and their experiences, and elicits an empathetic understanding which encourages support for their realities.

Project Leads:

Geoffrey Omony (Youth Leaders for Restoration and Development – YOLRED)

Jassi K Sandhar (University of Bristol)

(Goldin Institute)

Community Stories of Modern Slavery

Drawing on community media tools and practices this project has coproduced, documented and archived interviews about child slavery in Migori, Kenya with survivors, community leaders and healthcare workers amongst others. These interviews have been used as the basis for community radio programmes that seek to build public awareness; influence policy development; and facilitate change that combats modern slavery.

Project Leads:

Peter Day (University of Brighton)

Jerry Agalo (Rongo University)

Isabel Zattu Ziz (Rongo University)

Emerging Voices

Through the Emerging Voices programme, City Hearts Africa has worked with children and young people in Accra to explore the next generation’s awareness of historic and modern forms of slavery in Ghana. The project sought to understand how this helps develop community antislavery strategies that empower lasting freedom and protection from modern day slavery.

Project Leads:

Phillip Clayton (City Hearts)

Karen Bianchi (City Hearts Africa)

Gary Craig (Research Consultant)

Forms of Enslavement in Ghana

Researchers from the University of Ghana, Legon, in collaboration with Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, have identified, mapped and studied sites associated with both historical and contemporary forms of enslavement in regions across Ghana. An exhibition arising from this research has toured locations across the country sparking conversation about contemporary forms of exploitation.

Project Leads:

Wazi Apoh (University of Ghana Legon)

Benjamin Kankpeyeng (University of Ghana Legon)

Mark Seyram Amenyo-Xa (Ghana Museums and Monuments Board – GMMB)

From Hope to Despair

The From Hope to Despair project has mapped networks of human trafficking that traverse Kenya working at local, national and international levels. With a focus on documenting the perspectives of those with lived experiences of trafficking, this project has developed a substantial evidence base which will be used to engage policymakers within and beyond Kenya.

Project Leads:

Willis Okumu (Anglican Development Service, Kenya)

Rachel Carnegie (Anglican Alliance)

Healing Spaces

BuildX Studio with Dream Revival Centre, through the Healing Spaces project has created a design framework for bespoke shelters and care facilities catering specifically for survivors of human trafficking in East Africa. Focusing on a user-led approach, various creative methods – from drama and dance to sketch interviews and focus groups – were employed to enable survivors to inform the design process.

Project Leads:

Catherine Barasa (BuildX Studio)

Carolina Larrazábal (BuildX Studio)

Agnes Igoye (Dream Revival Centre)

Christopher Platt (GSA Mackintosh School of Architecture)

Hidden Histories

Focussing on the James Town area of Accra in Ghana, the Hidden Histories project addresses both the obscured legacies of historical slavery in the area and the current taboo realities of exploitation and trafficking that traverse it too. A new performance, Ode to the James Town Child, has been developed with James Town Community Theatre and a virtual walking tour of the area has been created. Each output has been used to engage with local and international audiences, prompting locally-led conversations about the educational, policy and socio-cultural interventions which could address these challenges.

Project Leads:

Stephen Collins (University of the West of Scotland)

Collins Seymah Smith (James Town Community Theatre)

Nii Kwartelai Quartey (James Town Walking Tours)


LESLAN supports the activities of the national Anti-Slavery Task Force and Timidria, Niger’s main anti-slavery NGO, in their efforts to improve the circumstances of persons of slave descent in the Republic of Niger. During phase 1 of the project, LESLAN has conducted research on the historical and contemporary dimensions of slavery in Niger as well as undertaking multiple creative initiatives – such as staging a public exhibition, sponsoring an art competition and supporting a public music concert – that have influenced policymakers at national and international level as well as raising public awareness of the fight for human rights led by Timidria in Niger.

Project Leads:

Benedetta Rossi (University of Birmingham/ University College London)

Ali Bouzou (Timidria)

Mahaman Tidjani Alou (Abdou Moumouni University, Niamey)

Seaside and Borderline Communities

WeOwnTV has led the production of two films focusing on forms of child labour exploitation in Sierra Leone. Each illuminates patterns of exploitation that develop at the intersection of local and international challenges. The films have been toured within Sierra Leone at screenings for a range of local communities where Q&A after the film has provided a space for dialogue about related issues of exploitation that concern viewing audiences.

Project Leads:

John Oldfield (WISE, University of Hull)

Lansana Mansaray (WeOwnTV)

Survivors' Voices, Stories and Images

The Survivor’s Voices, Stories and Images project responds to a global development landscape in which the stories told and visualized of human trafficking and modern slavery often prove disempowering for survivors. Through a series of workshops, survivors of human trafficking in Kenya worked with storytelling and photography experts to develop their own narratives and accompanying images. Through this process a model of practice for survivor-led, ethical storytelling has been developed and issues of ownership and dissemination explored.

Project Leads:

Helen McCabe (RightsLab, University of Nottingham)

Sophie Otiende (Azadi)

Emily Brady (RightsLab, University of Nottingham)

Yasmin Manji (Azadi)

Ruth Sorby (Worldreader)


VIOMEREN is a research project investigating and documenting the lived experiences and voices of returnee migrants in Nigeria who have been victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. It has facilitated the initiation and development of the Nigerian Literary and Arts Antislavery Collective (NLAAC), which brings together returnee migrants with literary and art practitioners, art students, art teachers and researchers to record the experiences of survivors and share these through exhibitions and digital media campaigns to build understanding and community cohesion.

Project Leads:

Chibuzo Ejiogu (De Montfort University)

Ayobami Ojebode (University of Ibadan)

Amanze Ejiogu (University of Leicester)

Ngunan Ioron Aloho (Samuel Ioron Foundation)

Visualising Liberté

Populations with ascribed slave status are still discriminated against and stigmatized in Mali today. They are amongst the most vulnerable to economic uncertainties and thus subjected to further exploitation, including modern forms of slavery. In response, the Visualising Liberté project has documented historical resistance against slavery in the Kayes region of Mali by producing a bande dessinée and an animation which have been used to raise awareness among young Malians about the importance of human rights, citizenship and social justice in the fight against discrimination.

Project Leads:

Marie Rodet (SOAS)

Moussa Kalapo (Association Donkosira)

Mamadou Cissé (Association Donkosira)