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In a “normal” cycle of AfrikaBurn DPW is a crew of approximately 70 that comprises individuals with a broad range of practical event production skills ranging from rigging to carpentry, plumbing and electrical, metal work, painting in order to build a temporary city of art from scratch each year. The DPW development programme is based on a progressive process where individuals enter as general crew and are promoted through experience and ability, to sub-leads and department leads who form Hammer Council. Alongside Hammer Council is the DPW leadership team who look after the human resources, policy development, logistics and procurement, workshop and planning.

Photo – Ja Mean

The DPW leadership team is currently majority female led and Hammer Council comprises a significant complement of young people. In the last two years it has worked diligently at becoming more inclusive of people of colour, actively recruiting through its arts community networks including eMzantsi and Cape Town Carnivals, as well as including diversity literacy training within Hammer Council development in order to support the process.

Alongside key competencies, the DPW crew are required by the very nature of the endeavour in a remote (130kms from the nearest town) and arid (the region is coming out of a 7 year drought) environment, to learn and practise a variety of soft skills – teamwork, innovative problem solving and communication skills, that build individual and collective resilience in order to thrive in demanding conditions. The combination of skills are increasingly relevant in a post pandemic world and a “new normal”.

Photo – Adriaan van Zyl

The 2024 iteration of the Hammer School will be a joined-up programme of workshops over eight sessions culminating in the installation and actualisation of an artwork at Streetopia [insert link] on 30 November.

Each session will cover courses in the key artisan competencies and practicalities of making and installing an artwork. Participants will learn to use new tools and equipment, which supports their general upskilling.

The process will offer diversity literacy and self development exercises – individual reflection, group work and courageous conversations – which will be integrated into the hands on practical skill transfer. This will provide the opportunity for engaging in critical thinking on key issues facing South African society.

Photo – Damien Schumann

Both elements of the programme will be designed and implemented by trainers and facilitators who have considerable experience in the various disciplines. The practical workshops will be run by folx that have been part of the DPW leadership. The eight workshops will run from August – November. It is a focussed intention to recruit young marginalised women to the programme. Workshop capacity is approximately 25 participants.

Photo – Sonica Spirit

Keen to get involved?

We’re looking for facilitators, learners, leaders and volunteers. Get in touch if our jam feels like it suits you.