JAHMAN OLADEJO ANIKULAPO studied Theatre Arts with specialty in Directing; Dramatic Theories and Theatre Criticisms at the University of Ibadan in the 80s. He has been an Arts and Culture Journalist for over three decades, writing mostly on the Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Literature and Cultural Affairs. He worked as the Arts and Media Editor of The Guardian (Daily) between 1993 and 2003; and Editor of The Guardian on Sunday and The GuardianLife magazine from March 16, 2003 to January 15, 2013.
He trained professionally in theatre performance, production and management in the Kakaaki Arts Kult, headed by Benson Omowafola Tomoloju right from leaving Secondary school, and was weaned in culture advocacy, art criticism and journalism by Tomoloju. Between 1983 and 1986, he was an actor and assistant Stage/Production Manager with the Ajo Productions and the Ajo Festival of Plays, 1986 led by Jide Ogungbade and facilitated by the lawyer, playwright, Fred Agbeyegbe. From 1995 through 2002, he was Actor and Assistant Director and Production Manager for the AFRIKA PROJEKT, an inter- cultural dialogue between Germany and Nigeria through theatre, and which toured several cities of both Nigeria and Germany in 1996, 1998 and 2000. He was Assistant Director/Producer of ASKARI, the International Committee for the Red Cross/Nigeria Red Cross Society ‘Vote for Tolerance’ project that toured 22 states of Nigeria, led by Tomoloju. He also at different times, toured Germany and Mexico with the National Troupe of Nigeria as an actor and dancer. Aside an active theatre and journalistic life, he also operates as a Culture Activist and Programmist with input into some notable ideas and projects (private and public) that have helped define the character as well as shape the development of Nigeria’s Arts and Culture scene. He has worked extensively on the Cultural Policy of Nigeria since 1988 when the first workshop towards its implementation was held. Subsequently, the various strategic meetings and conferences that have been held towards reviewing the Policy to meet up with the demands of modern society have benefited from his intervention, especially focusing on the economic context of Culture Production. He has served in various UNESCO committees, particularly the series held under the aegis of the World Decade for Culture and Development (1988-1997) and others. He served in the Culture Sub-Committee of the Tony Blair Commission for Africa. The past decade has seen him working more in the area of Creative Industries in the context of contemporary national economy. He has participated in various seminars, conferences and workshops on the Creative industry. He was one of the resource persons towards the establishment of the Creative industries of Nigeria, CIN, designed to serve
as a platform for mapping and harnessing the economic potentials of the culture producing communities. He was also a resource person at the ‘Untapped Resources: Culture in Economy’ conference that was organized and promoted by the Ford Foundation. In 1999, he was invited by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments to set up to ensure greater participation of the community in the affairs of the Museum. And for this mission, he co-led the prime Culture Advocacy group in Nigeria, the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA (winner of the Prince Claus Award, 2006), to launch the yearly Lagos Book and Art Festival, LABAF, on the premises of the National Museum Lagos. The motivating objective was to deploy the instrumentality of the Creative sector to help increase the human capital resources of the country in the process of nation building, especially in the era of knowledge economy. The 20-year old LABAF, dubbed by critics as “the biggest culture Picnic on the continent,” has become the prime festival of the creative industry, attracting about 5000 mixture of school pupils, students and adults in its weeklong duration. He played key role in the conceptualization, organization and execution of the presidential artistic initiative called Bring Back the Book; as well as facilitating the first Presidential Dinner for the Creative Industry in 2010,which was graced by about 400 artists and culture producers from around the country. Currently, he works as a Culture Curator and Communicator, advising on several festivals including the MASA, FESPACO, Lagos International Poetry Festival, Lagos International Jazz Festival, Lagos Fringe Theatre Festival, Akete Theatre Festival, Eko Theatre Festival, Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange, WSICE, Ife Festival of Food & Identity among others. He is one of the three founders, directors of the iREP Documentary Film Forum, organisers of the yearly iREP Documentary Film Festival. He is currently Executive Programme Directorof the Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC, which specialises in Culture and Art programming, management and advocacy with Wordslam — a live performance poetry project as its prime project. 2015-2017, he served as the Country chair, and West Africa Representative of Arterial Network, the pan-African network of cultural actors and entrepreneurs.