The fifth edition of Digital Lab Africa (DLA), the first mentorship and incubation program for African creatives in innovative and digital content, has launched its next call for applications. DLA is calling on artists, producers, designers, collectives, students or entrepreneurs from both creative and cultural industries, including from across sub-Saharan Africa to apply.
DLA aims to incubate emerging talent by offering them a springboard to jump-start and accelerate their projects with the support and expertise of the DLA ecosystem. Led and managed by Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, and supported by the AFD (Agence Française de Développement).
The pan-African accelerator focuses on 5 key categories: Immersive Experience, Video Games, Music, Animation and Digital Art. The programme initiated five years ago by the French Institute in South Africa (IFAS) counts SACEM, TRACE, TV5 Monde Afrique, the French Embassy in Nigeria, amongst others, as partners. Applications for the animation and immersive experience (XR) categories are now open and close on April 4, 2021, while applications for video, digital art, and music categories can be submitted between May 17 and July 11, 2021.
In 2020, DLA received more than 500 applications from over 32 countries. For its fifth edition, Digital Lab Africa is switching to a fully online format. The incubation and mentorship programs followed by the DLA#5 laureates will include online activities, online mentorship, and participation to online industry events.
Lesley Donna Williams, the CEO of the Tshimologong Precinct, says the DLA applications reflect the vitality and uniqueness of the African continent in the field of digital cultures and new technologies. “Each year the level innovation in terms of form, storytelling, content and technologies gets better. We expect DLA#5 to once again exceed our expectations and look forward to receiving quality applications.”
Created in 2016, Digital Lab Africa is an initiative of the French Institute and the French Embassy in South Africa, managed by the South African innovation hub Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct since 2018.
Digital Lab Africa (DLA) is the first platform dedicated to creative content (immersive realities, video game, animation, music, digital art) linked with innovation in Africa. The very idea of DLA is to incubate emerging talent by offering them a springboard to fast track their projects development with the support and expertise of DLA creative industries ecosystem in France and in Sub-Saharan African countries.
Founded in September of 2016, as a Wits University investment in the tech and digital future of South Africa and the continent, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct works with academia, corporates, international agencies and government across all spheres to unearth, upskill and promote digital talent. Tshimologong Precinct focusses its efforts in three areas: incubation of enterprises, digital skills training and creating a marketplace for start-ups.
Driven by common goals, including the desire to combine technology, innovation and creative content, Tshimologong and the French Embassy in South Africa have joined forces to create a Digital Content Hub (DCH) – and integrate and sustain the existing Digital Lab Africa Programme – the first support programming for the production of digital content across sub-Saharan Africa initiated in 2016 by the French Embassy in South Africa. The DCH is the first project from cultural industries in Africa to have obtained funding from the Agence française de développement (AFD) since the extension of their mandate to these sectors.
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