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Paper: “Down Cha Cha Cha Road: Then a Morning in a Mud hut in Tengenge (Experiences of British Council Print workshops in Zambia and Zimbabwe 1992)”
In 1992 I went to Lusaka and Harare in Africa to conduct workshops for the British Council in relief printmaking. The workshops were entitled “Out of the Wood” which was also the title of the touring show that went with the workshop that was a selection of prints from the British Council offices. These workshops raised issues and conflicts, not least being teaching wood engraving in countries where most wood structures are eaten by insects in weeks. In both these African towns there were new political changes, levels of urban poverty and crime I had not experienced previously. Most clashes were about the lack of resources. Also there were difficult moments in television interviews and with religious groups Add to this the experience of Africa it self, with strange animals, smells, customs and traditions, about which I only had a basic knowledge. The complexities of everyday life were constantly at the door of the temporary studio. Nothing could be assumed and the need to think on ones feet to solve workshop problems. For this paper I will chart my experiences from notes made at the time. These include dealing with the political issues, culture, the constant presence of death, as well as the expectations of the workshop group. Facing the reality of AIDs and its effects also confronted us. Yet we were still able to produce works for two shows with each group in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
STEPHEN MUMBERSON is a Reader in Fine Art Printmaking at Middlesex University, London. He is a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and Vice-Chairman of the Printmakers Council, England. Mumberson was educated at Brighton University and the Royal College of Art, with a short period of study in Paris at the international Cite of Arts, completing his studies in 1981. He taught printmaking at various English colleges until being appointed lecturer at Middlesex University in 1987. Mumberson has been on British Council Print Workshops in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Germany. He has also conducted workshops for Pierre Press in France and Germany. He is a writer on printmaking and cartoon art. Mumberson has exhibited internationally, last year with a one-person show in Dresden, Germany. He works with both traditional and digital print methods.