Africa Calling Labs

Shake the Dust launched Africa Calling in September 2014 as part of London Design Festival at the Southbank Centre and Design Junction. Africa Calling presents the best of contemporary design from the African continent and diaspora; from interiors to fashion accessories, opening up markets for creative goods from the continent and enhancing people’s understanding of a contemporary creative Africa. With the support of the British Council’s SA-UK Seasons fund and other partners, Africa Calling is now being developed as an annual project, and has launched a series of year-round events called AC Labs.

AC Labs presents a special evening with London-based artist Lakwena Maciver and guests. Lakwena’s work spans illustration, graphic design, set design and large-scale paintings and murals and is fast-becoming as well known for her work in outdoor environments as in the gallery. Working largely with bold graphics and adornment as a means to communicate, her style explores how these decorative instincts manifest in popular culture and the urban environment.
In this PechaKucha-style talk, Lakwena will present a dynamic visual introduction to her work and inspiration so far, including the launch of her first solo show and her recent trip to South Africa with Africa Calling as part of the SA-UK Seasons programme.

Following her presentation, Lakwena will then be joined by a guest panel in a discussion about African/British design; Long featuring in the Western consciousness only as a land of unending suffering, Africa is finally becoming a place of rapidly falling poverty, increasing investment, and young, ambitious populations. With the rise of creativity and innovation stemming from the continent, we ask ‘what does it mean to be an African artist or designer creating work in London?’

In this interactive discussion, audience members will be invited to join the discussion about what can be done to create more opportunities for exchange and development of the creative industries. How might we start to break down the perception of a monolithic Africa and start engaging with authentic, individual cultures and stories?

This free evening discussion will be chaired by Africa Calling Co-director Lola Young and will be followed by an informal networking evening.


Yinka Ilori Workshop2014 PROGRAMME

Africa Calling 2014 brought together some of the most exciting designers from South Africa and the UK, with a series of workshops and talks at Southbank Centre’s Africa Utopia Festival and Design Junction as part of London Design Festival.

Find out more information about last year’s programme below:


SUSTAINABLE DESIGN WORKSHOPS with Designer Heath NashHeath Nash Workshops

Sat 13th & Sun 14th Sept

Africa Utopia Festival, Southbank Centre

Africa Calling presents a series of playful and creative workshops by award winning product designer Heath Nash (South Africa). Heath has pioneered the use of recycled plastics in design, creating cutting-edge installations, lights and high-end homeware products. He also works with local communities in Cape Town to spread his innovative approach.

Join Heath for a series of drop-in sessions over the festival weekend at the Africa Calling showcase in the main RFH foyer (level 2), where you can create your own recycled plastic artwork to take home.

Materials & tools will be provided
For ages 8 and upward (all under 16s must be accompanied by an adult)
Drop-in sessions run from 2-4pm on Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th September

Venue: Africa Calling showcase, RFH Foyer (level 2).

FREE ENTRY (But spaces are limited to 10 people at a time on a first-come-first-served basis)




Sunday 21st September
Design Junction

Global aesthetics and interest in regional artisans, craft and design work from all over the world has increased: London has become a hub for showcasing international art and design. But there is still very little opportunity for designers and artists from Africa to participate in, and benefit from, the growth of this global market. Africa Calling, the brainchild of design ‘editor’ Kathy Shenoy, aims to change all that.
‘Ubuntu’ is a phrase widely used in Southern Africa, meaning the ‘Universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.’
This discussion will explore pioneering new contemporary design collaborations between Africa and the UK – including the British Council’s Maker Libraries project in South Africa – a mentoring platform that connects young creative in SA and the UK via a new Open Source network.

Kathy Shenoy- founder, Shake the Dust
Heath Nash- South African designer and British Council ‘Maker Librarian’
Laduma Ngxokolo- South African knitwear designer
Arieta Mujay- founder, Africa Creative Collective

CHAIR- Aidan Walker, Design Junction Theatre Programme Director

For more information visit





Sunday 21st September
Design Junction
14:30 – 17:00

Join designers Heath Nash (South Africa) and Yinka Ilori (UK/Nigeria) this afternoon for a collaboration through making session.
Using Heath’s recycled plastic techniques and Yinka’s upcycling & storytelling, they will create a new piece of furniture as part of Africa Calling at Design Junction.



Africa Calling curator Kathy Shenoy from ethical design brand Shake the Dust offers schools’ workshops to explore product development, design, sustainability and enterprise inspired by the imagination and ingenuity of African craftsmanship. These customised sessions can be tailored for ages 9 upwards and offer an opportunity for young people to challenge their perceptions of Africa and learn from other cultures.

This year, we have launched a pilot project with Southbank Centre, called ‘Recrafted’  with Year 5 students from Johanna Primary School in Lambeth.

Visit our young Recrafted entrepreneurs at their pop-up market stall during Africa Utopia festival (Friday 12th September only in the RFH Foyer level 2), where Johanna students will showcase their products made entirely from recycled materials.

For more information about working with Africa Calling in schools please contact Kathy Shenoy