Future Leaders International Lab

In July 2021 we produced a set of creative labs run simultaneously across Lagos, Bristol and Durban. These labs, and the activity around them, supported a cohort of 18 young creative entrepreneurs – six from each city – connecting them internationally. The themes explored were developed in response to local need and context. The process tested a new model of hybrid (digital/physical) labs for international collaboration.



Three themes were covered in this lab, including:

Future Heritage

Heritage is considered something of the past. We look back to it from the present. But history is an unfinished project, it is entangled to the present. If this were true, then we have to ask, what kinds of heritage(s) do we wish to enable and build as the cultural sector? What tools and methods are appropriate for looking forwards and backwards simultaneously? And what is the role of the producer in this futuring?

Climate Justice​​

A just transition describes the transformation to a green and equal society, leaving no one behind. Popular with policymakers, it’s lauded as a key tool for building a fair, climate-neutral economy. While this will require scientific and economic innovation, we must acknowledge environmental challenges are, in fact, often cultural at their root. A true societal transformation needs a shift in the values and norms which underpin how we live. Arts and culture are uniquely placed to kickstart this, but to do so, those working at the intersection of culture and climate need to get serious.

Creative Resilience

As the world increasingly becomes borderless, the opportunities available to young people in the creative sector have increased in availability and complexity. In addition to this, COVID-19 has accelerated an industry shift towards freelancing and independent work and highlighted some key challenges for creative production. Now more than ever, the future of work in the creative industry requires that practitioners are equipped with a basket of technical and soft skills in order to respond to opportunities as they arise.


Made Culture

Made Culture is a social development project management and strategic communications consultancy working with people and organizations to respond to some of Africa’s most pressing challenges. We believe that solutions powered by people can unlock context-driven strategies that can change the world. So, we design strategies that can transform people and make organisations work smarter. Find out more about us here.

Substance Point

Substance Point is a formal structure under which cultural producer and creative industries consultant, Russel Hlongwane, converges his work. He is supported by artist Mary-Anne McAllister as producer of projects and programmes. The entity operates in two strands. The first strand is concerned with producing critical artistic work ranging from the mediums of design, cultural research, curatorship, media, text and innovation. The other strand is concerned with the creative economy. This involves working with organizations who support artists and creatives generate revenue from their talents. You can follow us here.


Watershed champions engagement, imagination and ingenuity, working locally, nationally and globally from our home in Bristol, UK. We are home to the Pervasive Media Studio, hosting a brilliant community of over 100 artists, creative companies, technologists and academics exploring experience design and creative technology.


Participants captured their reflections of this lab through various media styles, which can be found below:

Bristol Cohort

Durban Cohort

Lagos Cohort